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CANCELLED MEETINGS cost UK business £119 million a year, according to research commissioned by Regus, which provides serviced office space and meetings rooms around the world. It claims the small print of hotel meeting room terms and conditions conceals, in the case of one well known national provider, a 90 per cent penalty for cancellations with 60 days' notice, although the average charge is 43 per cent.
Cancellations up to 30 days incur an average 59 per cent penalty. "Thirty years ago this might have been acceptable practice but in today's market there is simply no justification," says Mark Dixon, Regus chief executive. "Recessions bring such archaic, unethical and inefficient business practices to the surface and force their resolution." A great product or service at a good price with fair terms and conditions "should be the bedrock upon which all businesses are built", he adds.
Matt Costin, director of BDRC, which carried out the research: says: "Flexibility is key to driving recommendation and repeat business for external meetings, and in the current climate cancellation terms may be coming under greater scrutiny. The figure of £119 million is conservative as we have only looked at small meetings and not the entire market."