Start planning your meetings and events in advance again – you’ll soon see the benefits

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Old rustic signpost with the phrase Plan ahead, outdoors in sunny woodland with a faded vintage or retro effect to the image.

Meeting and event enquiries are continuing to soar. Up by 66% in Q1 of 2022 compared to Q4 of 2021, according to combined figures from Joint Venture partners, Venues and Events International, Insight Presentation Systems and Off Limits. One of the biggest considerations from these enquiries is booking lead time and how this is considerably decreased compared to pre-pandemic levels. With an average of one to two months enquiry lead time in March 2020, latest trends are showing that clients are booking within a month of first enquiry.

This has a major impact on bookings for the following challenges:

  • Venue availability
  • Increase of rates due to high demand
  • Resourcing

As normality starts to return, and restrictions at live events have eased, the Joint Venture partners are encouraging their clients to start planning their meetings and events in advance again to overcome these challenges and to reap even more benefits. Here’s some reasons to plan your meetings in advance from the experts to help you overcome these challenges and to help you make the most of your meetings and events:

Venue availability – Ian Verge, Insight Presentations

Venue availability is the biggest challenge, having a knock-on effect on other challenges the meetings and events industry is facing. 

Venue choice is so important when it comes to planning events, especially when you’re taking into consideration set design. If you don’t get your first or second choice venue, you could be faced with low ceilings, pillars, rooms with lots of natural daylight, or spaces with limited capacity, all of which provide their own different challenges when you’re developing the creative concept of your event.    

Aggregated buying – Anita Lowe, Venues and Events International

Are you planning an event that you know will happen again? Are you satisfied with the quality of service from venue, or hotel group and would be happy to return? Then you can benefit from aggregate buying.

Where Clients know they have either quarterly, bi-annual or annual events, and they have a hotel group that fits their culture, it gives us more ability to negotiate rates to secure future dates, either within a specific hotel or within a group of hotels.

By confirming either one hotel, or a particular group of hotels for a number of years reduces the amount of time we have to spend sourcing new venues each year. This allows us to prioritise our time on the physical delivery of the event.

Working with the same hotel team/group who understands your company culture and event specifications, simplifies the groundwork in event planning. This enables us to go the extra mile for those added value event touches to enhance events year-on-year. Even if we go to different properties, within the same hotel group, they will have similar policies and procedures that we will have implemented for the first event and so we can replicate for subsequent events.

As an example, at Venues and Events International, we worked with a Client in the Construction industry, looking at the Innside by Melia Manchester property this year and their Liverpool property the following year. Having secured the two dates, we successfully secured reduced rates for the two years, saving the Client approximately 47%.

Having the right personnel in place – Martin Stephens, Off Limits

As well as venue availability, advance booking ensures you get the best people to work on your events. Afterall events are all about people, so you’ll always want the best. At Off Limits, we’ve got to a point where we’re getting so many enquires, we’re having to be selective on the events we work on as we don’t have the resource to fulfil the demand.

As good as it sounds that we’re in a position to be selective on the events we manage, we hate to let people down and will always try to offer alternatives, such as offering equipment for hire from our warehouse.

Although we have recruited to help meet the increased demand, it takes time to get new staff trained to a standard where they are proficient to run the events themselves. We endure to always provide exceptional service and won’t economise on time, resource, or effort to deliver something substandard. If that means we have to turn down enquiries because we feel we don’t have the right personnel to deliver, then we will.