Focus on cost tightens as delegate numbers rise, says Capita

Meeting delegate numbers are rising, although lead times continue to shrink, according to a benchmark report from Capita Travel and Events.

The report, Meetings at the Heart of Travel, identified key trends and data in the meetings sector, including strategic meetings management growing in strength in the UK and 82 per cent of meetings now taking place within one day.
 
Meetings at the Heart of Travel is the result of analysis of all of Capita Travel and Events’ meetings bookings from the last four years. Key findings of the report include:

  • External venue bookings have increased by 61 per cent but for every one external venue booked, Capita Travel and Events has booked 10 meetings into customer office meeting rooms.
  • 36 per cent of meetings are held in purpose-built conference centres or unusual alternative venues.
  • Meetings are getting bigger with more delegates per event, although the average meeting duration remains low compared with before the recession. 82 per cent of meetings currently take place within one day due to a continued bias towards non-residential meetings brought about by the economic downturn. This is a trend Capita Travel and Events expects to change in the next 18 months to two years as the market bounces back.
  • Booking lead times have continued to shrink, with 42 per cent of meetings for up to 10 delegates booked a week or less in advance.
  • 39 per cent of external meetings are held on a Monday or Thursday, with organisations benefitting from typically lower rates on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, whereas internal meetings are more popular on a Friday.

Sam Welch, Capita Travel Events’ director of consulting services for accommodation and meetings, who will be speaking on strategic meetings management at the Institute of Travel and Meetings’ workshop on 23 March, says: “Our findings show that within mature strategic meetings programmes, there is continued emphasis on the total cost, including items such as equipment and refreshments. But for companies that haven’t yet developed a meetings programme, savings opportunities are being missed.
 
“A good programme and policy encourages people to re-think how, where and when they schedule meetings, and whether they really need to travel, which reduces costs. Supported by online booking technology that reduces the resources and costs involved in booking company owned office space and external venues for small meetings, a good programme will far outweigh the investment required to get your programme up and running.”
 
To read the full results you can download the full two-page report from the Capita Travel and Events website.
 
Do you have news for CN? Email: Paul Colston

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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