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Agility to create profitability

Peter Heath, founder, Venue Performance, discusses the importance of saying no

“Trading is good. The average increase in revenue per delegate from 2019 to 2023 is 42%. This means that, at the very least, venues are able to pass on the increased costs.

“Looking at the latest data, for July, there was a dip, as one expects in July, with the schools closing and people thinking about holidays, even if they have’t gone yet. We can anticipate the same for August, but September will be strong, continuing the theme that 2023 is going to be a good year.

“There has been a switch in focus: meetings usually dominate the events landscape but in September, currently, conferences are outpacing meetings. You might expect that this far out, with larges conferences being booked earlier than events and if we look at what has happened in recent years, when meetings overtook conferences, there is likely to be a switch closer to the time.

“There is still an issue with short booking windows and I don’t think that is going to change this year or in 2024. There are rumours of a recession for the UK and US in 2024 and we’re likely to have a general election, so it’s likely to be something of a higgledy piggledy year.

“What remains reassuring is that rates are continuing to go up, which is good news, because costs are continuing to increase, which is something which will come into play as hotels are refinancing. If interest rates are going up, wages are going up, food costs are going up and energy bills are going up, then that is a lot of up. Fortunately customers are happy to pay and we are starting to see that labour issues are being addressed - by paying higher wages - so venues are now happy with their teams, who are able to deliver good customer service and good customer satisfaction.

“There are still some jitters in the market. In London, for example, the Chinese market has not returned, so must be replaced. Do you look to another country? The Middle East? The domestic market? Agility is needed, along with a focus on profitability. Saying no to bookings which are not going to be profitable as important. We have become used to saying yes to everything, but that might not be the most sensible course of action.”

image: Sept - Dec, Event Types forward booked at time of reporting


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