Half of HBAA hotels and conference venue members claim impact from Brexit

Over half (52%) of hotels, conference venues and booking agencies surveyed as members of industry association the HBAA said that Brexit has had ‘a noticeable impact’ on their businesses. Only 7% claimed it has had ‘a major effect’.

The survey also found that 80% of members reported Brexit had not had any impact on their ability to recruit staff.

Diane Waldron of the QEII Centre in London said her venue had seen an increase in enquiries from international clients “as London has become a more affordable destination for their events”, a trend echoed by LaiHa Diamond from the Kingsway Hall Hotel, who reported an increase in business from the USA. Jonathan Byrne of the Royal Foundation of St Katherine, also in London, attributing extra business from Europe to the weakness of the pound.

However, reactions were mixed, with hotel and venue members outside London noting costs of imported food and beverages rising.

Giving an agency perspective, Penny Banyard of First Choice Conferences & Events reflected a view of many members by saying: “Clients are much more cautious”.

Mark Jones of Wyboston Lakes said that, although his venue had not experienced any notable changes in the field of recruitment to date, he expected it to become tougher by 2019.

“At that time we do expect that recruitment policies will have to change and anticipate that if we are to continue attracting sufficient talent from the UK and worldwide, we will have to provide accommodation to facilitate this,” he said.

Sean Philby of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Marc Webster of Jury’s Inn said they thought it was too early to know the impact of Brexit, as most of the trends so far may be short term and not exclusively attributable to Brexit. Only once the post Article 50 negotiations have progressed will the effect be clearer, they said.

Louise Goalen (pictured, HBAA chair and MD of Bela Events, said: “We all have our own different experiences and opinions about the impact of Brexit so it is valuable to have an industry wide ‘snapshot’ with which to benchmark them and to provide an overall view. As our members say, it is early days and the variety of impact even seems to vary regionally. It will be very interesting to ask again them a year and two years from now.”

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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