Events industry under the pump

Events industry under the pump

The meetings and events industry is expected to go gangbusters in 2022 as corporates, leisure travellers and loved-up couples racing to the altar, all vie for venue space.

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Planning is underway, dates are being chosen and conference regulars are dusting off their suitcases as more events kick off. But, here’s the thing - event and meeting venue availability in 2022 is fast disappearing. While event planners might have predicted a mediocre return to corporate events in 2022, it seems businesses are diving straight back into their pre-COVID events activity, despite the uncertainty caused by Omicron. The result is domestic venue availability is already hard to find.

“With everyone in ‘catch up’ mode after so many cancelled events over the past two years and then the Omicron wave, the market is expected to peak back half of 2022. Clients are already feeling the squeeze on availability,” said Simone Seiler, General Manager, FCM Meetings and Events.

“Plus we are seeing a lot of small-medium corporate events coming online and the overlap of large events happening around the country. All of this is occurring in an already confined market, with everyone looking to book and stay domestically before international events progressively come on board in 2023.”

In many ways it’s the perfect storm, with domestic travellers desperate for a holiday already having heavily booked both accommodation and flights late 2022. When Australian borders fully reopen to inbound international travellers, this will also put increasing pressure on hotel inventory. Additionally, there are some hotels that have been impacted during the past year or so by COVID-related event cancellations, which may be more favourable to leisure bookings.

The influx of leisure travellers is also putting pressure on prices, with people more than happy to pay extra to secure a much-needed holiday interstate – all the while venues dealing with staff shortages are struggling to cope with the spike in demand. Venues are also operating at less than full capacity to ensure they maintain service standards and can adhere to health regulations for social distancing.  And … as if that wasn’t enough, businesses wishing to book large events are now competing for venues with a backlog of weddings, which were put on hold due to COVID.

    The low-down on locations

    Regional areas, which were the first choice of companies wanting to avoid large cities during COVID-19, are largely booked out. Popular locations in high demand over the next 12 months include:

    • Tropical North Queensland
    • Hamilton Island
    • Tasmania
    • Central Australia
    • Perth
    • Regional Victoria
    • Gold Coast
    • Darwin

    Regional flight schedules remain fluid, which is also making it harder for businesses to book too far ahead. FCM Meetings & Events advise companies to consider CBD options in larger cities where there is still good availability, along with favourable rates and a unique ‘urban’ appeal for guests.

      With all of this in mind, corporates looking to book large events in 2022 and even 2023, need to book now. Early planning and booking will ensure you secure the venue you want, a suitable location and rates that are within policy and budget.

      “Borders are opening, most people are vaccinated – travellers and businesses are regaining travel confidence. The upshot is that we are experiencing a very strong appetite for face-to-face meetings, as it’s a key element in driving business engagement and recovery,” said Simone. “Corporates are keen to bring staff together to help rebuild company culture after two very fragmented years.

      “With challenging but exciting times ahead, the FCM Meeting & Events’ team is working closely with suppliers behind the scenes to develop unique solutions and offerings to circumvent market shortages. Stay tuned because we’ll be announcing a few different options for our event clients to consider. My advice is to get in touch with your event organiser or travel manager early and you’ll be in the best possible position to plan a successful event.”

      Tips for Event Planners

      • Start planning and locking in your accommodation 12 months in advance if you can
      • Be prepared to pay a little more as inflation is pushing up hotel and venue operational costs
      • Use any credit your business may have with suppliers to help offset costs
      • Consider CBD options and larger cities where price, availability and resourcing is more favourable
      • Look for alternative, cool and new venues and locations
      • Be confident and decisive. If a venue is available, don’t hesitate to lock dates in now or there is a very real chance that you could miss out
      • Work with an event planner that knows how to rock Plan B just as well, if not better, than Plan A. That way you can pivot to a virtual or hybrid event if needed.

      Don’t miss out on hosting an awesome event, in the location you want, with rates that won’t break the budget.

      Lets connect and plan your next event together.

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