The meetings sector is celebrating a strong start to 2018 despite trading within a slowing economy, research by the Meetings Industry Association (mia) has shown.
Figures for enquiry levels, numbers of meetings and average rates for the first five months of the year are all higher than corresponding months in 2017, according to the mia’s quarterly miaTouchstone update.
The average number of meetings held between January and May of 2018 were 10% higher than the same period in 2017 and more than 25% higher than in 2016, while the average daily delegate rate (DDR) has also grown steadily by 10% over the last three years to £43.50.
Weddings business is also showing a positive increase as the number held in 2017 were up 30% on 2016 and there are signs of further growth this year.
While the number of weddings held during the winter and early spring are traditionally lower than in the summer months, the mia’s online benchmarking tool indicates a significant uplift in weddings held between January and May this year, compared to the same period last year.
Signs also indicate that sales will remain strong through the latter part of 2018. With enquiry levels also up 10% over the first five months of the year, meetings businesses are also hopeful that the positive trends from the start of the year will continue.
Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “While confidence and enquiry levels slipped in the immediate post-Referendum period, there was a strong recovery in 2017 which has sustained and grown in the first half of 2018.
“Despite operating within some of the most challenging trading conditions, it is encouraging to see that our members’ businesses have not only bucked trends but thrived during this time which is testament to their forward planning and tenacity.
“Thanks to miaTouchstone that is now in its third year, we are able to track the industry’s progress, which is an invaluable tool for our members to monitor and benchmark their activity against their peers and create lucrative pricing strategies.”
Jane added: “It is also encouraging to note that weddings business is strong. A rising number of mia members are taking a more creative approach to their wedding business, which appears to be paying off in terms of increasing the number of bookings and also spreading the events into the low season.”