Business Events Research

Business Events is an important sector for the UK, in 2016 Business visits accounted for 24% of all visits and contributed £5.5 billion in spend. Explore and download our most recent Business Events research below.

Delegate spend and trip extensions

VisitBritain’s Business Events Research – Delegate Spend and Trip Extensions (PDF, 2.6 MB) presents detailed findings into business events delegates’ spending and travel behaviours.

The research measured two aspects of business event travel; the amount spent by delegates at business events in Britain, and the behaviour of those delegates extending trips for leisure. 

Key highlights from the report International delegates attending events were also found to spend more, in part because registration fees for these events were higher. Overseas delegates from outside the EU spent more (£1,748) than those overseas delegates from within the EU (£990), and domestic delegates (£329).

The report found that business delegates attending an event in Britain who extended their trip for leisure purposes would, on average, spend double the amount of money (£1,942) than if they travelled home immediately after the event (£991).  It also found the destination of the event was not a major factor in the delegate’s decision to extend their trip for leisure; the practicalities of flight timings, ease of travel and accommodation were considered more important.

Understanding business visits report

Our Foresight report Understanding Business Visits (PDF, 866KB) explores the business sub category data in more detail. 

Business visits accounted for 22% of all inbound visits in 2018, with 8.8 million such visits, and contributed £4.5 billion in spend. The report shows there were 3.3 million visits were made to attend small and medium sized meetings (up to 20 people), while close to 1.5 million MICE visits were made to attend a large meeting (21+ people), a conference, convention or congress, an incentive or team building events, or an exhibition, event or trade show.

Regional breakdown of visits are provided, with London continuing to lead in terms of share of visits, nights and spend for business visits to the UK overall, and for MICE visits.

Destination decision-making, motivations and barriers for business visitors

This report explores some key factors that influence the decision making for meeting and conference locations as well as awareness and consideration of British cities for business events.

Some key highlights of the report include:

  • 77% organisers place ‘ease of access’ in their top three priorities.
  • Suitability of venues is the second most important factor in destination choice. 62% of organisers place this in their top three priorities.
  • Value for money is the third most important factor in destination choice. 51% of organisers place this in their top three priorities.

Download the full report (PDF, 2.7 MB).

A separate report looks at the China MICE Market (PDF, 2.03 MB, published March 2021). It provides key insights to understand the characteristics of the Chinese meetings and incentives market.

International Passenger Survey (IPS) business visits data

The business visits and events sector is incredibly diverse, covering trade fairs, conferences and congresses, outdoor and entertainment events as well as business tourism.

The latest annual data from the International Passenger Survey is available, view data for visits, nights, and spend of all business visitors, as well as filter visits by age, gender, season, mode of transport, length of stay for the last full year of data. A report about business visits by type, including a MICE estimate (large Meetings, Incentive trips, Conferences and Events), is also available.

View the Business Visits IPS data