MRU finds shortage of conference staff

The MICE Research Unit’s (MRU) research into UK conferences has found that just two of the companies surveyed had dedicated conference-organising staff. Based at Bournemouth University, the MRU is part of the International Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Research. MRU head Adele Ladkin said: “This just shows that there isn’t enough emphasis placed on this industry. Organising a conference often falls to a secretary or PA.” Further findings revealed 40% of respondents spent less than £5,000 on conferences, 23% spent up to £10,000, while 11% spent more than £100,000. Lead times varied according to the size of conference. Larger conferences were planned over longer periods of time, with 26% of the respondents organising conferences six-to-12 months in advance. Encouragingly, 38% of respondents said they expected their firm to hold more conferences over the next five years, while only 6% felt they would hold fewer. This figure was put down to either increased business or company restructures resulting in the need for face-to-face meetings. “We expect venues to benefit from this research,” said Ladkin. “It should give them a clear picture of what clients actually want and how they should improve.” Respondents included members of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and 53 companies based in large cities throughout the UK – 79% of which had held at least one conference in the last year. Sectors surveyed included IT, banking, finance and insurance.

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