Coventry Building Society Arena has seen a ‘major shift’ to short-lead bookings and the trend is continuing to accelerate as the year progresses.
The venue can host meetings from 10 to 6,000 delegates across its 30 flexible suites for conferences, exhibitions and meetings.
Jenni Ford, Director of Sales and Marketing at Coventry Building Society Arena, has worked at the venue for nine years and says that the venue is seeing more short-lead bookings now than at any time in the last 10 years.
This includes turning around a small meeting in one day and being given a two-month lead-in time for a conference of up to 2,000 people.
Coventry Building Society Arena has been able to deliver the events through its strong local supply chain, dedicated event managers and benefitting from recently bringing its catering provision in-house.
Jenni, who leads the sales team, says that the venue is going to create a specialist short-lead desk if the trend continues.
She said: “We’ve seen a major shift since the beginning of 2023 to more short-lead bookings and that trend is continuing.
“There is a difference to short-lead business from pre-pandemic to now, the events coming in are much larger in scale.
“It’s difficult to tell how long this will last for, but we would suggest that the reason the trend is so prominent is a change in attitudes at CEO and board level. The current business climate means that decision-makers had curtailed their meeting plans, but suddenly that has changed and they have decided they want to get back to normal.
“The climate is difficult but not as a hard hitting as when we have been in recession previously, however, the conference business has certainly been much slower to recover since the pandemic.
“This short-lead trend is unique to meetings and conferences, we aren’t experiencing it with exhibitions, as in many cases exhibitions are tied in to long-term deals.
“We are at the point now where we are considering bringing in a member of the team whose sole responsibility will be delivering on short-lead bookings.
“We had a short-lead desk back in 2007, but these were typically only for small meetings of around 20 people, not the enquiries of 2,000 people we are getting now.”
Coventry Building Society Arena has delivered 45 short-lead events so far this year, with short term being considering anything up to three months.
Jenni added: “We are very lucky that we have a large infrastructure behind us and a dedicated team that is committed to getting meeting and conferences across the line.
“Food is always the biggest challenge around short-term bookings, we have the rooms but it’s making sure that the food and drink is on-site.
“The strength of our supply chain is fantastic, with a real emphasis on sourcing locally, and we have also brought our catering in-house in recent months. This all helps us in being able to deliver on short-lead bookings to the highest quality standard.”
To find out more about hosting conferences and meetings at Coventry Building Society Arena, please visit www.coventrybuildingsocietyarena.co.uk