The Conference and Banqueting sector in the UK has grown to become an integral part in the industry (Ramanathan & Ramanathan 2011). With more entries into the already competitive market, the competition for market control in this sector has been immense. Conference and Banqueting have long histories in the UK that traces back to the ceremonial meals that were held in honor of Lords and monarchs across the United Kingdom. While Banqueting describes a mass of people gathered for some form of party or get-togethers in both formal and informal settings, Conferencing is a more formal and relates to meetings among other formal events (Ramanathan & Ramanathan 2011).
Any big hotel aiming at achieving a competitive market advantage in the congested UK market must get their priorities right. As part of being competitive, most hotels now have a viable Conference and Banqueting sectors that offers various services to the customers. For instance, it is crucial for any big hotel operating in the UK to have a functional food and beverage unit that falls under Banqueting (Olsen & Roper 2008). The primarily objective is to attain maximum revenue that will be realized from the increased sale of foods and beverages at the hotel. Weddings and private luncheons, cocktails among other forms of recreation defines Banqueting (Olsen & Roper 2008). Correspondingly, some of the clients coming to the hotel maybe in business retreats will be in need of conference halls and later the services of the Banqueting unit at the hotel.
This document articulately gives an account of the scope and size of the Conference and Banqueting sector in the UK. The significance and role played by the Conference and Banqueting in strengthening the hospitality industry in the UK cannot be underpinned whatsoever (Olsen & Roper 2008). The document also analyzes various factors that in one way or the other affects the Conference and Banqueting industry in the UK. Such factors entail the economic and political aspects, the technological and environmental aspects among others factors explicitly discussed in this document.
Size and Scope Conference and Banqueting in UK
The UK Conference and Banqueting industry has over the past decades grown both in size, scope and strengths making it an integral unit in the hospitality industry. With most countries in Europe trying to market their cities as the best for meetings and other social activities, the UK’s Conference and Banqueting is braced for extremely high competition for control of the hospitality industry. The city of London, for example, has emerging as a preferred destination for tourists and international corporate meetings and retreats held in most hotels in the city throughout the year. As part of products differentiation, the introduction and strengthening of the Conference and Banqueting in the UK hotels has had a significant impact in the country’s hospitality industry.
The size of the UK’s Conference and Banqueting sector can be described as enormous and with new entries into the business and little exit; the growth trend is bound to continue. Currently, the UK Government is encouraging more investors, both local and foreign to commit more cash into the hospitality industry. As such, the Government has considerably lowered the conditions for entry and operation into the business explaining why the sector has been growing for the past two decades. Event planning and management programs offered mostly by relatively established hotel in the UK entails some of the primarily objectives and duties of the Conference and Banqueting unit. Therefore, in ensuring quality service provision to the clients, most of the hotels are currently involving the services of various professionals in the management of the UK’s Conference and Banqueting sector. As it stands now, the department has employed a considerable number of people (approximately 12, 000) who would otherwise be unemployed. This ranges from event managers and planners, chefs, to professional waiters among many other opportunities the sector has assisted in creating.
In the past decades, the idea of Conference and Banqueting in the UK were preserved for affluent establishments and bigger hotels a situation that has since changed. For instance, most pubs and restaurants that do operates in the UK and are also major employers in the economy are currently offering a range of Conference and Banqueting facilities in their premises. Notably, the huge size of the industry in the UK implies increased competition due to entries that are being recorded annually (Shone 2008). Therefore, most hotels and establishments are opting to merge their premises with an aim of reducing competition and creating a monopoly in the market. This explains why the number of individual entities dealing with Conference and Banqueting in the UK is constantly dropping from the original numbers (Shone 2008).
The scope of the UK’s Conference and Banqueting sector is to become an enormously significant partner in the industry (Shone 2008). With an increasing number of events and meeting being held every year in most cities in the UK, the scope and determination of the Conference and Banqueting sector has since changed greatly (Shone 2008). With most of the cities in the UK such as London gaining ground as preferred destinations for tourists and corporate meetings, the scope and size of the Conference and Banqueting industry is constantly changing. The London Olympics that was successfully held by the country among other events, for instance explains the ever increasing size and scope of the sector (Shone 2008).
Ultimately, just like in any viable economy, the aim is to increase and expand the Conference and Banqueting facilities in most hotels in the country. Similarly, there is need to improve the existing Conference and Banqueting facilities in the big hotels to comply with the current standards preferred by most customers (Ramón 2002). Essentially, successful organization of events in the UK helps market the country’s hospitality industries and to attract more clients and investors to the Conference and Banqueting industry (Ramón 2002).
Analysis of the different influences that have shaped the industry
With the current level of technological innovations in the UK, the modernization of the Banquet and Conference facilities in the hotels and various establishments must be given due consideration as far as technological advancement is concerned. With the level of competition in the UK’s hospitality market, the introduction of new and sophisticated technologies in an establishment as part of products differentiation will ensure that the business in question remains competitive enough. Most customers will be looking for comfort in the choosing an appropriate Banquet and Conference facilities (Slattery 2002). As a result, the introduction and application of current technological advancement in the industry will help attract more customers to the premises.
