Venue group sees shift in spend patterns as economy falters

Members of The Westminster Collection have noticed a decrease in spend on catering, hospitality and add-on services in response to the credit crunch.

Savoy Place
Savoy Place

The Westminster Collection, which comprises 20 venues, also noticed an increased trend in short-notice booking.

One Birdcage Walk event co-ordinator Alastair Betty said: "We are hitting and exceeding our targets in terms of room hire, but falling short of catering. We feel confident that we can continue strongly with room hire over the next 12 months, but the catering spend may remain lower, in line with current economic uncertainty."

Savoy Place sales and development manager Sarah McQueen added: "With regard to the current financial climate I feel the volume of business has not been affected, in fact the number of last-minute bookings has increased. However, they are always looking for the best deal possible, such as what discount can be offered for room hire, catering and audio-visual equipment. This has affected mainly our catering spend per head, which has decreased. I think most meetings and event organisers need to be seen to get the best available financial offering. With this in mind we are being very cautious with 2009 budgeting."

The Westminster Collection chairman Rene Dee concluded: "In 2009 and perhaps beyond, budgets will be tighter, bookings will have shorter lead-in times, targets will be more difficult to determine in advance, and venues are going to have to be more innovative in their future marketing and pricing."

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