The average spend per meeting and per delegate both grew significantly across the UK meetings industry in 2017, according to data from the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA).

The HBAA Meetings Barometer for 2017, developed in partnership with the Meetingsbenchmark, revealed big increases in spend despite a drop in the average daily delegate rate (DDR). Average spend per meeting increased to £1,954, up 21.2 per cent from £1,613 in 2016. Meanwhile, average spend per delegate rose 21 per cent to £88.35.

With the average DDR falling to £32.88 from £33.06 in 2016, the HBAA says the key driving force behind the growth in spend was the increase in average meeting size. Meetings catered for an average of 53 delegates, up from 50 in the previous year.

The average size of meetings booked date currently stands at 74 for 2018, which the HBAA says shows encouraging prospects for the year.

Although average conversion time remained static at 19 days, bookers are leaving less time for planning, with the average lead time falling from 83 days to 77. The HBAA believes this suggest growing caution about forward planning for events.

London was at the top of the list in regional terms, attracting £33 million of business, but Birmingham was not far behind at £28.3 million. A total of £9.1 million was spent in Glasgow and Edinburgh, while £7.1 million was placed in Newcastle in the surrounding areas and £5.9 million around Leeds.

Louise Goalen, chair of the HBAA, commented: “The growth revealed by these results confirms that 2017 was a good year for UK meetings industry sales – and 2018 is on course to be even better. Like the HBAA, the industry is building on success this year.”

Download a full copy of the report here.

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