Still looking for a Christmas venue? Be ready for a fight

Even if you’re not planning specific Christmas events, the festive period puts serious pressure on the UK’s venue market. Prices go up, of course, but bookings are also taken very quickly - and if some Christmas parties demand a particularly elaborate set-up, some multi-purpose spaces could be unusable for days at a time. Add into that the demand for caterers and other event services, and it gets much more difficult to arrange other corporate events.

So if you do happen to have a conference or seminar planned for December and you haven’t yet booked a venue, be prepared to fight for the slot you want. Venue Reservations says that competition is fierce for the few remaining available spaces in London.

Lots of bookers secured venues slightly earlier - compared to the previous year, the number of enquiries the firm recorded in the second quarter of the year shot up by a striking 250 per cent. Confirmed bookings also rose by as much as 67 per cent. In the third quarter, bookings rose by 74 per cent and in the last couple of months, the company reports confirmed bookings rose by 80 per cent.

More and more event planners are leaving their arrangements to the last minute, it appears - but since more bookings have already been made, it looks as though competition will be strong for remaining venues and dates.

Venue Reservations says that many bookers had assumed that if they waited until later in the season, remaining venues would be more flexible and they would be able to negotiate more favourable deals. It seems they will be disappointed - with so many planners having done the same thing, key weekday evenings are in particularly high demand.

Christmas will have just as much of an effect on corporate events as it does on these party venues, as hotels and venues are reserved for lengthy periods. However good the deal might be if you hold out until the last minute, it’s a high-risk strategy that could lead to a stressful last-minute dash.

If you’re looking to book early, you could get a sense of the size of venue you’ll need for your numbers by using an online registration system to offer early-bird discounts to those who book sooner. You might feel like you’re paying more than you need to for a venue if you reserve it earlier in the year, but at least it’s definitely yours.

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