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The impact of the Recession on the UK Business Events Sector

Eventia is one of the leading voices of the UK Incentive Events Market, today they disclose the full impact of the recession on the UK business events sector. New research entitled ‘UK Events Market Trends Survey 2011’ (UKEMTS11) reveals that the overall value of the UK business events market fell by 13 per cent in 2010 compared with 2009.

While the number of events staged, approximately 1.3 million, was similar, the level of expenditure they generated reduced from £18.8 billion to £16.3 billion. This expenditure includes spend at venues (on delegate rates and accommodation) and spend in the wider destination by organisers and delegates.

Residential events are a vital component of the business mix for many event venues, as well as being key drivers of economic benefit for the destinations in which these events are held. In 2010 only 21 per cent of events were residential, compared with 26 per cent in 2009. And, although average event duration stayed the same at 1.5 days, this should not disguise the fact that most events (68 per cent) lasted one day or less (64 per cent in 2009).

However, venue managers do reveal greater optimism about prospects for 2011, with 42 per cent expecting that business will increase and 36 per cent anticipating that it will remain the same.

UKEMTS is an annual survey carried out by Eventia, providing a vital insight into the current state of the business events industry from a supply-side perspective. The 2011 report is compiled from data supplied by a representative sample of 360 venues from across the UK, 10.3 per cent of the universe of 3,500 venues used as the basis for research analysis.

Other key findings include:

* an estimated 99 million attendances at events in 2010 (an estimated 1.3 million events with an average attendance of 76 people) * an average of 371 events per venue in 2010, down slightly on 2009 (an average of 379 events per venue). * average daily delegate rates was £42 (inc. VAT). The average 24-hour/residential rate was £120 (inc. VAT). Rates were down on 2008 and 2009 levels, reflecting budgetary constraints and price sensitivity among buyers * a resurgence in corporate sector events which accounted for 51 per cent of all events staged (47 per cent in 2009) * venues perceive ‘price’ and ‘value for money’ as the single most important selection criterion for buyers (scoring 87 per cent), followed by location (68 per cent), access (66 per cent) and quality of meeting facilities (60 per cent) * web-based marketing is now clearly the most effective and productive of all types of venue marketing activity, rated as such by 44 per cent of venues.

Rob Allen, Eventia Chairman and Chief Executive of TRO, commented: “UKEMTS is a crucial barometer of what’s happening in the business events sector and should be required reading for anyone who needs an informed view of the trends and changes in our sector. We shall be using the trends and other market intelligence revealed in this survey for education, marketing and advocacy purposes.”

The annual UKEMTS survey is supported by major events industry organisations, including VisitEngland, drpgroup, Conference News, Accor Hotels, Conference Centres of Excellence and Event Assured.

The 2011 survey was carried out on behalf of Eventia by Tony Rogers (of Tony Rogers Conference & Event Services) and Richard Smith (of TEAM Tourism Consulting).

Copies of UKEMTS11, priced at £175, may be ordered from Eventia (email: or visit:

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