If davies tanner is known for one thing, it is as one of the top meeting and events PR agencies. We have the best clients in the sector, with opinions that are highly valued and extremely sought after. So, as 2016 draws to a close, we asked a select few to share their thoughts on what they believe 2017 will mean for them.

Following a (understatement alert) rollercoaster year in 2016, we are all keen to see how 2017 will unfold for our industry as we approach the New Year with a fair degree of uncertainty. Change is always seen as both unsettling and disruptive, as this year has already proved. But change also can be a force for good.

For us, 2016 was a very good year, with extremely high levels of client retention, a number of exciting new client wins and an expanded team with some great new people choosing to join us. 2017, whatever that may bring, promises to be another year of both challenge and opportunity.

Here’s what our clients had to say…


Neil BrownleevisitScotland-x3
Head of Business Events

The importance of face-to-face meetings and conferences remains crucial to businesses worldwide and Scotland continues to be an appealing destination for the MICE market. We are confident in building this reputation in 2017 due to our award-winning facilities, venues, and suppliers across the country – which will be bolstered by millions of pounds of investment from partners over the next few years. Given the expansion in global airline routes into Scotland, accessibility looks set to continue to be an advantage for us and we expect growth in 2017 and beyond.

Nick de Boiseib
Events Industry Board

It would be easy to enter 2017 with an attitude of doom and gloom, but that’s not our way. Businesses and brands hate uncertainty and many require little reason to delay or cancel an event – in 2017 they have more reasons than ever. read more

There is a huge amount of optimism in the industry. We see a falling pound winning more international business. Reaction to Brexit and the US elections will continue to be unclear; we’ll use it as a reason to sell our value. If you want to dispel uncertainty, communicate to your staff, stakeholders and customers with a conference or an incentive experience. You want sales, domestic or international?

Look to the exhibition industry. A closer bond with your customers? Use a brand experience. It goes on.

As an industry we’ve worked hard on our value and how we communicate it to the wider business world. 2017 could be the year where this work pays dividends for us.

It is tough, and it’s going to get tougher. But could 2017 be the year where events facing a difficult economic environment didn’t fold? I hope so.

Michael Hirst OBEBVEP
Business Visits and Events Partnership

The coming year will be challenging, testing the industry’s resilience and ingenuity. Given the forecasts of a slowdown in economic growth, the number of business events taking place could be put under pressure. However, this could be counterbalanced by the government’s determination to promote Britain as open for business. read more

The argument that events are an ideal vehicle for showcasing Britain’s goods and services to the world and integral to growing the country’s industrial and export capacity markets must continue to be stressed.

Fortunately, the events industry’s ability to continually innovate and create should see as many new opportunities and challenges as the nation navigates its post Brexit position.

Alicia Duncanmermaid-x3
General Manager
The Mermaid

Whilst we remain fairly uncertain of the long-term impact Brexit will have on the events industry as exit plans are discussed and strategies debated, the short-term impact has been positive overall. Enquiry levels have seen a spike since the announcement in June and London appears an attractive proposition for event bookers due to the referendum result of the value of the pound to the international market.  read more

Event bookers are aware that the value received for their money is now greater than pre-Brexit and our enquiry levels are 14% up on the same period last year. 

Throughout 2016 we have seen a rise in demand for flexibility from event bookers to enable organisers to custom build their event and maximize the spaces within a venue to best showcase their brand. Looking into 2017 we predict that this trend will continue to grow, with a rise in demand from international markets driven by the value of the pound.

Hasham Solimanintercontinental-x3
General Manager
InterContinental London – The O2

As we all know London is a 24-hour city and with that comes the need for fast, efficient and cost-effect transportation. Throughout the year we’ve seen some welcome additions to London’s ever growing transport links, including the extended tube hours and Hopper Fare. read more

Going into 2017, we can already see that the need for accessibility isn’t going to slow down. With event bookers ever more focused on budgets and value-for-money, we’re increasingly seeing companies looking to minimise transportation costs by choosing a venue with comprehensive, convenient and cost-effective public transport links for delegates. InterContinental London – The O2 is strategically located with numerous transport options available via road, rail, water and air, all of which connects us quickly and easily with the capital and beyond.

We’re delighted to see more new transport projects start to take shape, especially the new high-speed Cross Rail service due to open in 2017 and the prospect of autonomous vehicles in Greenwich which will see this trend becoming more deeply embedded.

