She is seeing the market recovering but said the landscape has changed with providers offering more “demographically targeted packages” than in the past.
She added: “The market is a lot savvier and there is a greater demand for return on investment and a value for money experience, not just the cheapest option. I don’t know if we are back to pre-recession levels across the board - but positive booking numbers for the summer season suggest we are getting there.”
She is also noting a greater demand for bespoke events. “Providers will need to offer a full range of packages and solutions to suit all budgets and client expectations. The one size fits all solution is firmly a thing of the past,” she said.
Have the providers seen any impact from the Bribery Act and recent FCA guidance? “The main impact this legislation has had is an increase in paperwork which means it can take longer for customers to sign off a hospitality spend. But there has been little or no effect on demand since these guidelines were introduced,” said Kenton.
However Maxwell has seen some impact. “It hit the banking, pharmaceutical and insurance sectors. The law is very clear and companies have to be much more careful in terms of what they are booking, how they are positioning it to their guests and be absolutely clear of their intentions in hosting guests for corporate hospitality,” she said. “Yes, we are seeing fewer bookings from some of the more heavily regulated sectors, but this gap is being plugged by non-traditional industries, SMEs and private bookings.”