The year ahead: Vox Pops - The UK versus overseas

Leanne Bell asks industry figures if clients are likely to opt for UK-based events next year.

"I think clients will try to play it safe and, therefore, there will be more events in the UK. We had two big conferences cancel in August - in Dusseldorf and Prague - due to financial reasons. The clients couldn't be seen to be doing big, elaborate events overseas because of their shareholders. But some companies will keep their events overseas and the only thing we will see change is a shorter lead-in time for events."
Linda Mansfield, managing director, Events in Business

"The Euro makes Europe an expensive destination too. I think that we will see a trend for clients to become a lot more cautious than in the past. We've had a lot more bookings cancel than normal. Clients are cutting costs and trying to squeeze as much as from budgets as possible. I think in the UK, London, Birmingham, Manchester and other destinations with good transport links will be popular."
Alex Chalk, senior events consultant, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

"Clients will be more likely to look to the UK than overseas. I also think events will be shortened. But the credit crunch might not have an impact on the quality of hotels chosen because their rates will be more flexible. Within the UK, clients are likely to go for Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and maybe Bristol. London's still perceived as being one of the most expensive destinations in the world."
Jeremy Dawkins, operations director, Next Event

"I think corporates will certainly compare the UK with overseas options a lot more stringently. It depends a lot on the size of the company. Small companies will be more cautious with money so they will look more towards the UK. We've seen a slowdown in the conversion of events. Lead-in times have gone from two to three months to the last minute. Or clients are looking further ahead, such as two years down the line."
Sian Pelleschi, managing director, Conference Guide

"So far, we haven't noticed that clients are choosing to hold events in the UK instead of abroad. There are actually a growing number of enquiries for overseas. But it's clear that clients are cutting budgets, scaling down their events in size and duration, and lead-in times are becoming increasingly short. Clients also like to use offices in their own area more than before."
Emily Baker, events executive, Corporate Venue Solutions

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