Vincent Garringtonthebcec
General Manager
The Birmingham Conference & Events Centre (BCEC)

With the improved infrastructure and redevelopment of Birmingham city in recent years, Birmingham’s position as the UK’s second city is more significant than ever. Birmingham continues to attract investment from overseas, in the form of residential and commercial developments; a survey by the ONS reported more than 6,000 people had moved from London to Birmingham last year alone which is expected to escalate further in 2017. read more

In addition, the city reached a record number of 38 million visitors in 2015 which is great news for our venue being in the heart of a destination with such widespread appeal.

Despite the unknown commercial impact as yet, of Brexit, we’re expecting the unprecedented level of enquiries to remain strong for 2017. And, with an ever increasing level of optimism in the business community of a post-Brexit Britain, that is open for business to the wider global market; Birmingham is ideally placed at the heart of this arena.

Sam Hurstgrazing
Grazing Events

Presentation is everything. We’ve a millennial audience of Instagrammers who are looking for the wow factor in terms of experiencing the spectacular and capturing the moment for their social media feeds. It’s the whole proposition – the event venue, the décor and what they eat and drink – it all has to marry and reflect the brand and create the experience. read more

Catering still remains a vital component in that decision making progress.  With food comes the opportunity to be really creative and therefore photo-worthy, but people want to be involved in that creative process. In 2017, I see no shift in the demand for us building interactive food stations where guests can create their own food – rolling sushi, making dim sum and packing fun buns create the opportunity for guests to be social.  In addition, food that nods to their childhood – good hearty sausage rolls, old fashioned fish and chips and retro desserts will remain popular into the New Year, especially served in small bites on the move – it’s roving, street food inspired bowls and mini meals all the way.

Richard Mansellprincipal
General Manager
The Principal York

The hotel industry operates in a fascinating space at the moment. We’re seeing new technologies emerge every day that invite hoteliers to better understand guest preferences and be more intuitive when communicating with them pre, during and post their stay.  But there’s a sensitive balance between streamlining the guest arrival with an automated check-in and that all-important need for a very personalised approach with a human touch. read more

Ultimately, guests are looking for new experiences that can be absorbed quickly, so whilst smooth processes and quick transactions are vital – and will remain even more so – it’s the richness of that experience and making the most of their time whilst travelling that’s important.  Authentic experiences that offer guests the opportunity to learn about and absorb the destination can be better relayed first hand from interacting with staff, meeting the manager and talking with the sommelier. It’s the personalised interaction – from knowing guests’ likes and dislikes in advance – that delivers a real welcome on arrival.  Moving into 2017, guests will continue to place a high value on peer-to-peer recommendations through social networks but finding the right balance to enhance the overall customer experience is still crucial.

Oliver Hargreaveslcs
London City Selection

The London City Selection consortium has had a very positive 2016 with a 15% increase in membership growth. With the opportunities that being part of a collection such as ours presents – including joint-marketing initiatives and wider digital reach – our venues are working together, alongside their competitors and the wider UK business tourism industry, to attract meetings and events to our great city in a very crowded market. read more

The events world, in my opinion, works phenomenally well as a collective to showcase best-in-class event spaces and share best practice to ensure it remains future fit, and that’s quite unique as an industry. There’s strength and confidence in numbers, with membership and network marketing fast overtaking traditional advertising and remaining a huge part of the sales mix as we go into the New Year.

Yvonne GoodrightJockeyClub-x3
Conference & Event Marketing Manager
Jockey Club Venues – London Region

2017 is set to be an exciting year having seen an upturn in interest for making meetings different. Venues and hotels are striving for the same business and the competition is likely to get stronger as we move into the New Year. There is a definite challenge ahead when considering how Brexit may or may not develop over the coming months but despite the uncertainty there is still an optimistic feel within the industry. read more

Other growing trends include the continual use of social media, at our sporting venues and in the wider market, which provides a valuable channel of communication and is a fundamental part of marketing. Following the national events in 2016, 2017 will see meeting organisers under pressure to ensure that events and activities offer value for money, emphasising the need to maintain clear and concise messaging across the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Simon Hunterstamford-bridge-x3
Head of Venue & Brand
Stamford Bridge home to Chelsea FC

Having a fresh, tasty and innovative food offer is one of our key priorities at Stamford Bridge. As such, we spend a lot of time monitoring food trends and working with our catering partner, Levy Restaurants UK, to ensure these are reflected in the dining experiences across our offer. read more

In 2017, we’re set to see various new food trends, with plant-based dishes set to be in high demand, thanks to a continued rise in people becoming vegan and vegetarian. In addition, the popularity for Pan Asian food has risen dramatically over recent years and is set to continue in 2017, with a focus on fresh ingredients and powerful flavors.

We’ll be working with the team on ways to incorporate these and other trends into our menus to ensure we are bringing our clients the very best in international cuisine in 2017.

