Deciding where to host your meeting or event can be a difficult task with many factors coming in to play. From venue to travelling to the location, what is the most important factor in the decision making process and can be there be such a thing as too much choice?
London is a hugely popular destination to hold a meeting or event and unsurprisingly is ranked as the top UK destination for events (British Meetings & Events Industry Survey) with Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds making up the top 5. According to the International Congress and Convention Association, in 2012 London was ranked the 6th most popular global city for meetings with Vienna coming out on top.
A big advantage of choosing London is choice! There are many options when selecting the type of venue you to hold a meeting or event. Whether you are looking for a hotel, conference centre, historic building, unusual venue, or a modern space – London has got the venue to suit the most discerning brief.
Pricing is unsurprisingly one of, if not the most, important factor for many organisations when planning a meeting or event. As you would expect in a capital city, London is one of the pricier destinations to hold an event. When considering a residential meeting, whereby at least one night of accommodation is required, we look at the Day Delegate Rate (DDR) and the room rate – many hotels will combine this and offer a 24 hour rate. Research last year by Inntel reported that DDR’s had fallen across the UK by 5% with the exception of London which had risen by 1.2%. The average DDR for the UK is £35.88 but in London it is £53.12. According to HRS, average hotel room rates increased by more than 10% to £130 in August 2014, up from £116 in May 2014.
If delegates are travelling from across Europe or further afield to attend a meeting it is vital that you consider the connectivity of the local airport(s) because if you want the delegate experience to be as great as possible then then it is key to ensure their journey to the meeting or event is as easy as possible while also keeping an eye on the travel budget. Direct flights are always more preferable which makes London a great option with plenty of airports; London Heathrow, London City, London Gatwick, London Stansted and I’ve even known delegates to fly into London Southend!
There is also a great service by rail from Europe with the Eurostar link and several major rail stations servicing direct regional trains from all the major big cities in the UK which makes it easier to meet delegate travel requirements.
However there is a drawback to all this choice; recently when organising the ground transportation for an event in central London it became clear that organising the arrivals across so many different airports and train stations was a huge logistical challenge. By sending vehicles, drivers and hostesses to several airports, be prepared for the costs to go up accordingly. To compare, when organising an event in Rome last year, by only arranging for transfers from one airport and one train station it is easier to group delegates to share transfers and reduces costs.
So when making a decision on the location for your next meeting there are factors to weight up if London has made the short list. There is no doubt it is great for choice but as we have covered, sometimes there is such a thing as too much choice.