New data from Meetingsbenchmark shows venue rates in the UK are set to fall by up to 4 per cent in 2018, creating a softer market for meeting planners.

The Meetingsbenchmark live application benchmarks day delegate and 24-hour meeting rates for all types of venue in any location. The latest figures, taken from the site’s Meetalytics 2018 report, are based on data from 8,665 meetings already booked for the year. Comparative data from 2017 is based on 190,812 meetings held at 7,871 venues.

Despite a nationwide downward trend, major cities will continue to outperform the UK average, with London predicted to experience a 2.42 per cent increase in DDR on 2017. Rate rises are also expected in Edinburgh and Birmingham.

According to the data, central London will continue to be one of the most expensive cities for meetings compared to other locations, while Liverpool is one of the cheapest.

The figures contradict the predictions of some TMCs, which vary from no change to a 5 per cent rise across the board. Paul Hussey, director at Meetingsbenchmark, says this could be because other forecasts take a rise in bedroom rates into account.

“Our 2017 data supports this view, with 24-hour rates up 5.39 per cent on 2016,” says Hussey. “However, DDR will stay on a downward trend, softening any 24-hour rate increases forecast.”

The 2017 data shows meeting planners spent on average £2,100 per meeting and £93.52 per delegate. Lead times are growing, with the average planner beginning the booking process 83.74 days ahead – up 9.28 per cent on 2016.

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