Judy BrillhartILEA
International President
ILEA (International Live Events Association)

The International Live Events Association (ILEA) expects to see growth in the live event industry in 2017. This includes both the number of live events taking place, as well as an increase in spending within the industry. ILEA is also seeing a trend towards sustainability in all areas of event production, with integration happening during the planning, implementation of, and participation in, an event. read more

As technology is constantly evolving, live events are seeing innovative use of technologies leading up to, and during live events. This includes new technologies evolving to help measure event ROI. In addition, ILEA is seeing a shift towards using live events to market and launch products vs more traditional advertising methods.

Kathleen Wardensecc-x3
Director of Conference Sales
Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

The SECC has experienced tremendous success and broken many of our own records in the last two years and we expect 2017 to continue to be a strong year for conferences, despite the many obvious challenges that we all face. We are expecting a good year in corporate sales as businesses look to keep their events in the UK, but we also expect an increase in inbound business due to the current favourable exchange rates. read more

In times of uncertainty, people and businesses need the support of their associations more than ever. So we anticipate that association membership levels will be high which should translate into increased delegate attendance at association events.

We expect some caution in association spend due to wider uncertainties around maintaining their annual income, however, we have not experienced any negative impact so far as a direct result of Brexit. We will be increasing our efforts in the North American corporate and association markets as Glasgow continues to be an appealing location for both international associations and international corporates based in the United States.

Dan Thurlowsecc-x3
Director of Exhibition Sales
Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

2016/17 will mark a record year for the exhibitions sector at the SECC. We’ll deliver on our strategy to help new (and established) shows continue to be successful whilst adding new events each year that bring an increasingly wide range of content to Scotland and engage a broader number of groups and individuals. read more

Our growth will come through adding interesting consumer and trade events, many that have been successful in England and now look North to reach a new and excited audience. Visitors remain key to us all which is why the SECC will continue to invest in marketing support to help organisers engage with the widest reach of suitable customers using the most suitable channels.

Increasing numbers of organisers are recognising the opportunities Scotland has to offer and there has never been a better time for live media. We have seen a number of companies creating live experiences based on existing media content or licenses and I see this trend continuing.

Sherrif KaramatPCMA_LOGO
Chief Operating Officer

As we enter 2017, we at PCMA see that the need for, and the use of, engagement technology will continue to increase and be a priority in enhancing the experience of business events. In addition, we believe that we will encounter further challenges in the mobility of people globally, and a new phase of environmental awareness will emerge as we continue to face the impact of our global footprint. read more

A demand for education that is broader, and meets the growing needs of the Business Events Strategist of the future, will also emerge as that community seeks more foundational knowledge to help them develop and manage new responsibilities in their ever expanding roles.

Raj Shaharora-x3
Commercial Director
Arora Hotels

As a result of an uncertain outlook for the global economy, 2017 will see international MICE professionals increasingly looking for packages that allow them to maximise spend both in terms of value for money on their bookings, and also in terms of employee time and productivity. read more

We’ll see more international companies looking for venues that allow delegates to fly in, meet and fly out in a shorter time-frame then previously, hence venues and packages that facilitate this will become increasingly popular. We’re already seeing this at our hotels at Heathrow and Gatwick, thanks to their convenient location, high quality facilities and tailored packages.

Our portfolio includes hotels at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports as well as the InterContinental London – The O2. Located on the doorstep of Canary Wharf and the financial heart of London, it offers the newest and the largest meeting facility to open in the area in several years; a real asset in helping retain large scale meetings in London when organisers might otherwise have looked abroad due to a lack of venues of this size.


ibtm eventsibtm

ibtm events’ annual ibtm world Trends Watch report, has predicted growth for the global MICE industry in 2017.

The report, authored by Dr Rob Davidson, Managing Director of MICE Knowledge, makes forecasts for the industry’s performance in 2017 and analyses the major trends in the global MICE industry for 2016. read more

In 2017 the industry will be once more obliged to show that it is capable of prospering in the face of new challenges, some of them as yet unknown. It is much better placed to respond to these challenges now than at any other time in its history, as it is now robustly underpinned by widespread professionalism and a sound education and training system that supports existing and future professionals.

To download the report visit: ibtm world Trends Watch Report 2016.

Post-show analysis from the ibtm events’ global portfolio supports Rob’s findings, with international exhibitor numbers up year-on-year across the portfolio, including most notably up 45% at ibtm china and an incredible rise of 165% compared to 2015 at ibtm latin america. 

As a result, more connections were made at ibtm events in 2016 than ever before, with over 100,000 pre-scheduled appointments booked across the events and 2017 gearing up to be a success for the company despite a challenging economic, social and political landscape.