Reasons to be Cheerful, 2023 Edition

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Here at Lime Towers, we’ve developed a reputation for gazing into the future. Our (heck-hem) award-winning Beyond Food Reports looked to the future of food, our Beyond Food Conference, created discussion around what is to come, while our Meeting of the Future campaign will look again into the years ahead and try to glean an idea of what our industry will look and feel like.

However, whilst looking to the future, it’s important not to forget about the here and now. Especially when it is so interesting, and yes, so positive.

One of the nice things about being a portfolio of some 80+ venues, of all differing shapes and sizes, is that it gives us a huge amount of data, and the ability to translate it into helpful insight for our partners. This is especially rewarding when the outcomes are so positive.

So, first of all, the headline stats, then we can go into a bit more detail:

  • There is a continued growth in Q1 and Q2 enquiries across the Lime Venue Portfolio
  • Lime Venue Portfolio supports over 200 enquiries a week across our portfolio, in the last quarter (January – March 2023) we saw a 15% growth in the value of those events compared to the previous
  • The last time the brand achieved this level of activity was in 2018, if there was any doubt that the industry is operating back at pre pandemic levels, this is it
  • These enquiries are growing in size and stature; previous average delegation sizes have been around the 120 number, the average of these recent enquiries is a whopping 170

It’s important to break this down in terms of what this means for the industry at large, not just to Lime Venue Portfolio and our customers.

One of the key trends isn’t around volume but value. The rise in delegate numbers should be seen as wholly positive. Not only does it indicate a readiness of delegates to actually come to meetings and be there face-to-face, it also shows an increased investment from businesses and brands in events.

This is important but not without precedent. Following the financial crash in 2008, there was a positive ‘bounce’ in investment in face-to-face marketing. As event budgets were tightened, many companies adopted a ‘less is more’ approach. Cutting back some of the weaker events and investing more budgets in fewer events. This upped the production value, increased the power of the experience, and produced better returns on investment. This is great news for the long-term health of the industry, it means people come to events that invest in experience. It’s also great news for Lime Venue Portfolio, a group of venues that have experience oozing through every wall!

The numbers also back up this investment. Not only are we seeing a higher value on our events, but businesses want to do more of them. This is in contrast to much of the caution that many had as we entered 2023. The fear was that 2022 had cleared a major bottle neck and all the events that had been queuing over the pandemic had finally arrived all at the same time, only to dry up again in 2023.

It’s not too far-fetched to conclude that the quality of those events has given business more confidence in events and event programmes. This year’s growth could be seen as repeat bookings from a more confident customer. Again, only good news.

The reduction in lead time is perhaps the least positive, especially for the general wellness of event organisers. With more put at stake on the event, more investment, and the demand for increased outcomes, its worrying that the time in which to deliver them continues to decrease. The industry needs to try and retrain itself out of this continuing habit.

What can be of help though is the abundance of ready-made venues, where production is built in, and personality is in the very fabric of the event environment on arrival. Our research continues to point out the importance of regionalisation and locality in events, and its no surprise that event organisers have the confidence to book so close to the event, especially if they have the right venue and support.

Still, as a brand that continues its mission to be a cheerleader for all that is good in the industry, and to advocate for events that are better, and achieve better results, a little more time would be lovely.

In short though, the news is positive. The industry remains in a precarious place, still haunted by the tumult of the last three years, and with rising costs across the event budget, it’s nice to be able to plan for consistency and growth in the marketplace.

It makes investments more likely; it makes relationships stronger; and it leads to ‘better’ events. That can only be a good thing for everyone.