The last four years have
been tumultuous for the hospitality sector and it seems that customer
requirements are changing at a rapid pace. How can a venue possibly stay at the
forefront of this type of market? By constantly evolving so that tailored
solutions not only meet specific needs but the client is made to feel like they
are getting value from every penny.
This year is the 21st
anniversary of our four star conference centre and hotel Burleigh Court – I was
there when the doors first opened and can safely say that a lot has changed.
We’ve seen the highest rate of public
sector bookings sink to their lowest. Venues have been forced to adapt quickly
by changing sales and marketing strategies to appeal to new markets.
One of the biggest changes relates to
the booking of residential events. More people are deciding against a 24 hour rate
and instead ask delegates to book their own accommodation. This has resulted in
many opting to travel back home rather than stay overnight. This not only has
an impact on pricing structures but it can also damage the effectiveness of a
conference, as delegates spend less time socialising with colleagues and
networking at the venue itself.
Organisers often look for ways to mitigate some of the risks
associated with booking conferences, leading to a much shorter plan cycle with
budgets being committed much later in the day. The result is the need to be
more flexible with terms of business and more creative with the services that can
A lot more time now needs to be spent
working with clients who can’t make the investment themselves. Venues are
therefore taking on much more of an event management role, mainly due to the
reluctance of many businesses to spend money outsourcing the responsibility. This
added service is blurring the traditionally distinct lines between the venue
and the event organiser; I definitely see the industry going down this path as
it becomes increasingly competitive.
predict that the next 21 years for imago and Burleigh Court will see continual
investment to ensure that our services keep up with such a fast paced industry.
It will be interesting to see whether the Olympic legacy does have a measurable
impact on businesses outside of London – we will certainly be looking to
utilise our credentials as part of the Team GB preparation camp to appeal to
international contacts through IMEX and EIBTM.
– Kay England is the Chief Executive of imago, the
hospitality brand of Loughborough University in Leicestershire. Any comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org