London’s convention bureau, London & Partners, has experienced a major increase in enquiries this summer following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Between June and September this year, London’s CVB received a 41 per cent jump in enquiries compared to the same period last year.
This rise is reflected across all markets, with US enquiries going up 22 per cent over the period, EMEA enquiries rising up 22 per cent and domestic enquiries jumping up by 83 per cent.
A number of suppliers, including ExCeL London, Maybourne Hotel Group and InterContinental London – The O2, have also experienced an increase in enquiries and some overseas planners have been requesting to settle the cost of their events upfront due the fall in the value of the pound following the referendum results.
James Rees, Executive Director at ExCeL London, said: “At ExCeL London, it has very much been business as usual since the result of the EU Referendum. In the short-term, the weaker pound has been positive for our North American clients, a number of whom have called us to arrange early payments for their events in order to take advantage of the preferential exchange rate. Whilst we do not yet know what sort of deal the UK will secure from the EU, we have been pleased at how both the Mayor of London and the UK Government have responded to the vote and moved quickly to reinforce a message that the UK remains open for business.”
Brona Kelly, Director of Sales & Marketing at Maybourne Hotel Group, said: “Following Brexit, London hotels have seen a surge of bookings across the city and our three hotels within Maybourne have been particularly busy following the referendum. We have seen a specific increase in suite business from the North American market, which is no doubt due to the slight dip in sterling allowing US travellers to receive more for their dollar during their visit to London. The recent launch of various new suites at The Berkeley therefore has been very timely for this boom in business. Regarding MICE business, we have also seen a demand with clients preferring to pre pay for their event booking in order to lock in competitive exchange rates.”
Hasham Soliman, General Manager, InterContinental London – The O2 said: “The drop in the value of the pound has certainly helped see an increase in inbound enquires from both the Chinese and middle eastern markets and the hotel saw a strong pick up in August.”
Paul Miller, Managing Director at Spectra DMC, said: “The fact that London is now better value for money has definitely had an impact on Spectra’s activity this summer. Following the result of the referendum we received an unprecedented surge of new enquiries, both from outside and inside the EU, for sizeable conferences and meetings for later this year and early 2017. Thanks to the exchange rate going down, clients have also been willing to pay more substantial deposits.”
Julian Haddon, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Europe Rosewood Hotel Group, said: “Much has been said and written about Brexit and what happens next, but the reality is that we haven’t seen any significant impact on Rosewood London. Guest numbers for September were up on forecast, enquiries are strong and there is still huge global appetite for people from all over the world to visit the UK.
Rob Russell, owner of AC Tours DMC, said: “Immediately after the referendum, we saw a desire to prepay for forthcoming events to make the most of the decreasing value of the UK currency. Subsequent business levels have certainly increased from international visitors and we are going into the winter season seeing an increasing number of large group requests with very short lead in times. We recently had an event for a group of 100 people book and travel within a window of 10 days.”
In recent years, London has been welcoming a string of high profile corporate and association events, such as HPE Discover, TechCrunch Disrupt Europe, AdWeek Europe and the European Respiratory Society congress.
Looking ahead, the British capital will also be hosting other key major events such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and the European Association of Urology congress in 2017 and Sibos in 2019.
This summer, London’s CVB launched its own version of the city-wide #LondonIsOpen campaign, which aims to provide information to event planners looking to host their events in London.
Deborah Kelly, Business Development Manager, UK at London & Partners, the official convention bureau for the city, said: “This summer has been very busy for our team and we’re pleased to see that London remains as appealing to meeting planners as ever. The capital is one of the world’s leading destinations for business events and the results of the UK’s EU referendum will not change this. London is a leading centre for sectors such as tech, life sciences, finance and the creative industries and the city is, and will remain, open for business.”
Clients visiting London in the upcoming months will be able to experience a raft of new venues such as Switch House, the newly opened Tate Modern extension, the new Design Museum, opening up in November in Kensington, west London and the first Smith & Wollensky restaurant outside the US, located in London’s West End.
Visit London & Partners at booth #2416 at IMEX Las Vegas to find out more about hosting your event in London.