BTP urges UK suppliers to extend visitor stays

The Business Tourism Partnership (BTP) is calling on UK C&I suppliers to implement measures to encourage delegates to extend trips to include a leisure element. With business travellers spending on average three times more than leisure visitors, the BTP has produced a report featuring key areas where CVBs, hotels and event organisers could extract more spend from delegates. Making the most of our business visitors highlights recommendations including partner leisure programmes, extra social events or excursions and promoting return leisure visits. The report added the early provision of information on destinations’ attractions and appealingly priced packages would also help. “We have seen some very strong performances of programmes with add-ons in cities such as Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham,” BTP chairman Michael Hirst said. “Where there is strong local cohesion between various suppliers, it has been easier to encourage delegates to stay on longer.” Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in business tourism at the University of Westminster, carried out the research on behalf of the BTP. “We have to do more to attract extra spend, because we need to keep up with our competitors,” he said. “Germany, France and New York are good examples of where bureaus have encouraged delegates to stay on after events.” Hirst added the report indicated at least an extra £10m a year could be achieved, simply from delegates staying one extra night in their conference accommodation. “An event is made more attractive if it offers a better programme in advance,” he said. “It is crucial for UK tourism to optimise visitor spend.” Hirst said he hoped, following an event, delegates would spend ten-15% more on leisure activities.

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