Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have been working rigorously on behalf of our clients to ensure we can generate significant outcomes not just for them and their business, but also for all organisations operating within the hospitality industry.
Working with The Meetings Industry Association (mia) we have been developing a vast understanding of the state of the events sector and its business throughout the last 12 months, as the mia continues to make significant contributions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) intelligence via its comprehensive primary research reports.
Supporting government interventions, policies and ultimately the economic recovery of the hospitality industry, the mia’s surveillance has been paramount to its tireless lobbying efforts, with pertinent statistics only reinforcing the validity of the industry’s needs and calls for greater government intervention.
Of the latest research conducted by the mia in February 2021, focusing on UK event agents and planners respectively, the harrowing impact of COVID-19 upon the events sector remains clear to see. Despite optimistic forecasts provided by the chancellor in the 2021 spring budget announcement, whereby the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expecting the UK economy to return to pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year, this research demonstrates that this is not true for the events sector, with recovery unlikely to be any sooner than 2023.
So what else has been found?
- Compared to pre-COVID levels, event planners are forecasting average event budgets to be down 32% by the end of this year, where they will remain in a 12.5% deficit from 2023. A similar picture is being reported by booking agents who expect to see a reduction of 42% this year and a 17% reduction by 2023.
- Of enquiries that event agents are receiving, they are predominantly being made by organisations within the pharmaceutical and education and financial sectors, while conferences and forums, training events, corporate events, and teambuilding lead the way in terms of the type of events that are garnering the most interest.
- Average lead times have currently extended from 5 months in pre-COVID times to currently 11 months – demonstrating the logistical challenges presented by the ongoing restrictions.
- Currently, just over a third (37%) of both agents and planners have events scheduled to take place in Q2 2021. 84% of agents and 42% of planners have events scheduled to take place in Q3 and/or Q4 of 2021, with both reporting 50% of these are due to take place in a hybrid format.
- The main factors affecting confidence is the uncertainty around future restrictions and their impact on capacities, alongside financial risks, a lack of insurance and COVID-Secure protocols having a detrimental effect on the delegate experience.
To gain access to the full findings report, please visit the mia’s dedicated COVID-19 research page.
Working closely with organisations spearheading the industry and its recovery, we are proud to be supporting with the provision of real-time trends, forecasts and key considerations for hotels, venues and organisations spanning the entire hospitality supply chain.
As we continue to progress through the pandemic, detailed insight reports into the industry’s recovery will undoubtedly be developed as a means of supporting future plans, business benchmarking and even needs for further government intervention, so it is vital that organisations leverage such findings and data to determine their position within the market.
By now we are all well aware of the role of COVID-19 on the markets ongoing evolution, with global restrictions, subsequent confidence levels and financial situations to name a few driving developments to purchase behaviour, consumer preferences and more.
To find out more about these changes and ensure your organisation is not merely surviving but thriving, get in touch with a member of the team who will be happy to discuss how to mobilise your position and secure bookings ahead of the industry’s impending reopening.