Bosses are the talk of London

Conferences: the capital is booked up months ahead

London has become Europe's leading conference centre, to such an extent that the best venues usually need to be booked months in advance. The globalisation of commerce and the increasing integration and expansion of the European Union mean that conference organisers are catering for an ever more international audience.

"I would no longer contemplate running a conference only for the domestic market," says Lindy Bird, the managing director of Cadogan International Conferences. "I might hold it in London but I would expect an international attendance. London is seen as a centre, particularly for asset management, which I specialise in."

One of Cadogan's forthcoming events is the annual California information technology and investment and partnering forum, which is co-hosted by the Bank of America, Easdaq, the European stock exchange, and the Silicon Valley Bank but which is to be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.

The advantages of London are based on its high quality venues, which offer good telecommunications and IT facilities and general support services, allowing executives to continue running their businesses while they are away at a conference. "The hotels with good business centres do best for conferences because it is what the delegates increasingly want," says Mrs Bird. "Two years ago people used to love going to conferences. Now they expect a hell of a lot more. They want good phone managers so that they can still carry on business while they are at conference."

The strengthening of English as the international business language has also confirmed London's role, though internationalisation has also created extra demand for translation facilities, which must now be incorporated as standard.

Nick Redfern, an executive of the International Conference Group, says that the perception abroad of London as a glamorous city gives it an allure that attracts delegates from across Europe. "We often do surveys and London is always top of the list, even though we still hold conferences elsewhere sometimes. It is the cultural perspective of London that is attractive, particularly to people from the emerging markets in Europe, which is a growing sector. A conference is often delegates' first chance to visit London. One eastern European bank rents a house permanently for delegates. It is relatively short of cash, so can send more delegates as it is cheaper than a hotel. They don't send their people to conferences in any other cities."

"It is important to have the conference somewhere that is interesting, so people can stay on an extra couple of days," confirms Catherine Chetwynd, contributing editor of Delegates, the conference sector's magazine.

But while the number of conferences in London is growing, they are also getting more serious, Ms Chetwynd adds. The days of conferences being an easy few days away to socialise and network are long gone. "There used to be lots of jollies, and people still spend a lot of money on conferences, but it is more focused on the serious presentation," she says.

There is a need for more high quality conference centres to keep up with demand, including one in the heart of the City, if London is not to lose much of the top-end of the market. Market leaders have to remember to keep getting better.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones