The UK sector is showing “clear signs of a steady recovery” as interest grows in live events and delegate confidence builds, according to BCD Meetings & Events’ fifth annual What’s Trending report.
Brexit, sustainability, business diversification and delegate management are among the key issues facing UK planners, according to the report, which is BCD M&E’s take on the state of the industry and what it’s expecting in 2022 across all global regions.
Helen McCabe, BCD M&E UK managing director, said: “The impact of Covid-19 continues within the UK; however, there are clear signs of a steady recovery. We saw increased demand from September 2021 for smaller, domestic meetings and events as well as a further upturn of larger face-to-face events taking place from Q1 2022. We have seen significant evidence of business diversification during the pandemic and continue to overcome new barriers arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Sustainability, a deeper requirement for a wider delegate management solution, plus the continuation of both virtual and hybrid events impacts the future shape of our industry.”
The report says that UK planners are cautiously optimistic, with the following insights on attendee engagement in the UK:
- Virtual events are still strong, having realized the benefit of no travel, reduced carbon footprint, increased accessibility and greater work-life balance for attendees through the pandemic.
- Interest in live events is growing for 2022 and delegate confidence is building now that social distancing requirements have been lifted in the region.
- Hybrid models are making inroads and although the format comes with a learning curve, clients are embracing it as an option.
- Regardless of format, technologies like event platforms, apps and delegate management systems enable greater opportunity for audience interaction.
The report adds that BCD M&E’s UK teams have seen success in creating emotional connections with attendees through enhanced delegate profiling and registration procedures, leading to a more emotionally engaging experience.
The report also contains insights from the UK team on building a business case for meetings and events programmes and strengthening supplier relationships.
Helen McCabe adds: “We continue to invest in both proprietary and best-in-class external technology to meet the ever-evolving needs of both our customers and the meetings and events landscape. We have welcomed onboard a record number of new clients this year and are working with our existing customers to successfully expand their requirements to other BCD regions and/or additional services, which has resulted in improving client satisfaction results by 10 per cent across the UK.”
To read the full report, go to: 2022 Meetings and Events Trends Report (bcdme.com)
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.