There is no doubt that the cost-of-living crisis will influence the meetings and events industry, but what this will look like is still to be seen.
The reality is that everything from energy and fuel prices to transport costs, right down to the cost of office space, is all putting the squeeze on businesses. The rise in inflation will undoubtedly decrease consumer spending, as costs continue to rise, and the onset of recession is a very real threat.
In the meantime, for much of the meetings and events industry this is a positive time. Lime Venue Portfolio recently announced one of its most successful quarterly business performances to date, and it is not alone. There is a backlog of demand in the industry that will slowly be cleared throughout the year and in many cases into 2023.
But the industry needs to ensure it takes a longer-term view. This balance in demand will shift and, left in its place, will not only be the growing cost of putting on business meetings, but the lack of money within companies to host them.
On a positive note, it’s the opinion of many in the industry that the value of what we do has increased and will stay elevated. Businesses have never valued meetings and events more than they do right now, and that makes us a more robust industry than we have been when entering economic turmoil. Equally, the changing dynamics of office work, combined with its growing costs, is changing the dynamics of how and where people work. It’s predictable that businesses will continue to place added value on bringing fragmented teams together in exchange for smaller office spaces.
The flip side however is that, regardless of how much value there is placed on the industry, we are often the first place where sales and marketing budgets are cut. We are also an industry that can be squeezed, and we need to offer resistance in the face of events that are so finely cut back that they cease to offer the same value.
It's this same ‘squeeze’ that we should also be expecting as we come into 2023. That funnel of built-up demand will be released and businesses that want to have events will be demanding the best prices and the best rates, procurement departments will once again be top of the table.
From a Lime Venue Portfolio perspective, our strategy is clear; offer value now, not later. As a brand we recently launched our own incentive to the market, an inflation busting promotion that looked to balance out inflationary rises by offering 10% off on day delegates and 24-hour delegate bookings throughout the summer.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, we want to be an empathetic brand that understands the outside pressures on our customers. If we can offer them incentives and support now, it will allow our clients to have better standards of events, at a time when we need to continue to show our value.
Secondly, we want to encourage face-to-face meetings at every opportunity we can. We are the self-proclaimed cheerleaders for better events, and if we can reduce the budgetary pressure to let them happen then we are doing our jobs properly.
Finally, and most importantly, is our relationships. We know that, from a venue perspective, the supply demand equation swings in roundabouts, for now the demand is outstripping the supply; this will change next year. It’s important therefore for our clients to know that we operate in the same way regardless, ethically, and in partnership with them and their businesses. It’s this partnership approach which means that in many cases, while we’re constantly concerned with the business success of our customers, they show the same care towards us.
It’s important that, as the market dynamics continue to shift, these relationships stay consistent, open, and concerned with mutual value. It’s a strategy that has kept our brand stable over the last 12 years and will continue to do so in the long term. This is a long game we’re playing and it’s one that we would encourage the whole industry to adopt as well.