The business meetings and events industry is set to start the new year with optimism after a challenging 2019

A growth in enquiry levels for 2020 will allow the business meetings and events industry to start the new year with optimism after a challenging 2019, says the Meetings Industry Association (mia). According to figures gathered for its latest miaTouchstone edition, enquiry levels rose by +5% in 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

Enquiry levels are used as a key indicator of future prospects for the meetings industry, which is why the online retail tool findings are affording mia with a positive focus. It is looking ahead to 2020 with “cautious optimism”.

While the industry may be looking ahead to 2020 with some positivity, figures gathered from mia members for the miaTouchstone report demonstrates that many have had a ‘mixed’ and ‘challenging’ 2019. Data collected to the end of Sep-2019 also highlights contrasting trends in rates and business activity levels at the UK’s business meetings and events venues.

It shows that although average day delegate rate (DDR) grew by around +3% in 2019 and 24-hour residential rates have risen +2%, there was a decline of -15% in the average number of meetings held during 2019. The continuing political and economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit Referendum and the forthcoming General Election are thought to be behind the slow down, according to mia.

“Despite the fall in meetings numbers, it is encouraging to hear that rates have proved resilient and are likely to achieve modest growth over the year,” says Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia. “The industry and the economy as a whole, has continued to face ongoing challenges this year driven by the outcome of Brexit and the forthcoming General Election. With so much uncertainty around us as we move towards the end of the year, it is heartening to see that enquiry levels are higher than they were at the end of 2018.”

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