Insight: Unique Venues of London reveals 2019 predictions

Ahead of International Confex on 26th-27th February, Unique Venues of London revealed its industry insights for 2019 from a survey of its over 80 prestigious member venues.

Utilising insight from its diverse collection of members, UVL has compiled an extensive report of 2018 and the current landscape of the capital’s events industry. The survey covered a range of topics in the venues sector including business outlook, sales and marketing strategies, event management techniques, enquiries data and technological trends.

The last 12 months saw significant financial success for the member venues of Unique Venues of London, generating over £95 million in revenue. The venues hosted a record number of events, 37% more than 2017, totalling 44,500. It is clear that the demand for event space in London’s unique venues is rising. In 2018, over a quarter of UVL’s members added new event spaces to give organisers a wider choice including outdoor spaces, additional galleries and extensive refurbishments to existing spaces.

Despite the challenges historic and landmark venues sometimes face to incorporate technology sympathetically into spaces, UVL’s venues adapt to suit client requirements and take pride in their AV capabilities, often working with event suppliers to create bespoke production, sound and lighting for their clients. Video conferencing requests rose significantly in 2018 to 57%, versus 24% in the previous year, reflecting the trend for delegates and presenters to be brought into meetings via video, rather than attending in person.

A requirement for newly emerging technologies is becoming evident amongst Unique Venues of London, with members reporting an increase in demand for all types of new technologies. The increase use of video for clients appears to be consistent across the AV services requested, including requests for 4K ultra high definition video, LED and interactive video walls.

When looking at the sales activity carried out across the venues, 95% were undertaking proactive sales activities, with venues valuing face-to-face contact including attending network events (95%), trade shows (79%) and hosting ‘fam trips’ (77%). Email campaigns are also popular methods with 77% of venues reported their use within their sales strategies.

Digital marketing and social media saw a shift in 2018 as members’ preferred platform switched from Twitter in 2017 to Instagram in 2018, reflecting the consumer preference towards the platform and the venue’s own access to impactful photography of events.

The outlook for 2019 is positive with 72% of member venues generally optimistic about the business outlook for the year ahead and 61% predicting revenue increases.

Unique Venues of London’s managing director, Lisa Hatswell, comments: “It is with much pleasure that we announce another successful year for our member venues. We predict that 2019 will bring more demand for technological capabilities within UVL venues, as well as a continued increase in event spaces on offer to clients. Many of the results of the survey were consistent with 2017, demonstrating consistency in the growth of our market and the collaboration between the venues supported by an increase in referrals between them.”

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