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Investment building in M&E

Peter Heath, founder, Venue Performance looks at the growth of investment in M&E as its revenue-enhancing abilities are embraced.

We are continuing to see the trend we described last month; which is an increasing reliance on M&E in hotels to drive revenue, as the leisure market continues to falter. While leisure beds are tailing off and consumers count their pennies, hotels are looking at M&E to make up the shortfall.

M&E is still strong in the corporate market, where companies are continuing to invest in their teams, giving them more experiences and spending more on them. Events might be smaller and less frequent, but more money is being spent, which is creating a new dynamic in the sector. M&E is getting more exposure and venues are seeing the ROI on investment, which is encouraging more investment in the M&E part of hotel businesses.

There is a realisation that M&E is a positive part of an organisation, as opposed to an afterthought and more attention and resources are being given to it. Venues are investing in better systems, management systems specifically designed for M&E, revenue management products specifically designed for M&E, which hadn’t been used very much before.

We are also seeing, at last, the growth of instant book. Being able to book online has become an essential feature in keeping costs down for airlines and hotels, but it has been impossible for customers to book a meeting room online; you have to send an email and wait for an RFP. But now we are seeing more investment, which is making online booking possible and more investment is making the whole sector better.

Despite concerns with the wider hotel sector, M&E is strong and growing. I expect March to be good - March is often the month which rescues a quarter - but what is alarming is that the number of future bookings has continued a downwards trajectory. Back in 2023, bookings were up and events were going up, but now we are in a position where events are growing in terms of the events taking place, but bookings are starting to tail off.

With an election looming, people are being cautious. The first thing a new government - any government - does is raise taxes, which is having an impact on the cash in people’s pockets and their intent to spend it. Towards the end of the year interest rates are expected to fall and the economy should look a bit better, so the market should improve. Until then, it’s likely to be tough for hotels - so expect them to continue leaning on M&E.


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