As we predicted at around this time last year, 2017 did indeed prove to be an ‘interesting’ year, dominated by political events around the world and a global economy that continues to defy expectation and divide opinion.

For davies tanner, 2017 has been a very good year, with a number of high profile client wins, both in the UK and increasingly in the US, along with our highest level of client retention since we started in business exactly 20 years ago. We also have an expanded team that is now the best in our sector; something we are especially proud of.

Our clients have also been reporting an overall good year, despite the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the general health of the economy. They represent some of the most well-known and respected organisations across the travel, leisure, hospitality and meetings and events sectors, and their opinions are highly valued and sought after.

In this trends report, we hear from a few of them as to their prediction for what 2018 may bring.

I hope you also enjoy a very safe and successful year ahead.



Michael Hirst OBE
Business Visits and Events Partnership

“BVEP partners are eager for even more collaboration in 2018 including more joint working and greater cohesion over issues that impact the sector. Of particular importance will be the industry’s response to the expected Industrial Sector deal. read more

“Events will play a major role in increasing productivity, extending seasonality and dispersing demand throughout Britain. There will also be plans put in place for a national programme of business and cultural events to showcase Britain’s excellence in both fields.”


Naveen Handa
Cairn Group

“With the rising cost of holidays abroad we expect that staycations will remain popular into 2018. Over the past few years the number of people holidaying in the UK has grown significantly and this trend shows no signs of slowing in the near future. There have been a number of recent surveys that show that around three-quarters of British adults have been on or are planning a UK holiday in the next year. read more

“We are seeing an increase in bookings year-on-year at our Cairn Collection hotels and are actively investing in those located in key tourism hotspots including The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, The Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle and The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate. There’s so much of the UK to explore, it’s great to see people are falling back in love with the Great British holiday”. 


Justin Turner
Head of Estates Management
De Vere

“Hosting meetings outside has seen growing popularity this year, and has become an increasingly appealing alternative for event organisers and delegates. We predict that this demand will continue to rise in 2018, which is why we’ve focused on enhancing our already impressive outdoor spaces to ensure they deliver the excellent and motivating experience that organisers both want and expect. read more

“By introducing outdoor Wi-Fi, which reaches up to 100m from our properties, business can continue in the great outdoors. Outdoor meetings also contribute to improvements in delegates’ minds and bodies, promoting healthy lifestyles in the working environment. We’ve invested in unique sculptures, outdoor dining areas, kitchen gardens and wildlife initiatives, and have developed our outdoor environments to provide the best possible experiences, whether delegates are enjoying the grounds as a breakout incentive, team-building or during meetings.

“Going into the new year we’re continuing our investment into the outdoor experience by partnering with expert suppliers, ensuring our offering continues to be the perfect fit for event organisers and delegates.” 


Nick De Bois
Events Industry Board

“Now is a great time for the events industry to be recognised.

“Brexit is an opportunity. If you’re trading anywhere around the world except Europe, you have barriers to trade – import and export documents and duties and so on. Yet we’re still trading with all those places. Many of our shows are in countries that don’t have a trade agreement like the EEC. A huge amount of event sector business is already done this way, which gives us a different perspective on Brexit. It’s down to trade talks to eliminate any barriers. read more

“The key thing for 2018 is making it clear that the UK isn’t turning its back on the world. We want bigger, wider free trade agreements, with the rest of the world. We want to build on the 50% of our business that we do outside Europe and we want to align ourselves with a bigger marketplace.” 


Michael Watton

Venue Director
Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre

“2018 will see increasing consideration and awareness around security levels and measures at venues and events. This comes, in part, due to the recent terror attacks and threats, that have previously targeted events. read more

“Understandably, delegates and event organisers are now experiencing a level of nervousness when organising or attending an event. But it is important to say here that this will not result in a demise of the events industry. Instead, venues and event organisers will have to work closer together, developing security measures that reinstall a sense of safety and confidence to maintain – and expand on – the recent success of the industry.

“Next year will see a growing expectation for greater transparency around security capabilities in venues, as safety rises to the top of the agenda for many of those considering where to host their next event.” 


Mark Cooper

“The buzzword for IACC in 2018 will be collaboration. As an association, providing a platform for our members to work together is crucial. We’ll be encouraging members to join forces with peers from member venues all over the world to exchange ideas and learn from each other, without any competitive agendas. This melting pot of ideas provides fantastic inspiration for members to take back to their venues. read more

“Education and training remains a top priority; IACC has already rolled out an international mentor programme for members, and we anticipate more member venues utilising IACC’s global staff exchange programme into 2018. This is a valuable benefit of membership which gives staff the opportunity to develop different skills, in new locations, without having to move abroad permanently.

“IACC’s UK members are of course also continuing to prepare for Brexit by developing their staff and leadership teams, which will stand them in good stead as the changes brought about by the Brexit legislation comes into effect.”


