What does a hard BREXIT mean for the UK meetings and conference industry?
First of it matters, a lot! The UK industry is worth £39.1 billion according to the Business Visits and Events partnership
Corporates Moving On: This was one of the major fears straight after the vote, so far this fear hasn’t materialised though the threats remain. Just last week Peugeot threatened to shut a major factory in the event of a hard Brexit.
Recruitment Problems: This is where so far the major impact is falling, according to the HBAA’s third annual Brexit survey between 2017 and 2018 there was a doubling of members reporting recruitment problems. This situation is likely to be getting much worse and again it matters, migrants workers make up over 20% of the UK labour force, this figure rises to 44% in our industry, see caterer 2018. The pound has sunk by almost 7%, if you are remitting pound earnings abroad this matters.
More Events? Just possibly the fall in Stirling will make mean more events coming to the UK as we get relatively cheaper, however chaos at the airports if visa restrictions etc are required may offset this. We have certainly not seen a fall in the number of events so far. Concurrent with the fall in the pound has been an increase in the number of tourists visiting the UK, a 3.3% increase so far this year according to VisitBritain. This means hotels are fuller, PWC hotel forecast figures show an increase of 1.4% in occupancy levels In 2019. This means less room for conference delegates in hotels which can only be to be benefit of unique conference venues and conference venues London.
Conclusion: Maybe event venues in London and training venues in London will not suffer too much in the event of hard Brexit, if and it is an if the pound continues to sink. On the other hand, perhaps a sinking pound and an outflow of labour will lead to an uptick in inflation, especially wage inflation. Which in turn under the bank of England’s mandate will lead to an increase in interest rates and a consequential uptick in the pound.
As part of London leading conference venues we are positive the impact of Brexit will hopefully not mean a major setback for UK events industry and we will continue to do the good work along with our neighbours, friends and competitors – etc venues, de vere venues, QE2, 30 Euston Square, 41 Portland Place, One Moorgate Place, 11 Cavendish Square, Banking Hall, Coin Street Conference Centre, Mary Ward House, Altitude London, Connaught Rooms, 8 Northumberland, Tower hotel and many more!
At Cavendish Venues we are committed to exceeding your expectations, and with over 93% repeat business we know we're doing something right!