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Europe’s ‘bullish’ venues increase prices as economy recovers

But 70 per cent report only modest rises, suggesting caution about the future

Highest price hike: Kap Europa Frankfurt

Rising costs are forcing European convention centres to increase prices, according to a snapshot survey by Ami magazine, with almost a quarter planning a hike of more than five per cent.

We asked convention centres across Europe to quote for a one-day meeting for 500 people in October next year, to include tea and coffee breaks, a buffet lunch with soft drinks, and a room with PowerPoint facilities.

Kap Europa, part of the Messe Frankfurt stable, quoted the largest increase (11.3 per cent), citing additional catering costs. That would result in a price of €32,700 in 2018, compared to €29,384 this year.

Conversely, the Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, was the only venue to drop its rates (-11 per cent), the result of a special catering offer, cancelling out last-year’s double digit rise following major updates.

The snapshot survey, which received responses from 21 convention centres, showed a huge discrepancy between the most expensive venues and those operating at the lower end of the market.

Montreaux 2m2c, in Switzerland, was the most expensive, quoting €36,700 for our brief. The venue is at the mercy of a poor exchange rate between the Swiss franc and the Euro and most of its business is national. 

Venues in Germany and Spain were similarly priced, and even the Haliç Congress Centre in Istanbul justified a price of €30,675, although its rates were unchanged, despite the city's plummeting fortunes.

At the cheaper end of the scale, the Estoril Congress Centre, in Portugal, quoted €20,450, the same as last year, while the Sava Centar, in Belgrade, was still the cheapest option for buyers, at €15,019.

Caroline MacKenzie, director, Global Association Partners, said: “Two thirds of venues are showing price increases year on year, although some small, indicating they feel the market can stand it and they can be more bullish as the economic position in Europe strengthens.  Bust as over 70 per cent of venues show increases of less than five per cent, I feel that this reflects that there is still great pressure on being competitive.”

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