Demand for meetings in the United Kingdom is high, especially because the value of the pound has been low since a 2016 referendum set the stage for severing ties with the European Union. This has made meetings cheaper for bookers from outside the U.K., while going overseas has become more expensive for U.K. organizers.
Yet uncertainty over Brexit is making meeting planners cautious, and many are delaying bookings. Even large meetings are being booked with only two- or three-months’ notice.
Hotels worried about Brexit’s impact on revenue have become less selective about bookings. Many now accept the first meeting proposal, even if it’s for a one-day event. That may rule out more lucrative extended meetings. As a result, booking the ideal venue on the ideal date is becoming even harder.
On the upside: Supply is about to get a bit more plentiful in London, which is desperately short of larger meeting spaces. The Londoner Leicester Square is scheduled to open in 2020 with a 1,000-person ballroom.
Brexit, trade disputes and economic uncertainty will shape business travel in the year ahead. Download BCD Travel’s 2020 Industry Forecast to prepare.