Amidst a Tightening Cost of Living, Corporate Events Sector Flourishes as Businesses Aim to Reconnect with Employees
Even as the strain of rising living costs continues to affect spending in the UK, a surge in bookings for corporate parties and social events is being witnessed among British companies. New data from Poptop, the UK’s premier corporate party booking platform, reveals this trend. With the lucrative Christmas party season looming, the robust post-COVID return to corporate event bookings prompts industry experts to question whether the events market is on the path to recovery.
The Notable Ascension of Corporate Gatherings Few sectors have been as profoundly impacted by the economic upheavals of recent years as the events industry. After nearly two years of virtual standstill due to COVID, the corporate and private events domain showed early signs of resurgence, only to be tempered by high inflation and the effects of the “cost of living” crisis. Nevertheless, amid this uncertainty, a particular segment of the events sector continues to thrive. Analysis of data from 423 corporate clients by Poptop, an online events marketplace, reveals an astonishing 68% surge in corporate bookings and staff parties compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The nature and timing of these burgeoning corporate events have evolved since the COVID-induced shutdown. Buffet catering and bartender services saw a 40% decline from 2019, while categories such as “family friendly” events—including BBQs, children’s entertainers, and magicians—witnessed nearly a 100% increase in corporate bookings. Notably, events are now booked on much shorter notice, often just weeks or even days before the scheduled event. So, despite market volatility, why is the corporate events sector thriving?
Fresh Perspectives in Workplace Strategy It’s no secret that remote and hybrid working has surged in popularity in recent years, first out of necessity and subsequently due to employees seeking a healthier work-life balance. Yet, many businesses are eager to see their employees return to shared office spaces. Prominent business figures like Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and James Dyson have openly expressed reservations about hybrid working arrangements, indicating a potential shift in sentiment among senior management.
The truth, however, is that UK workforces need enticing to fully embrace office spaces again. Some HR departments view this as an opportunity to underscore the value of corporate life. Events centered around families, uniting the workforce, and impromptu gatherings for employees can serve as potent reminders that the office offers more than just managerial oversight. It provides employees the chance to break free from the isolation and virtual fatigue of remote work, fostering personal connections with colleagues that are challenging to cultivate over video calls.
Prioritising Employee Wellbeing At this stage, it’s hard to determine whether this corporate charm offensive is indeed drawing employees back to the office. Nevertheless, these new corporate events deliver an added advantage to both businesses and their staff. The challenges of recent years have undeniably affected employee well-being and overall productivity. Additional corporate events and team-building activities can significantly enhance employee happiness, revitalising overall team morale in the process.
There’s an additional external benefit as well. Perceptive sales teams are recognising that clients are equally eager to step away from screens, and standalone networking events provide a superb opportunity for this. With online marketing saturation and high costs, businesses can genuinely stand out by organising in-person events for clients, fostering lasting connections in the process.
A Bright Future for the Events Industry Irrespective of the reasoning behind the surge in corporate bookings, its profound impact on the broader events sector is undeniable. Industry confidence is growing steadily, showing no signs of abating. Thanks to the corporate sector, the events industry appears to be regaining solid ground.
“In 2023, we’ve witnessed an explosion in popularity of corporate events and parties. While hybrid work has become commonplace for many companies, business leaders are seeking fresh methods to keep team members engaged with company values, motivated, and to promote communication among them. We are no exception. With nearly all our team members engaged in ‘hybrid’ work, we see a tremendous opportunity to bring everyone together for enjoyable and engaging events. It’s a wonderful chance to share recent updates, discuss company goals, and simply have fun as a collective!” Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop UK