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London Event Buyer surveyed on when spend will restart

Venue Search London has some great up-to-date insights into London corporate event buyers’ sentiment around their event plans for the Autumn and Christmas seasons. You can also view the recorded webinar on the short-to-medium term future of the UK events market, which includes thoughts from Founder, Sam Gill.

You can see the main survey findings below, but it’s important to explain the Survey method before you look at the data here.

A few notes on the Survey method:

* Undertaken via email to past Show visitors and recent Venue Search London enquirers.
* 27-hour submission window – closed at noon on Tuesday, May 12th.
* 134 corporate buyers in the results pool.

The survey only recorded the current booking and future booking intentions for corporate buyers (NOT agencies) and only for their internal (ie staff) events.

The average event size from the responders was 118, with 20% of responders responsible for events attended by over 200 guests or delegates.

…so a reasonable sample size, but certainly not large enough to be fully representative of the wider London corporate events market.

And so to the results.…. (with a few observations and comments from the Venue Search London team below each):

The above data shows any months in which the buyers currently had contracted events, with some buyers having multiple events booked across these months (NB. We only asked about these four months).

It shows that they are still a large number of events booked into the Autumn that have yet to be moved or cancelled, with the number increasing as we look later in the year.

This is a slightly different question, since it does not relate to current bookings, but when buyers think that corporate internal events will start again.

A wide spread of opinion, but many share our view that September will be the month of a major return to London event venues, provided that they are permitted by then. This would allow for a 6-8 week lead time from bookings that would be contracted in say, late July, if the confidence is there to do so at that time.

Interestingly, the above data shows that the responders are split broadly 50/50 around events re-starting before/after the end of October.

And finally, a question around their 2020 London Christmas Party plans and intentions, where 23% have already made a decision, (with two thirds of these planning to proceed, if allowed).

Previous Show surveys have indicated that around 20% of buyers have booked by now, so we are only lagging a little behind the normal buying trend here.

As with previous years, the vast majority have yet to decide about staging a London Christmas party and are sitting in “the waiting room” to see what is permissible and desirable from those on high, both in Government and in companies’ virtual Boardrooms.

Our overall sense is a positive one. There appear to be no mass cancellations or postponements to date, with many showing more expectation than hope that things will return to some kind of normal in the Autumn.

BUT, as an industry, we know that we can’t just sit around and hope that things will improve.

So here at Venue Search London, we are thinking positively about the future, by encouraging our London venue partners to be as flexible as possible with venue contracts, to allow corporate party and event buyers to book and then postpone if required, whilst ensuring that we understand which London conference venues can deliver in the inevitable virtual and hybrid worlds and that they have the right policies and strategies in place to deliver safe events for our clients.

There is no doubt in our minds that our clients’ understanding of the value of events is undiminished. But like a rusty tap, it will no doubt take more that one hand to turn it back on, so we must all be there to lend a helping hand.

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