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Average delegate budget is £80 or less, Venue Search London finds

Research also finds private dining spaces the preferred venue choice, while majority of planners still book direct

Pictured: the majority of parties are held at private areas in restaurants or bars, the research found

Event buyers are most likely to have budgets of £80 or less per delegate and are mainly booking private spaces at restaurants or bars, according to research carried out by Venue Search London and London Christmas Party Show.

The research, based on the responses from 266 corporate buyers, found that over half of planners (52 per cent) had budgets under £80 +VAT, while one-fifth (20 per cent) had budgets of £80-£100 per delegate. The remaining 28 per cent had either £100-£120pp budgets or >£120. 

When it comes to venues, the most popular choice was private area at a restaurant or bar (30 per cent), followed by exclusive use of restaurant or bar (22 per cent) and then exclusive party at a hotel or conference venue (17 per cent). Other favoured options were exclusive party at an history events venue (12 per cent), exclusive themed party venue (9 per cent), table(s) at a shared party (6 per cent) and party at your own office (4 per cent).

Thursday was the most popular choice of day for evening parties (42 per cent), followed by Friday (36 per cent) and the months of August and September are the most likely months where corporate bookings are made.

When asked about catering style, the majority of parties (58 per cent) still opt for seated lunches and dinners, although buffet or street food style was also popular and chosen by 32 per cent of planners. The report authors said: "More informal parties have increased over the last few years and we feel this trend is likely to continue."

The majority of buyers still book venues directly (61 per cent) though this number is on the decline, from 77 per cent in 2016. Those who use venue finders have increased, from 15 per cent to 27 per cent, as has those use event management agency (8 per cent to 12 per cent).

Looking ahead, 69 per cent of respondents believed their budgets wouldn't change  into 2017. The report warned: "(This) will put price pressure back on

venues in the light of catering and wage/salary increases. This may require some buyers to look at alternative venues, dates and reduced content to retain their 2016 event prices.

"Buyers may need to seek inflationary increases to repeat content and quality."

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