The Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) latest research has revealed that a third of organisations within the sector started the year with more confirmed bookings for 2023 than they did in 2019.
In its latest survey of 126 event venues and suppliers, the association found that two-thirds (66%) of organisations have forecasted more revenue for the year ahead compared to 2022.
Despite this signal of sector optimism for the year ahead, the research also reveals the estimated value of cancelled business as a result of recent rail strikes to exceed £337m for the sector, while over £550m of business has been postponed.
The threats to forecasts continue with the well-documented rise of energy costs, as over three-quarters (76%) are said to have increased their prices by an average 13% to mitigate increased operating costs in the last six months.
Beyond financial forecasts and threats, the insight on staffing highlights the sectors’ ongoing recruitment challenge as 53% of organisations claim to be understaffed, almost half (47%) have had to reduce their service, with almost 8 in 10 (79%) currently advertising live vacancies.
Kerrin MacPhie, chief executive of the mia, said: “While the latest forecasts from within the sector gives confidence that we are navigating the road to recovery well in testing times, we must remain cautious of ongoing challenges that threaten the industry’s recovery. The value of business cancelled due to rail strikes demonstrates just how the UK’s volatile environment can change forecasts at the flick of a switch. Optimism is winning the race just now, long may it last.”
She added: “Following plans for further rail strikes in March and April, in addition to the end of the energy support scheme, our findings are timely in enabling us to inform government departments on the state of the sector and the attention it requires. It not only supports our lobbying efforts, but our research is also serving as a powerful resource that keeps our sector on the government’s agenda, ensuring business meetings and events get the representation and recognition it needs.”
Read the full report here.