While overseeing Wyboston Lakes Resort and at the same time acting as consultants to other venues, we have been well placed to identify factors that have been influential in the UK meetings and events, serviced office and land development industries in 2023. We’ve also seen trends emerging that we expect to play significant roles, to a greater or lesser extent, in 2024. Here’s what we’ve concluded.
Reflecting on 2023:
- ESG has become essential and sometimes decisive in the tender process
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations took centre stage and have been woven into tender processes’ becoming a deciding factor, signalling a new era in decision-making dynamics.
- Growth in medium and longer term deals
The familiar rhythm of short lead business remained strong, but a discernible shift occurred, especially in sectors like professional services, where fixing in the medium term became a defining trait. And yet more business reached out further into the future, signalling a trend towards thoughtful planning.
- Greater scrutiny of cancellation and minimum number clauses
Clients, more than ever, scrutinised clauses, especially those revolving around cancellations and minimum numbers.
- Informal festival style catering challenging formal dinner format
Modern and interesting Food and Beverage (F&B) concepts came to the fore. The Gala Dinner, while still relevant, faced competition from the allure of informal festival style options.
- Clients want simplicity or excellence, nothing average
In a world where average is no longer acceptable, clients seek either simplicity or the pinnacle of excellence. The choice became binary: a lodge-style hotel and basic meeting product, or an aspiration venue for the best-in-class facilities and service levels.
Gazing into 2024 and Beyond:
- Transformation of delegate rates
During the last year a paradox unfolded as accommodation rates soared across the UK. Conference rates, however, remained closely tied to the cost of a room alone, revealing a delicate balance in perceived value. A transformation beckons for the traditional 24-hour delegate rates in the UK. There is a move towards de-packaging and flexibility, offering clients the freedom to select specific services, unveiling transparency in costs and value.
- Choice of venue will more reflect company culture
The reason for choosing dedicated conference venues or hotels will extend beyond practicalities. It will become an exploration of a company’s culture; a space for teams to meet, engage, strengthen bonds and collaborate.
- Buffets and menu choices will be under scrutiny
Rising food costs, influenced by climate change and personalisation demands, will force the re-evaluation of buffet and menu choices.
- Venues that invest in high standards and ESG commitment will thrive
Venues that invest in high standards, genuine ESG commitment, and a triple bottom line approach will thrive. Those maintaining investment momentum, particularly in specific sectors, position themselves for success. Specialised venues who deeply understand their offerings will stand out as beacons of excellence.
- Creating memorable experiences even more important
Enhancing the delegate experience is becoming a cornerstone. Simplifying the decision-making process for organisers, delivering engaging content, and creating memorable experiences will define success.
As we step into the uncharted territories of 2024, these reflections and predictions weave a narrative of resilience, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to sustainability. The stage is set for a transformative year — a canvas where challenges are opportunities, and opportunities are invitations for growth. Here’s to the journey ahead!
Notes to editors
About Wyboston Venue Management
Wyboston Venue Management has been launched by Wyboston Lakes Resort to help venue owners make the most of meetings and events business opportunities.
It offers the expertise of the award-winning senior management team of Wyboston Lakes Resort with superb experience both at Wyboston and in previous roles in generating increased revenues, transforming venues to be ready for the latest generation of planners and delegates and in maximising their green credentials.
From assisting to operating on a full management contract, the team can work with any organisation which shares its values and commitment to high standards and quality of service, looking after clients, delegates and staff.
For further media information, please contact ChrisLewis@clareville.co.uk