For large events, venues agree that lead times are getting longer – with some being booked a year or so in advance – although the confirmation process is taking longer.
ACC Liverpool, for example, says that multi-year deals are back on the agenda, with corporate clients prepared to commit to ensure they have their preferred dates. Kerrin MacPhie, director of sales, says that some recent large events have even been secured without a site visit.
Glasgow’s SECC, meanwhile, has experienced a continuation of ‘a more intelligent and strategic approach to the procurement of large meetings’, resulting in the venue bidding, hopefully winning, and then planning on a longer timeline’. ICC Birmingham says while lead times vary by sector and some clients are leaving it late, others are booking up well in advance to secure their preferred dates.
For hospitality groups that include hotels, short lead times continue to be an issue. Exclusive Hotels and Venues maintains that lead times ‘couldn’t get much shorter’, with only a little lightening up on these, while Edwardian Group London, with a portfolio including the Radisson Blu Edwardian brand, says a proportion [of events] come in with less than a month’s notice, resulting in tight turnaround times.
"Due to the commonplace nature of bookings with short lead times, there is often a lot of pressure to process enquiries in a tight time frame," says Carlo Boersma, head of MICE relations at Edwardian Group London.
The General Election may also have played a part with regards to shorter leader times. Chelsea Football Club, for example, says clients held off booking events until after the election, but it is now seeing longer lead times back in evidence for the remainder of the year.
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