With the government’s pledge to vaccinate 13 million people by end of February and the the likelihood of current restrictions being lifted, we expect to see confidence grow and an increasing demand for meeting and event space from April onwards.
We have been speaking with Sales Managers at a number of venues in London and across the UK and asked 3 key questions.
If demand for space increases considerably from April will pre-Covid terms and conditions & cancellation policies apply?
90% of the venue sales managers we spoke to said that even when demand increases, they will still offer favourable terms and cancellation policies with flexibility for cancellation with no penalties whilst the threat of Covid-19 still remains.
Do you intend to increase DDR/room hire rates in 2021 or keep at 2020 prices?
70% of venue sales managers advised that DDR rates would remain at 2020 levels until capacities start to return to normal. The other 30% said that any increases would be small inflationary ones.
Some venues have tweaked their DDR packages to offer added value, for example offering 25% extra space at no extra cost and including basic AV equipment that they previously charged for.
Others are offering free laptops with Zoom installed for the smaller meetings and special offers on Hybrid packages in conjunction with their AV suppliers.
Are you expecting enquiries/bookings inQ3 & Q4 to exceed 2019 levels due to a pent- up demand for venue space?
90% said that they definitely expect booking volumes to exceed pre-Covid levels in second half of 2021, particularly in Q4.
On the demand side there are also grounds for optimism, to pick just three examples:
Informa Plc the world’s biggest conference organiser forecasts that it will be running 90% of its physical events from June onwards – see here for the full article in the FT. The FTSE 100 company said on Wednesday it had extended delays of all physical events outside China to late spring but added that 90 per cent of non-Chinese events planned for this year were now scheduled to run from June onwards. This confidence is being seen across the conference and events industry.
Cvent surveyed 700 event organisers at the end of December, see here for details, the majority expect spending in 2021 to be higher overall than the spend in 2019! Other notable findings were that 76% of organisers expected all of their events to have a hybrid component through the first half of 2021, while 58% had moved events which could have run as they were worried about the efficacity of conference venues health and safety protocols. All of this is being reflected in rates that conferences and meeting venues are offering in the back end of 2021.
Finally ETC venues conducted a survey at the end of December 2020, showing that 88% of event planners recognised the irreplaceable value of face to face meetings up from 77% in May 2020. See Here
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