London’s convention bureau, London & Partners, says it has experienced a major increase in enquiries this summer following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Between June and September this year, reports there was a 41% jump in enquiries compared to the same period last year.
The bureau says the rise is reflected across all markets, with US and EMEA enquiries both going up 22% over the period, and domestic enquiries jumping up by 83%.
London & Partners picks out suppliers ExCeL London, Maybourne Hotel Group and InterContinental London – The O2, who have all reported an increase in enquiries. The bureau claims that some overseas planners have been requesting to settle the cost of their events upfront due the fall in the value of the pound following the referendum results.
James Rees, executive cirector at ExCeL London, says it has been business as usual since the result of the referendum. “In the short-term, the weaker pound has been positive for our North American clients, a number of whom have called us to arrange early payments for their events in order to take advantage of the preferential exchange rate.
“Whilst we do not yet know what sort of deal the UK will secure from the EU, we have been pleased at how both the Mayor of London and the UK Government have responded to the vote and moved quickly to reinforce a message that the UK remains open for business.”
Brona Kelly, director of sales and marketing at Maybourne Hotel Group, adds: “Following Brexit, London hotels have seen a surge of bookings across the city and our three hotels have been particularly busy following the referendum. We have seen a specific increase in suite business from the North American market. Regarding MICE business, we have also seen a demand with clients preferring to pre-pay for their event booking in order to lock in competitive exchange rates.”
MD at Spectra DMC Paul Miller is reporting a surge of new enquiries, both from outside and inside the EU, for sizeable conferences and meetings for later this year and early 2017. “Thanks to the exchange rate going down, clients have also been willing to pay more substantial deposits,” he says.
London & Partners also listed a host of other companies reporting requests for pre-payment to lock in the fall in sterling, although, ironically, had they waited a little longer, the rate crashed further to its lowest level for 31 years (5 October).
Deborah Kelly, business development manager, UK at London & Partners says of the perceived boom in enquiries: “The capital is one of the world’s leading destinations for business events and the results of the UK’s EU referendum will not change this. London is a leading centre for sectors such as tech, life sciences, finance and the creative industries and the city is, and will remain, open for business.”