The Events Industry Forum & Dinner took place at the fabulous Landmark Hotel London on Thursday 19 May. The forum was facilitated by C & IT Editor Calum Di Lieto and there were several subjects up for discussion;
The landscape of events post pandemic
How have events changed? i.e size of events, type of events, hybrid and virtual, group bedroom demand, terms & conditions. What trends are you seeing?
All agents present reported that they have seen a huge increase in demand for face- to- face meetings and events however clients are generally very risk averse and are asking for lowest possible min numbers commitment and are often reluctant to sign contracts until the last minute. Some are still asking for Covid-19 clauses to be added to contracts.
Some clients are running a number of smaller events which as less risky financially as some delegates are still reluctant to attend face-to-face events.
Bedroom rates, particularly in London are at an all -time high with some voicing concerns about an overheated market. The general consensus was that this could last for a couple of years.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing in the industry right now?
There are concerns about staff shortages and hotels and venue’s ability to deliver their usual high standards of service. With Day Delegate and bedrooms rates rising due to increased food and labour costs it’s of great concern that service delivery is seriously lacking.
The Managing Director of Royal Lancaster Hotel reported that for the second year in a row they are writing to universities to recruit students to work in the hotel for the Summer for between 1-3 months. They will provide accommodation in local hostels for around 50 students, take a small amount from their pay for this and train them up to work in the hotel’s bars,restaurants & kitchens. It was a huge success in 2021.
Do you feel that London will remain a primary destination over the next 3 years?
Although London is still a popular destination, agents are seeing more demand for venues in other major cities and regions particularly the Midlands and Warwickshire as many people are still working from home and are spread out across the country. The Venue Booker has definitely seen an increase in enquiries for central UK locations, the South- West and the Home Counties. It remains to be seen if this trend continues over the next couple of years.
How important is sustainability to you and your clients?
All agreed that sustainability is a key factor when clients are selecting venues. From energy saving, recycling to provenance and seasonal menus. Clients are increasingly putting sustainability as top priority when selecting a venue. Carbon credits are high on the agenda and of primary concern and venues and agents alike are keen to demonstrate best practice.
Carbon credits are exchangeable certificates issued by a government or regulating authority, requiring companies or organizations to emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases over a specific period. The companies that surpass the cap may have to pay penalties, while those that can reduce pollution will receive credit rewards.
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