Kerry Prince
Portfolio Director

“Our annual IBTM Trends Watch report was released at the 30th anniversary edition of IBTM World 2017 in Barcelona, Spain, last month. The study, based on more than 25 data sources and interviews with industry leaders, highlighted a positive and resilient meetings and events industry in 2018. read more

“Whilst recognising that there are still uncertain times ahead, the report points to an industry that is focused on ‘getting on with business’. This is underpinned by significant optimism among meetings and events professionals as they continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’, embracing new technologies and investing in staff, communications, knowledge and relationships to secure their future and thrive.” 


Ian Edwards
Celtic Manor Resort and International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales)

“The most noticeable trend we saw in 2017 was a massive move towards more experientially led events and we anticipate seeing more of this in 2018. We also saw a move towards healthier eating at conferences and this is something we are building into our new culinary offering – a “Mind Body Soul” Food philosophy – for ICC Wales when it opens in two years’ time. read more

“2017 was our strongest year ever for conference business with a huge amount of repeat business and lots of new clients brought into the fold. We will be targeting more of the same success in 2018.

“Some clients are still nervous about the whole Brexit situation with many unwilling to confirm fully until the 11th hour. Brexit is an obvious cloud hanging over all of us at the moment and until the uncertainty disappears, it will remain a concern.” 


Rowan Kitching 
London City Selection

“While LCS members all agreed that 2018 will be a challenging year, given the political and economic issues both in the UK and globally, members are committed to remain confident and pro-active. read more

“LCS members saw an unprecedented rise in international enquiries in 2017, which they anticipate rising further in 2018. Many attributed the international growth to Brexit and the weaker pound, which has seen the UK become an attractive option for international buyers, perhaps more so now, than ever before. LCS members have been quick to react, and in 2018, many members will be exhibiting at both national and international trade shows, as well as working with DMCs to ensure London remains firmly on the events industry map.

“As an industry, we have always had to be adaptable, flexible and identify ways to create positive change to benefit clients.  Regardless of the uncertainty that 2018 brings, London sets the trend for events throughout the world and we must not forget this. LCS’s members agreed that the bottom line is to create memorable, impactful and enjoyable experiences for clients.”


Industry Expert Contribution

PCMA reached out to experts in two industry sectors — lodging and exhibitions — for their outlook in 2018. read more

Lodging: A.J. Singh, Ph.D., professor, School of Hospitality Business, Michigan State University, treasurer, board of directors, International Society of Hospitality Consultants, said: “As demand and supply approach equilibrium, performance growth will slow down. We can also expect the hotel industry to adapt services based on what they are learning from Airbnb. The hotel concierge will need to be more than just a provider of information, as guests can get that elsewhere. It’s the unique experiences about the city that add value, which will differentiate.”

Exhibitions: Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research, said: “In terms of what exhibition organisers need to focus on in 2018, they need to know their exhibitors’ objectives and to help them in accomplishing those objectives. Selling exhibit space is no longer just a transaction, it’s a partnership.” 



Fiona Churchill
Regional Conference & Events Manager
The Jockey Club Venues

“Due to economic uncertainty – as Brexit negotiations continue to unfold – event organisers are becoming more budget conscious than ever before. As a result, venues must work to better understand what clients want and expect from experiences and ensure that offerings add value. read more

“2018 will see clients expect more from venues, which is something we’re incorporating into next year’s plans. Many want to be ‘wowed’ with unique, experiential and creative ideas, which has meant that we are continuously looking for ways in which we can innovate and improve. For example, Sandown Park Racecourse has recently launched Business Adventures, where clients can team build whilst go-karting and playing Footgolf. In addition, The Jockey Club now offers Meeting into Racing at Kempton Park, where corporate bookings have the unique chance to enjoy the thrill of the races post-lunch.”


Alicia Duncan
General Manager
The Mermaid London

“The importance that food plays in ensuring a successful event has become a strong trend over the last year, with event organisers and delegates wanting and expecting the latest innovations in food. We predict that this demand will continue to rise in 2018, which is why we’ve focused on enhancing our F&B offering, with our catering partner KUDOS. read more

“2017 saw the unveiling of our newly refurbished Upper River Room, which brought a new dynamic feel and look to the space, reinforcing its spectacular views of London. During the official launch of the space, we worked with KUDOS to offer creative food from an illusion themed menu, that challenged guests’ perceptions of what food looks and tastes like.

“Going into the new year we’re excited to see this trend develop, become more creative and continue to play an important role in successful events.” 


Neil BrownleevisitScotland-x3
Head of Business Events
VisitScotland Business Events

“We like to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to business events and initiatives and have some new and creative ideas up our sleeve. These are designed to have longevity and be adaptable to future scenarios and trends. read more

“An example of this is our new two-year digital media campaign, Scotland. Where Ideas Become Legend, which launched at the beginning of November. It’s all about having one voice and one message for Scotland. Legends will give every city, region and business an opportunity to engage and spread the message of Scotland’s strengths to the world via social media.”