Thursday 9th September, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
ExCeL London - 30 Sep - 01 Oct 2021
18 October 2021 - Virtual
HBAA, the trade association for the UK meetings,
events and accommodation industry, is calling on event planners to be flexible with venues on service-level agreements (SLAs)
whilst the sector works towards recovery.
The organisation says some
venues are facing severe staff shortages while dealing with a huge rise in
enquiries/bookings and yet confirmations still remain low.
Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the HBAA, said:
“Many venues and businesses in our sector are opening and ready for business.
However, the length of lockdowns, furlough hangover, redundancies,
Brexit-related workforce departures and visa issues plus the lack of contracted
bookings has led to significant numbers of people leaving key positions,
resulting in a severe shortage of staff across the sector.
“Coupled with employees testing positive for Covid or being
required to self-isolate, businesses are under immense pressure when faced with a surge in enquiries, bookings and the
overwhelming demands of large-scale reopening, without any immediate income.
“The knock-on effect is also being felt within
other parts of the supply chain. Agencies experiencing a slow response from
some venues are struggling to maintain their service levels to customers.
“At present, with the ongoing changes to
government guidance, customers may require more handholding and assurances as
we reignite their confidence around meeting in person. Venues are now also
having to take time to re-evaluate capacities, catering options, delegate flow
and indoor/outdoor facility options. This adds pressure all round and has
an impact on SLAs.
“It is vital that planners are open to
temporarily adjusting SLAs during this challenging time and important for event
organisers to understand that communication channels and response times may
Louisa Watson, director of marketing at Wyboston
Lakes Resort, said: “We all want it to be ‘business
as usual’ and we are going in the right direction to get the sector back up and
running and vibrant in its approach. Challenges come with the ongoing
changes in restrictions and uncertainty that creates. But enquiries are coming
in and the appetite for face-to-face meetings is strong. Collaboration with
agents and bookers is key to building back better together.”