Surging Demand for Corporate Events Signals UK Businesses’ Efforts to Reconnect with Employees

Amidst the tightening grip of cost-of-living pressures, the corporate events and parties market is experiencing a surge, as businesses strive to reestablish connections with their workforce.

Even in the face of the ongoing cost-of-living challenges affecting UK spending, British companies are ramping up their engagement with corporate parties and social events. Fresh data from Poptop, the UK’s premier platform for booking corporate events, reveals this trend. With the lucrative Christmas party season just around the corner, this robust post-COVID resurgence in corporate event bookings raises an intriguing question: is the events market on the path to recovery?

The Remarkable Ascendance of Corporate Parties Few sectors have felt the economic upheavals of recent years as acutely as the events industry. After enduring a nearly complete two-year halt during the pandemic, the corporate and private events realm began showing tentative signs of recovery—only to have high inflation and the “cost of living” factor once again temper growth expectations. Yet, one segment of the events domain is thriving amidst this uncertainty. Poptop, an online events marketplace, analysed data from 423 of its corporate clients and discovered an astonishing 68% upsurge in corporate bookings and staff parties compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The character and scheduling of these burgeoning corporate events have certainly evolved since the time before the COVID lockdown. Buffet catering and bartender services saw a 40% decrease compared to 2019, while categories centred on “family-friendly” events like barbecues, children’s entertainers, and magicians witnessed nearly a 100% surge in corporate bookings. The nature of bookings has also shifted to shorter notice, with corporate gatherings frequently arranged just weeks or even days before the event itself. In light of these fluctuations in a volatile market, what accounts for the flourishing state of the corporate events industry?

Shifting Perspectives in Workplaces The surge of remote and hybrid working’s popularity over the past few years, initially out of necessity and subsequently due to employees seeking a balanced work-life equation, is no secret. Nonetheless, many companies are eager to see their employees return to shared office spaces. Notable business figures such as Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and James Dyson have openly expressed reservations about hybrid working models, hinting at a potential change in sentiment among senior management.

Nevertheless, the truth remains that UK workforces need incentivising to return to full-time office settings. Consequently, some HR departments perceive an opportunity to showcase the value of corporate life. Events with a family-oriented focus that bring employees together, along with spontaneous last-minute events, serve as potent reminders that the office encompasses more than just managerial oversight. It offers a platform for fostering personal connections among colleagues—an aspect nearly impossible to replicate through virtual meetings.

Prioritising Employee Well-being At this juncture, it’s challenging to definitively determine whether this corporate charm offensive is genuinely luring employees back to the office. Regardless, these novel corporate events confer added benefits to both businesses and their employees. The challenges of the past few years have undeniably impacted employee well-being and overall business productivity. Additional corporate events and team-building activities can wield a substantial and enduring influence on employee happiness, simultaneously reinvigorating team morale.

There’s an added external advantage as well. Astute sales teams are beginning to recognise that clients are equally eager to step away from their screens—standalone networking events present a splendid opportunity for this purpose. In a realm oversaturated with online marketing efforts, businesses can set themselves apart by hosting in-person events for their clients, thereby fostering enduring connections.

A Bright Future for the Events Industry Regardless of the rationale behind this upswing in corporate bookings, its ramifications ripple far and wide across the events sector. Month by month, industry confidence is burgeoning, showing no signs of abating. Thanks to the corporate segment, the events industry appears to have regained solid footing.

“In 2023, we’ve witnessed a surge in popularity for corporate events and parties. While hybrid work has become a norm for many companies, business leaders are seeking fresh avenues to keep their teams engaged with company values, motivated, and to facilitate communication among them. We’re no exception—as nearly all of our team members work in a ‘hybrid’ capacity, we perceive a remarkable opportunity to bring everyone together for enjoyable and engaging events. It’s a fantastic chance to share recent news, discuss company objectives, and simply have a great time together!”

Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop UK

Sam Allcock

Sam Allcock is the founder of PR Fire. He helps small to medium-sized businesses land coverage in publications through smart press release distribution.

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