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A challenging year ahead for event organisers

Nov 27, 2014 | Blog

With room rates on the rise, the squeeze is on for residential events and 2015 is set to be no different. MPI’s latest Meetings Outlook report, published earlier this month, has found that many meetings professionals are facing a challenging climate in 2015 as the increase in event costs looks set to exceed budgets.

Guest room costs are expected to rise by 3.9% in Europe and 84% of the survey respondents identified limited guest room availability as one of the expenses of most concern.

Details of the American Express Meetings and Events 2015 Global Meetings Forecast, released in October, also highlighted a need for meeting planners to focus on “doing more with less” in the year ahead.

The report indicated that the number of attendees per meeting is expected to decrease by 1% and the overall meeting spend within an organisation is predicted to decline by 0.7%. Group Hotel prices, however, are predicted to increase by 1.1%. In the UK, London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Cardiff were earmarked as the largest areas of growth.

Talking about the findings, Jose Antonio Ruiz, EMEA director at American Express Meetings and Events, said: “While overall budget and individual meetings spend declines are predicted to be smaller in magnitude than in 2014, meeting owners in Europe are feeling the pressure to get creative and optimise their meetings budgets as much as possible.

“They are expected to deliver the same quality of experience as in previous years, despite hotel and air rates continuing to rise.”

In March of this year, as rates and occupancy hit new highs, professional services network PwC forecast a record breaking growth of 3.8 per cent for RevPAR (revenue per available room) in London hotels. Despite a summer dip, PwC expect the full 2014 outturn will show 0.5% occupancy growth taking occupancy overall to a heady 83 percent; almost 3% ADR (average daily rate) growth to £140.52 and 3.4% RevPAR growth to £116.41.

For 2015, they have forecast occupancy to pick up quite briskly, with a 1.5% gain, taking occupancy to 84%. The anticipated 3.6% growth in ADR will mean rates push over £145 i.e. £5 higher than 2014. This combination will drive a 5.1% RevPAR advance to take yields to over £122.

With a budget crunching year ahead, event organisers may have a difficult job on their hands. So are there any ways to save on residential events?

Planning an event well in advance is always sensible, but with much higher occupancy levels expected, especially in London, it is going to become essential. On the plus side, early planning does tend to allow for greater flexibility, which is a key factor when you’re looking for a good deal.

Being flexible over location and looking at different areas, or venues outside of a city centre, can help when you’re on a tight budget. However, if location is a deal breaker, being flexible over dates can also be fruitful. You can often take advantage of lower mid-week rates or discounts in the quiet season, so be on the lookout for special offers.

Our special offers page is regularly updated by our venues with their latest event promotions. To give you a taster, Hilton London Paddington recently added a Group Value Dates promotion offering an amazing rate and other value added amenities when group rooms are booked on value dates. Click here for more:

According to a report from the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC), you can also save on rates by considering holding your event at a residential conference centre, college or university. Although these venues have also experienced continued rate recovery, the report indicates that their prices are still lower than at hotels. To quote IACC CEO, Mark Cooper, “Conference Centres, when benchmarked against hotels, are showing restraint in hiking prices to their customers.”

Of course, there is also the option of choosing a venue that is close to the homes of the largest number of attendees, thereby saving on both travel and room costs. You can search for venues all over the UK via the homepage of our site. Or, you can let us do the leg work for you by submitting a venue enquiry or emailing the event details to We will search for, and contact, suitable venues for you. The venues then come to you with prices and availability. It’s as easy as that! 

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