Venue portfolio etc.venues has reported it took £1m of confirmed bookings in the three days following the prime minister’s announcement that indoor events could return, 17 May. Boris Johnson announced on 10 May that indoor events for up 1,000 people or 50% venue capacity, not including staff, contractors or exhibitors, will reopen in England.
“There is strong evidence that the confidence of event planners has been given a massive boost by the prime minister’s speech as we look at the surge of booking confirmations and new bookings that we’ve had since Tuesday morning,” said Adam Simpson, director of marketing and US Sales at etc.venues.
“In just three days provisional bookings worth more than £1m were confirmed from the many enquiries we took since the roadmap was announced. That is a 500% increase on last week and supports the hypothesis that many businesses were waiting for this crucial date to be confirmed before committing themselves.”
Events confirmed range from corporate conferences and AGMs to association meetings and government departmental events. etc.venues London properties have seen the biggest increase in bookings and enquiries compared to its Manchester and Birmingham venues relative to their averages.
“It is apparent that companies are looking to increase employee or member engagement with the events planned. Public sector events are bringing together whole departments that have been apart for over a year. Corporates are looking to bring senior managers and partners together to plan and strategise. Associations are aiming to gather their members to network and share industry updates at face-to-face annual events.”
Simpson added that the other common factor that they are seeing in the events is the focus on talent development, on-boarding and recruitment which points towards signs of growth. “We should bear in mind that, although the hospitality industry has struggled during this pandemic, many sectors have thrived,” he said. “Tech, consultancy, healthcare and pharmaceutical have had record breaking years and are looking to capitalise on this by growing employee numbers.
“It’s not just the total value of these events that is very encouraging, the number of events being confirmed has also been increasing significantly.”
Spike in bookings for next three months
Simpson said that it was “promising” that the figures showed a major spike in enquiries and bookings for short lead meetings and events taking place in the next three months. Enquiries for this period have doubled compared with last week, he added.
“These bookings are largely from new customers and SMEs rather than large enterprise companies. Judging by the event titles these clients are seizing the opportunity to meet customers and are selecting our venues for their central location and safe and secure environment.
“One trend we are watching closely is that of online bookings. This week alone our online booking tool, which offers live availability, handled a number of new bookings that confirmed and paid online for the coming weeks.
“Overall, the bookings are nearly all for live only meetings and events, but many bookers are at the same time asking about and being reassured by our hybrid event capabilities and experience. They are interested in it as Plan B in case there is an unexpected need to change from live-only.”
Author: Martin Fullard
Source: Conference News
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