Meetings buyers focus on cost cutting

5 April 2011

5 April 2011 | Angeline Albert

Cost reduction is top of the agenda for nearly 80 per cent (79.49 per cent) of procurement professionals in the UK meetings and events arena, research has found.

A report by global meetings agency Grass Roots found companies are particularly making better use of internal meetings space in order to control budgets.

While cost cutting may be on the agenda for the majority of buyers, the research found budgets are rising in a few sectors, including financial and professional services and the automotive industry. And despite cost saving measures, 2010 was in fact a better year than expected for meetings spend.

However, 60 per cent of respondents do not anticipate an increase in the number of meetings held in 2011 compared with 2010, although budgets are being “held firm” in a number of sectors.

The report, which draws on data from more than 60 organisations and a survey of clients, reveals that the three sectors benefiting most from bookings last year were independent hotels (up 37 per cent on 2009), non-residential training venues (up 32 per cent) and residential training centres (up 27 per cent). It concluded the sector is far from a return to pre-recession levels, reporting that lavish client events are yet to return and companies remain rate-sensitive.

After large falls in meetings rates in 2009, and a fairly static 2010, Grass Roots believes rates will start to rise in 2011, with much of this increase driven by venues in key cities, but levels will still be 10 to 12 per cent down on 2008.

☛ The SM spring business travel supplement will be sent to UK readers with the April edition of the magazine and will appear online by 12 April

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