The UK events industry is reporting a 22% increase in the Revenue Per Delegate for conferences and meetings.
According to latest Business of Events’ Event Economy Tracker, this equates to £137.85 per delegate in the second quarter of 2023, up from £112.95 for the first three months.
This surge has propelled the average Revenue Per Delegate to £125.40 in the first half of the year, surpassing the prior annual averages of £108.96 in 2021 and £104.78 in 2022.
The quarterly average for Q2 the previous year (2022) stood at £113.23, highlighting the steep ascent in prices.
The period showcased a surge in confirmed events, outpacing the previous quarter.
While forward bookings remained relatively stable, showing a minor decline in June, the quarter as a whole exhibited strength, aside from a marginal dip in the peak compared to Q1.
June’s confirmed events closely mirrored the peak of November 2022 and matched March’s figures, emphasising the recurring pattern of the third month proving the strongest.
Attributed to pent-up demand following pandemic-related restrictions, the trend in in-person events remains in Q2 2023.
Even as inflation impacts various sectors, businesses continue to prioritise face-to-face interactions, reinforcing the vitality of such gatherings, says the report.
There are, however, ongoing challenges in maintaining quality service due to high event volumes.
While inflation slightly eased to 7.9% in June, it has not translated to reduced event costs. Energy price hikes have particularly affected the sector, amplifying cost pressures for commercial venues.
The average lead time for conferences and meetings in Q2 2023 increased to 80 days from Q1’s 64 days. Though only a fractional rise from Q2 2022’s 77 days, this underlines the departure from the pre-pandemic trend observed in 2019 and short lead times remain.
Furthermore, the average number of delegates per event has continued to slide and sat at 65 in Q2 2023, down from Q1’s 74.
The year’s average to date is notably lower compared to 2022’s average of 93 delegates per event, reflecting a 25% drop.
This underlines the shift towards smaller events despite their increased frequency. This will also contribute to higher prices as venues compensate for smaller events.
Martin Fullard, Director, News & Content, said: “Q2 paints a mixed picture. It has demonstrated a strong appetite for in-person events, and despite the Easter Break and an additional Bank Holiday in May, forward bookings and actual events taking place remained strong.
“However, there remain challenges that cannot be ignored. Inflation in June sat at 7.9% and as a result we’ve seen a notable increase in Revenue Per Delegate, some 22%. This has been impacted further by the fact that there has been a clear reduction in the number of delegates at events, by some 25% on 2022’s average.”