In 2010 there were an estimated 1.3m business events in the UK, according to UKEMTS. This was on a par with 2009.
Expenditure generated from the events market was estimated at £16.3bn. This included spend at the venue, on delegate rates and accommodation, as well as spend in the wider destination by delegates.
There were an average 371 events per venue in 2010, which compares to 379 in 2009. The majority of events, (61%), were held in hotels, with 19 per cent held in unusual venues. Average event duration was 1.5 days. Most events (68%), lasted a day or less, compared to 64 per cent in 2009. Duration varied from 1.4 days for non-residential events to two days for residential, in line with recent years.
Average daily delegate rate achieved by UK venues for events was £42 (inc. VAT) and average 24-hour residential rate was £120: both rates down on 2008 and 2009 levels, reflecting budgetary constraints and price sensitivity.
Approximately a fifth (21%) of event business was residential at event venues – lower than reported levels in 2009 (26%) but on a par with 2008. A further 11 per cent of business was estimated to be staying in the wider destination. The remainder were day visits (up 6% on 2009).
The corporate sector accounts for approximately half of events. The next most significant group was government and the public sector (28%). Associations accounted for 21 per cent of the market. The 2010 figures highlight a downturn in relative levels of public sector business.
Just over a fifth (22%) of events in 2010 were organised by a professional conference organiser, event management or venue finding agency. This compared to 25 per cent in 2009. Most events (67%) had 50 delegates or fewer. Approximately five per cent of events had more than 200 delegates. The average event size was 76 delegates, compared to 71 in 2009.
The majority (71%) of event business was generated from the region in which the venue was located. A quarter came from the rest of the UK, with a small proportion (4%) from overseas.
Venues were optimistic about prospects for 2011, with 42 per cent anticipating business increasing and 36 per cent predicting it would remain the same. However, there was a jump in the proportion expecting business to be down (22% compared to 15%). Meetings business accounted for typically less than 25 per cent of a venue’s turnover.
The most common marketing activities undertaken by venues were web-based (84%), advertising (80%) and e-marketing (74%). The most productive were seen as web-based marketing activities and familiarisation visits for buyers.
UKEMTS is available priced £175 from Eventia. Research was undertaken by TEAM Tourism Consulting and project managed by Tony Rogers Conference and Event Services.
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