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Bookers taking new approach
Venue rates could drop by as much as 30%, Grass Routes HBI said in its new annual report today (March 23).
Rates have already dropped this year by between 5%-10%, the company said in its third annual Meetings Industry Report.
Grass Roots HBI also said the pattern of booking in the MICE industry, which is worth $300bn a year, was changing with clients looking to book a package of events rather than just one meeting.
Des McLaughlin, its managing director, said: "Our clients are increasingly taking a longer-term approach, appreciating that we can best negotiate rates on their behalf when looking at total requirements over a three to six month period rather than per meeting.
"Even with shorter lead-times this means we can achieve much greater leverage on cancellation penalties."
Grass Roots HBI complied its report from data from 70 industry associations, trade bodies and commercial companies as well its own research.
It predicted that meetings and events budgets would fall by 6% with 17% of corporate planners and 12% of association said spend would decrease.
Among the key findings were that the focus was on domestic meetings rather than international ones, that there was a move towards a minimalist approach to meetings and that lead times were getting shorter.
Nearly three quarters of companies (74%) which held events said they measured return on investment (ROI) with the main yardstick being delegates' satisfaction.
But the report also said that face to face meetings were thought to have the highest ROI of all.
Meeting rates rose by 2% in 2008, compared with the year before, the report said with London the most expensive UK destination.
The average day delegate rate (DDR) was £60.64 with the average 24 hour rate £228.04.
Paris, Milan and Geneva were the most expensive international cities with an average €94 four-star DDR rate. Budapest (€50), Brussels (€56) and Lisbon (€62) were the cheapest.
Grass Roots HBI said there was a growing demand for video conferencing facilities at meetings as a means of saving both time and travel costs.
There was also an increase in mandates on how meetings were purchased and on compliance to company policy.
Mr McLaughlin said: "The next step is to look at the total cost of event management beyond venue space, accommodation and catering to include live production costs, communications, registration and broader logistics."