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Beds soften while events harden

Peter Heath, founder, Venue Performance, is looking forward to a strong Autumn no longer held back by the election

The market is starting to slow a little, but we are remaining chipper because there is still going to be growth and good things happening. There is money to be made in meeting and events, which is something hotels have noted as rates for beds soften.

This means that m&e is now on everybody’s radar: investors, operators, brands, franchisees, management companies, conference organisers and there is a greater effort to try and understand the trends in this evolving market.

There is more data being gathered and, while the data does build a picture of what the customers are doing, it doesn’t necessarily tell you what the customer would like to do, or what the customer would prefer to do. Companies themselves are trying to figure out what the meetings of the future look like: do they want to have meetings virtually or in person? It’s not so long ago that we were being told that all meetings were dead, everything was going to be virtual.

It’s not just deciding how to split your meetings, there are also trends around higher-quality food and wellness: you can’t give people curly sandwiches, you have to treat people with more respect. And, as we near carbon net zero requirements, ESG elements have to be addressed, which is not just on the property, but around how people get to the venue. Having a venue in a good transport location will be a growing concern.

Looking more short term, a July election might help the market in the summer, because July meetings may be bumped to August.

Where the election has probably thrown a spanner in the works is lead times, because events are being moved around and we are likely to see a short-term hiatus. But ironically, I think because everybody was banking on the Autumn election and Autumn was slow, we will now see an increase in bookings for the period.


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