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Olympics driving out other events business from UK, say organisers


The London Olympics may be good for infrastructure improvement but the UK is losing out on other valuable events business as a result of the Games.


That’s the view of Grass Roots HBI’s David Taylor and Des McLaughlin. “There is a waning in demand for events between June and September,” said Taylor. “And there is no doubt the UK has lost conference and event business because of the Olympic Games. One of our clients – an international merchant bank – has moved its training programme from London to New York and that alone is worth £4 million. In this case I think it will return to London but in many cases it might not, meaning the loss to London in many cases will be long term. We can also see an interruption in the normal booking schedule by many of our clients.”


Des McLaughlin said: “We have seen a drop in business against budget in quarter two and we are also expecting a dip in quarter three. The Olympics has definitely had a negative effect on our business. Particularly when the government has been advising people to work from home during the Olympics! It hardly makes them feel confident about staging events in the capital. It has also definitely driven business away from the UK to other destinations overseas. It means quite a lot of carnage while the Olympics are going on.”


McLaughlin and Taylor were speaking at the launch of Grass Roots HBI’s new App version of its Meetings Industry Report to replace the printed version. The report, which collates summaries of existing industry reports and reproduces them with GRG’s own internal data on room rates and venue developments, has been published for five years and goes live on the Apple Store next week free of charge. HBI’s David Taylor admitted they have saved £80K on print and distribution costs but says that the App will have the additional advantage of being constantly updated.


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