Meeting durations failing to recover, says report

Average meeting duration is still below pre-recession levels, with 82% taking place within one day, according to a report by Capita Travel and Events.

Sam Welch, Capita’s director of consulting services for accommodation and meetings
Sam Welch, Capita’s director of consulting services for accommodation and meetings

Capita’s ‘Meetings at the Heart of Travel’ report is a study of recent trends taken from all of the agency’s meetings bookings from the last four years.

It was reported that meetings are growing, with more delegates per event, but the average meeting duration is still low compared with what it was before the recession. Currently 82% of meetings take place within one day, but Capita predicts this will change in the next two years as the market ‘bounces back’.

The report also showed that external venue bookings increased by 61%, and that 36% of meetings were not held in regular venues or hotels, but in purpose-built conference centres or more unusual ‘alternative’ venues. It also showed 39% of external meetings were held on a Monday or Thursday when rates are typically lower, while internal meetings were more popular on Fridays.

Booking lead times continue to shrink, with 42% of meetings for up to ten delegates booked a week or less in advance. 

Sam Welch, Capita’s director of consulting services for accommodation and meetings, said: "Our findings show that within mature strategic meetings programmes, there is continued emphasis on the total cost, including items such as equipment and refreshments. But for companies that haven’t yet developed a meetings programme, savings opportunities are being missed. 

"A good programme and policy encourages people to rethink how, where and when they schedule meetings, and whether they really need to travel, which reduces costs. Supported by online booking technology that reduces the resources and costs involved in booking company-owned office space and external venues for small meetings, a good programme will far outweigh the investment required to get your programme up and running."


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