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The UK’s events landscape for Q2 (April, May and June) 2023 paints a picture of growth and challenges, according to the latest findings from the Business of Events’ Events Economy Tracker.
The Business of Events, a think tank for the UK and international events sector, has reported a 22 per cent increase in the revenue per delegate for conferences and meetings, reaching £137.85 from the previous quarter’s £112.95.
This increase has driven the average revenue per delegate to £125.40 in the first half of the year, surpassing the prior annual averages of £108.96 in 2021 and £104.78 in 2022. The quarterly average for Q2 the previous year (2022) stood at £113.23, highlighting the ascent in prices.
While forward bookings remained stable, showing a minor decline in June, the quarter exhibited strength, with a marginal dip in the peak compared to Q1. June’s confirmed events closely mirrored the peak of November 2022 and matched March’s figures, emphasising the recurring pattern of the third month proving the strongest.
Attributed to pent-up demand following pandemic-related restrictions, the trend in in-person events endured in Q2 2023. Even as inflation continues to impact various sectors, businesses continue to prioritise face-to-face interactions, reinforcing the vitality of such gatherings.
However, the industry grapples with ongoing challenges in maintaining quality service due to high event volumes. While inflation slightly eased to 7.9 per cent in June, it has not translated to reduced event costs. Energy price hikes have particularly affected the sector, amplifying cost pressures for commercial venues that lacked the same level of government support as individuals.
Amidst this backdrop, the average lead time for conferences and meetings in Q2 2023 increased to 80 days from Q1’s 64 days. Though only a fractional rise from Q2 2022’s 77 days, this underlines the departure from the pre-pandemic trend observed in 2019 and short lead times remain.
Martin Fullard, director of news and content, said: “Q2 paints a mixed picture. It has demonstrated a strong appetite for in-person events remains, and despite the Easter Break and an additional Bank Holiday in May, forward bookings and actual events taking place remained strong.
“However, there remain challenges that cannot be ignored. Inflation in June sat at 7.9 per cent and as a result we’ve seen a notable increase in Revenue Per Delegate, some 22 per cent. This has been impacted further by the fact that there has been a clear reduction in the number of delegates at events, by some 25 per cent on 2022’s average. This means venues may not be earning as much from their spaces. While more events are taking place this is an increased pressure on resource.”
Download the TBOE Events Economy Tracker Q2 2023 here.
Source: M&IT Magazine