The research estimates that the sector was worth an estimated £19.2 billion in venue and destination direct spend in 2015, a £2.4bn fall compared with the previous year. The findings show that the overall number of business events in 2015 rose by 600,000 to 1.34 million, up from the previous year’s 1.28 million. However, each event was attended by an average of 70 delegates, a decrease from the average of 81 in 2014.
This fall in the average size of events also means that the estimated value of the sector, £19.2 billion, is lower than the 2014 total (£21.6 billion).
However, optimism in the market remained among venues, with 79% having undertaken investment in 2015. The proportion of venues investing more than £500,000 was up on 2013 and 2014 levels, with purpose-built convention centres being the key areas for investment. Venues indicated that their overall business performance was up in 2015 compared with 2014, while 61% anticipated growth in 2016.
Venues hosted an average of 383 business events in 2015, compared to 366 the previous year. The average daily day delegate rate was recorded at £37, similar to average rates for the previous two years. Social media provision and free wi-fi was more prominent at venues throughout the UK.
Simon Gidman, head of business visits and events for VisitEngland and principal sponsor of UKCAMS 2016, said: "The UK events industry has a lot to look forward to over the next few years. England plays host to a series of significant scientific and business events including the prestigious EuroScience Open Forum in Manchester (2016) and the International Festival of Business in Liverpool (2016). In 2017, Hull will be crowned UK City of Culture resulting in a number of exciting events coming to the progressive Yorkshire city. The ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2016’ provides key insights into the sector’s scale and characteristics, essential reading for all who want to keep abreast of the sector’s changing dynamics and growth potential."
For more breaking news, in-depth features and case studies, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here