UK Corporate Events Getting Larger

The market for corporate events in the UK is changing and in the past year, has seen fewer events being hosted. However, those that were organised in 2017 were larger, on average, than those arranged in 2016.

This is according to the latest UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2018, which revealed that an estimated 1.29 million events were hosted last year, compared to 1.45 million in 2016.

But there were an average of 72 delegates per event in 2017, up from the 67 recorded a year earlier.

This means that those organising corporate events and conferences may be seeking slightly larger venues to cater for the rising number of people attending. Hiring corporate marquees can be one way of creating a space that is suitable for these kinds of business events, without the expense of hiring a large indoor venue.

The survey also found that the delegates who attended corporate events generated an estimated £18.1 billion of direct expenditure at the venue and in the surrounding area, with conferences and events lasting for an average of 1.6 days.

One area that the industry is keen to grow is that of international conferences. Although just 12 per cent of the venues surveyed said that they hosted a large proportion of international events, one-fifth of venues that don’t currently target international conferences are keen to do so.

For smaller venues with outdoor areas, this kind of expansion can be made possible by using marquee hire to provide a larger space, or even to give the event organiser multiple private spaces that can be used by delegates throughout the day.

Head of business events at VisitBritain Kerrin MacPhie explained that this research is useful for venues that host corporate events because it provides them with “important insights into the sector’s scale and latest trends, helping to inform their business planning and marketing activity”.

If you’re catering for a larger number of delegates at each event, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider once you’ve lined up the venue itself. For any full-day or multi-day events, one of the key things to consider is catering.

Event Industry News recently highlighted a report by the International Convention Centre Wales and the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers, which explored attendee expectations when it comes to event catering.

One of the key things to come out of this report was a shift towards food on the go. Younger attendees in particular prefer time to mingle and network while at a conference, and serving food while standing in what’s described as ‘festival style’ is growing in popularity over formal, sit-down dinners.

The environmental impact of large-scale events is also a consideration across the board, the report noted. Issues like food waste and the use of plastic are among the topics regularly discussed in the planning stages for large conferences and other events.

It’s also important to cater for dietary requirements as far as possible, with delegates increasingly expecting their individual dietary needs to be met when they’re attending corporate events. This may mean broadening your food offerings, or getting people to pre-order when they sign up for your event.