Claire Rowland, Director of Marketing at QHotels reviews
predictions from January and shares her thoughts on conference
trends for the next 6 months.
"2014 has been named as the year for recovery for the events
& conference industry and we're definitely seeing its affect in
our business as enquiries continue to rise and briefs become more
tailored with increased spend.
Quality and service are still king but more companies are
looking for an event with a difference within faster and short lead
booking cycles, reflecting the need for a strong ROI in quality and
Here are our predictions for the next 6 months:
We're seeing a more hybrid approach to conferencing as events
bookers look to cater for virtual delegates accessing content
remotely and widening the reach of the day. In response, QHotels is
now offering free dedicated event broadband internet for large
events, hosting video conferencing and live streaming at optimum
speed and with increased security.
Corporate Social Responsibility does still provide a unique
point of difference in my opinion but we're finding that more
bookers and organisers are busier than ever so it can slip down the
list of priorities when budgets have been the focus. It's our job
to make it as easy as possible for them to incorporate CSR into
their events with simple packages, such as our carbon offsetting
programme which has no logistical impact on the day.
At the start of the year we touched on the importance of
conference and event food. Increasingly the discerning diners,
event bookers and delegates are looking for something a little
different from the norm, an element of choice and a menu that is
sympathetic to dietary requirements such as gluten free options as
Bookers are often looking for guidance and as the quality of the
food has a direct impact on the success of the event, it's
essential we steer them in the right direction and work to exceed
From healthier options to indulgent treats (often a mixture of
both is chosen) and regional produce, we are seeing a range of
requests being tailored to the season and locality of each event.
How venues react to the changing environment on the day is
important too, such as serving ice creams on a hot afternoon to
revitalise delegates. We should never underestimate the importance
of food in ensuring the success of an event.
The local link is gaining more importance in the booking process
too with familiarisation trips on the rise. Clients are looking
specifically at what else the surrounding areas of each venue have
to offer visitors and create more of a destination experience for
those delegates visiting from outside of the region. In response to
this, we have put dedicated teams in place at each hotel to share
hidden gems with event bookers and offer local knowledge to support