Reduced events spend and lead time concerns for HBAA members

Smaller events, shorter lead times and a reduction in meetings spend are among challenges uncovered in HBAA member research.

HBAA members report reduced lead times and smaller meetings
HBAA members report reduced lead times and smaller meetings

The Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) has surveyed its 84 agency members to gauge the impact of the European economy on the meetings and events sector.

International briefs

Research shows that after the 2009-2010 economic crises, agency members experienced a dip in overseas venue finding enquiries, but have seen an upsurge of 60% in the number of international briefs in the last two years.

However, the increase is characterised by shortened lead-in times, smaller events and an overall reduction in spend.

Smaller meetings

HBAA vice chairman and Zibrant managing director Chris Parnham said: "We are seeing fewer large meetings, and an increased number of smaller meetings, which are being booked with shorter lead times. About 75% of small meetings are now being booked within two weeks of the delivery date."

Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands continue as key destinations, however, Greece and Portugal have seen notable declines. Grass Roots HBI managing director Des McLaughlin explained: "Clients are nervous of Greece and their defaulting - and of the on-going strikes which disrupt events."

Economic disruption

Trinity Conferences managing director Jacqui Kavanagh said she had seen fewer bookings in countries that are "economically unsettled", while "even the hint of civil unrest or disruption can mean that a destination will be entirely dismissed by bookers".

Meanwhile, Paragon Europe managing director Jacqui Loftus added that "although budget and lead-times have been cut, the client’s expectation of quality remains high".

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