8th August 2006
As always, the annual UKCMS report has provided much food for thought for all people involved with UK events industry. Published by the Meetings Industry Association, the survey interviews 300 national (UK) associations and not for profit organisations and 300 corporate (UK) organizations with a conference or event being defined as one that involves a minimum of 8 people, occupying the venue for at least 4 hours’ duration.
Here are some of the key findings for 2006:
Bookings for unique venues have doubled this year with over 17% of association organisers now choosing a one off venue for their event, compared to only 8% in 2005. Corporate buyers are also following the trend rising from 9% last year to 26% this year.
Meeting organisers are holding fewer events, however, budgets are up as buyers adopt a ‘less is more’ strategy to corporate meetings.
The not for profit sector showed a slight drop in events of -1.4% in 2005 vs. 2004, while a drop of -13% in corporate meetings underlined the continuing industry trend of fewer and fewer meetings over the last five years. However, annual budgets showed a rise to £141,000 (corporate) and £93,400 (association).
Delegate attendance increased to 123 (association) and 140 (corporate).
With this added investment, buyers are now expecting more for their DDR (daily delegate rate) giving venues less time to show genuine value. Added to this are the large proportion of events using third parties, increasing the use of stage sets, AV and production staff, further squeezing the investment.
Events have reduced in duration from 1.6 days to 1.3 (association), while corporate events dropped to their shortest ever at just 1.1 days. Although bad news for hotel based residential conferences, city centre hotels are reaping the benefits and remain the most popular venue type. The sector has successfully built its dominance with the association sector rising 55% - 57% and corporates rising 77% - 80%.
London, Birmingham and Manchester remain the most popular destinations for events with both sectors, with London the clear favourite. 47% of association organisers and 65% of corporate organisers had held an event in London during 2005, compared with 27% and 37% respectively in Birmingham and 21% and 34% in Manchester. However other destinations are challenging this market share, with Newcastle in particular having been selected by 15% of corporate organisers, Liverpool by 10% and Leeds by 9% of association organisers
35% of association organisers attend trade shows, an increase from 30% last year and 45% of corporate organisers said they attend them compared to 36% last year. Attendance at International Confex was far higher than any other show mentioned.
Wednesday is the most popular day for events for each sector although events are now more evenly spread from Monday to Friday than in previous years. The association sector is showing more use of weekends with 34% having held an event on Saturday and 26% on Sunday. In contrast the corporate sector held virtually no events on either Saturday or Sunday. Events from both sectors are increasingly spread throughout the year, with the exception of August, December and July.