Brexit impact on events industry increasing, HBAA survey finds

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The second annual Brexit survey carried out by the HBAA, the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community, has found that the impact of Brexit on recruitment in the UK hospitality and events industry is increasing, but its influence on business in the sector has reduced in the last 12 months.

Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the HBAA and a member of the Event Industry Board’s Talent Taskforce, commented: “These results give a clear picture of the growing issue that the industry is facing and why the Talent Taskforce initiative to provide evidence to government and secure support in addressing the potential consequences is vital and urgent.”

Considering whether Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, 57.7 per cent now say it has had no impact, up from 47.7 per cent a year ago. The number saying that it has had a significant impact has gone down from 7 per cent to 5.8 per cent while those saying it has had a slight effect have declined from 45.3 per cent to 36.5 per cent. Twenty per cent say that the Brexit impact has increased in the last year, 63.5 per cent report that it has been the same and 15.3 per cent have noticed less effect.

Louise Goalen, chairwoman of the HBAA, added: “The consensus among members commenting on these trends is that the immediate impact two years ago was a rise in costs due to the significant drop in sterling, and a more cautious attitude among clients towards booking events.Over the last 12 months these challenges seem to have settled down slightly and businesses have adjusted. Now everyone is warily waiting to see what happens next. It will be fascinating to see what everyone thinks 12 months from now when we will have been out for three months!”

When asked which events industry positions are proving challenging to fill, 90.6 per cent say entry level posts, 62.5 per cent are having difficulty with middle level roles and 56.2 per cent report problems filling senior positions. However, as yet 86.3 per cent of organisations have not changed their recruitment policy since the referendum vote.