As the end of March 2018 draws closer, we find ourselves just a year away from the official date of Brexit and the day in which the UK must officially leave the European Union.
Although as a country, we may not be much closer to finding out what is actually going to happen, we can observe the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, events) industry trends from the day of the referendum, to the triggering of Article 50, to now and make predictions for how the industry may fare once we leave the EU in a years time.
The Meetings Industry Association (mia) were at the forefront of positivity for the influences Brexit could have on the Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events sector when it was announced that the country would be cutting ties with Europe. Jane Longhurst, the chief executive for the mia, was fast to express how the industry should celebrate the result in the knowledge that we now have more control over the MICE future.
However, the mia then went on to complete a survey a couple of months after the referendum vote. It was noted that in the month following Brexit that the number of enquiries had been strongly negatively impacted, with only 8% viewing an increase - the other 92% saw enquiry levels to either decline or stand still.
AFTER BREXIT REFERENDUM
Whilst there initially may have been a decrease in enquiries, venuedirectory.com noticed an increase in the amount of enquiries in 2017 compared to 2016. Overall, venues making meeting and event bookings through venuedirectory.com experienced a 14.4% increase in the number of enquiries between the two years. As the industry leader for venue data in the MICE industry, venuedirectory.com is constantly using this knowledge to develop new incentives. The Live Availability booking widget builds on this, highlighting the importance of small meetings following with the trends that showed a 13.1% increase in meetings of 30 delegates or less between 2016 and 2017.
OVERSEAS CONFERENCE BOOKINGS
It was also interesting to note that the number of overseas conference bookings via venuedirectory.com increased by 89.6% from 2016 to 2017. Although the general consensus was that Brexit would cause tensions and a negative relationship between the UK and Europe, the industry is clearly fighting back to maintain the strong relationships built from European meetings and events. Looking ahead to next year, this suggests that the MICE industry can maintain this positive relationship amongst the adversity we may be facing as a company.
Granted, halfway through the process, we aren’t much more wise as to what the future holds. A temporary dip in the number of enquiries following Brexit, does not by any means suggest that the industry will be in trouble this time next year. Potentially, we may once again see a temporary shift in the industry norms. Nevertheless, if 2017 is any reflection on 2018 and beyond, we can expect exciting developments to the future of the meetings business and venuedirectory.com are proud to be leading the way with new initiatives.