For example, a conference hall with adjustable chairs, modern audio and video systems and appropriate air conditioning equipment will definitely impress an organization willing to have an employee retreat at the establishment (Slattery 2002). The role of technology in the advancement of the Banquet and Conference facilities sector in the UK should not be ignored whatsoever. Teleconferencing facilities at the conference halls should be efficient and constantly updated to comply with any adjustment in technological applications. The rooms should be well lit and with constant flow of natural air to make the clients feel more safe and comfortable.
Just any sector in the economy, the Banqueting and Conferencing sector is susceptible to a range of economic issues. These issues range from inflation, interest and exchange rates among other economic issues (Slattery 2002). For instance, the rates of interests in the economy of the UK affect the decision of a potential investor on the Banqueting and Conferencing facilities (Slattery 2002). The rates of inflation in the country impacts on the real wages of the potential clients of the UK’s hospitality industry. For example, the sector has employed a considerable number of individuals and in the process easing the country the inherent burden of unemployment. In economic sense, increased employment opportunities in an economy means an increase in disposable income and, therefore, increased spending power.
The UK has experienced a relative period of political peace and instability over the past years and has since transformed into an international business hub (Rogers 2013). Most of the potential investors into the UK’s economy are confident of a positive return on their investments given the security standards in the country. Nevertheless, a number of political resolutions made by the ruling governments affect the hospitality industry and other sector. For instance, a government policy to impose heavy taxation on the hotels operating in the UK will definitely discourage potential investors into the industry (Rogers 2013).
Just like any other facet of the hospitality industry, Banqueting and Conferencing attracts a diverse customer base (Rogers 2013). Such groups of people lives different lifestyles and have different preferences for leisure and definitions of pleasure. Ranging from the food and beverages being served by the Banqueting and Conferencing department in a hotel to the choice of leisure activities, the social environment must always be flexible. The choice of a conference or banquet hall, for instance, may depend on the social classes of the clients that must be addressed by the event planners (Rogers 2013). The definition of leisure to a Christian and a Muslim, for example, varies considerably and such concerns among others must addressed promptly by the management.
Most countries around the world are currently championing for the enhancement in the preservation and care of nature. A number of public and private institutions are currently involved in encouraging effective production of such products that are environmentally friendly (Hartley & Rand 2000). For instance, in planning the Banquet and Conference facilities, sustainability and renewability should be given due consideration (Hartley & Rand 2000). For instance, the food and beverages packages should be made from materials that can be recycled to help reduce and control possible pollution of the environment (Hartley & Rand 2000). However, when organizing events, some climatic conditions such as winter and sand storms may affect the success of such efforts. Though such climatic conditions are beyond the control of the business entities, various stakeholders to help mitigate their effects should put proper mechanisms in place.
The external competitions for the market control also entail some of the environmental factors that do affect the organizations that offer Banquet and Conference facilities (Hartley & Rand 2000). Mergers and acquisition are some of the inherent aspects affecting the hospitality industry in the UK. This is because, certain organizations producing related or different commodities and services fearing competition may decide merge and operate as one entity. The objective in such instances is to cut competition and create a monopoly, a market structure that is exploitative in nature (Hartley & Rand 2000). Therefore, the above discussed environmental factors affecting the UK’s hospitality industry should be mitigated effectively by the various stakeholders to avoid any possible detrimental effects that may ensue.
The employees at most of the UK’s Banquet and Conference establishments must always respect and uphold the dignity of the customers visiting the premises (Van der Wagen 2010). The codes of conducts that governs the demeanors of the employees towards the customers are legally bound and any violation of the provisions may attract legal redress against the employee or even the institution. Successful operation of business entities in a competitive field like the UK’s hospitality industry must be supplemented with appropriate legal agreements and requirements. For instance, whatsoever must preserve the privacy of the clients by the establishment and any disclosure may attract a punitive legal redress (Van der Wagen 2010).
Correspondingly, the customers are protected against any form of exploitation by the competition laws and any violation may be detrimental to the operation and competitiveness of the business entity. Consumer laws also protect the clients from unhealthy food and beverages that the premises may be offering at one point in time (Van der Wagen 2010). Notably, all the products offered by a Banquet and Conferencing institution must be consistent with what majority of the clients expects from the advertisements. Essentially, the establishments offering Banquet and Conference facilities in the UK are responsible for the safety of their clients and products and any violation may attract legal redresses.
The Conferencing and Banqueting industry in the UK has been expanding for the past years. The industry has grown in both size and scope to accommodate more aspects and issues in the hospitality industry. Appropriate approaches are therefore needed to help rejuvenate this critical segment and to alleviate such constraining factors debated in this document. The stakeholders cannot ignore the various factors discussed in this document that affects and shapes the industry. The UK Government are obliged to respect the role the Conference and Banqueting sector plays in the Nation’s economy.
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