The majority of venues surveyed say that overall, they have witnessed an increase in the number of events taking place to date, attributing this to the economic recovery and the resulting increase in business confidence, as well as the recent General Election.
Venues have also experienced an increase in bookings for busier periods of the year, with many saying they have already taken more Christmas bookings for 2015 compared to this time last year.
Another trend is an increase in events focusing on staff development and training. Simon Hunter, head of value & brand at Chelsea Football Club, says there has been a notable growth in bookings with a shorter lead time, specifically for training and examination-style events.
Rachael Bartlett, head of sales and marketing at Warwick Conferences, believes this focus on training is a result of staff development becoming more of a priority for UK businesses. "Conferences and events are becoming larger in size and training programmes more frequent as businesses seek to strengthen their workforce," she says.
It’s a view shared by Johanne Holman, group director of sales and marketing at Exclusive Hotels and Venues, whose properties include luxury country hotels such as The Manor House and Pennyhill Park. She says the training element has influenced a growth in the number of corporate events and incentives, as companies look to reward their staff as well as train them.
Steve Sayer, commercial director at the O2, says the venue is seeing a trend for music to be incorporated into non-music events, with a recent example being Florence Welch performing at KPMG’s One Firm Event. Demands on the creative side are also on the increase. Diane Waldron, sales and marketing director at the QEII Centre, says the venue has to be more resourceful and creative with aspects such as designing alternative room setups, or tailoring catering to accommodate ‘walking meetings’, for example.
"Interestingly, we have found that while planners are being cautious about delegate numbers, we are still regularly seeing last-minute increases," she adds. "Recently, one event we hosted saw numbers increase by 250 delegates on the morning of the event."
ExCeL London has also seen an increase in ‘multi-contact’ events, which allow for a common message to be tailored to individual groups, all within one overall programme. For example, it says, one event can combine an internal staff briefing, an external client event, an experiential platform for buyers and a launch event for media.
For more on what venues have to say about lead times, cost and future trends, click on the links below:
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