Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
MICE industry "needs to react" - GHO
The number of delegates attending meetings fell by 66% and event lengths as much as halved last month, Great Hotels Organisation (GHO) reported.
GHO, a hotel sales and marketing company, said MICE bookings from groups and individual travellers had changed "significantly due to the financial crisis".
Average delegate stay was 1.5 nights in May year-on-year while the typical event size fell to 50 delegates.
A sharp drop in advanced bookings also hit lead times, GHO said. The number of 60-day advance bookings made through global distribution services (GDSs) fell by 41% in May year-on-year.
Yunna Takeuchi, GHO's E-distribution director, said: "The booking trends clearly show people are insecure about their finances and thus reluctant to pre-pay bookings in advance.
"It's important for hoteliers to adapt their pricing strategies in accordance to guest booking patterns."
Ms Takeuchi said it was vital for hotel and other MICE suppliers to offer flexible pricing without dropping rates too far.
She added: "Flexibility is key - flexible cancellation policies to encourage advance bookings, flexibility in length of stay restrictions, flexible release dates on allocated inventory and the flexibility to offer last minute deals are all strategies that should be considered."
GHO urged the MICE industry to use clear pricing policies, targeted rates, creative "upselling" and strong customer loyalty schemes to combat the effects of the global recession.
GHO also reported that some city centre MICE destinations, such as London and Paris, had become more popular as travel budgets were slashed.
Resorts such as The Algarve in Portugal and Marbella in Spain are no longer this year's favoured MICE destinations, GHO said.