Survey highlights increased lead times

A survey has found that the number of conferences booked at the last minute has fallen, compared to a year ago. Figures from corporate travel company BTI UK suggest that fewer than 20% of events were booked within a week of the start date in 2005, a drop of 13% on 2004. The number of clients booking more than eight weeks in advance has risen from 15 per cent in 2004 to 23 in 2005. The sample was based on a survey of 300,000 delegates from the company’s corporate client bookings. BTI UK’s head of corporate development said: "Many clients already have a dedicated hotel programme in place but book meetings on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis – often using the same venues. "As suppliers firm up their policies it is increasingly important for clients consider the value of a consolidated programme that covers meetings, events and hotels, to ensure that they achieve maximum return on their investment and less restrictive conditions combined with added service benefits for their delegates." The figures also showed that the average meeting size rose to more than 18 delegates in 2005, up from 16.3 delegates in 2004.

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