London’s meetings and incentives industry soars with new openings and redevelopments
16 October 2023
- New record of 29 exhibitors heading to Vegas, led by London
- London retains its title as top European city for meetings and events
London has seen another bumper year in the meetings and incentives industry, including setting a new exhibitor milestone at IMEX America with the largest presence since the show started in 2011. This is amplified by the fact that London has once again topped the Resonance list for the world’s best city for the eighth year[i].
The London Convention Bureau will exhibit alongside 29 of the city’s best hotels, venues, and destination management companies.
From recently opened luxury hotels, and state of the art venue expansions to new transportation links and continued investment, the city is set to record another successful 2023 with exciting prospects for 2024.
New entrants continue
London continues to be an attractive place for hotel launches. Since 2021, a total of 73 hotels have opened their doors in the capital; adding to the existing 1,827 hotels already available in the city[ii].
The luxury hotel boom began with the opening of The Peninsula London in September, boasting an impressive 190 rooms and suites, as well as six restaurants, bars, and lounges. Despite never having a London location during its 157-year history, the opening highlights London’s desirability as a hub for expansion and how the city continues to be a key destination for businesses.
One of the many things London is renowned for is its ability to innovate while preserving its culture and history. And the opening of Raffles at the OWO, also in September, exemplifies just that. Built within the walls of The Old War office – famous for Churchill’s speeches from the grand staircase, it underwent a monumental six-year transformation. Debuting with 120 rooms and suites, the hotel is set to become a culinary hub with its 9 restaurants and 3 bars with concepts from world renowned chefs, such as Mauro Colagreco.
These new openings follow the launch of a diverse range of properties such as the sustainability focused 1 Hotel Mayfair, the design driven BoTree, and quirky Ruby Zoe. London is set to keep growing; currently, there are 297 projects in various stages of development, representing a staggering 27,066 rooms[iii]. For example, Maybourne Hotel Group’s all-suite The Emory is set to welcome guests this winter in Knightsbridge and further along, Rosewood will welcome its second hotel, The Chancery Rosewood, in the mid-century masterpiece on Grosvenor Square that used to be home to the U.S. Embassy. area next year.
Reinventing and revitalising
Following last year’s launch of immersive venues Outernet London and Frameless, venues in the city continue to innovate with ongoing redevelopment plans and new openings.
The highly anticipated transformation of ExCeL London is set to be complete in October 2024. The £200 million project will see the venue increase its capacity by up to 270,000 sq. ft; enhancing London’s world-class conference, event and exhibition facilities. Taking cues from its location on the River Thames and incorporating natural light as well as increased flexibility, the expansion is perfect for the next generation of conferences and events.
The iconic 140-year-old Olympia London is also undergoing a regeneration worth £1.3bn. Building life into the city’s heritage sites, 2025 will see the venue become more than a state-of-the-art conference facility. From a new theatre and music arena to two new hotels, it is set to become a new London hub for culture and creativity.
The growing partnership with North America
London’s ongoing industry developments have helped maintain its position as the leading European city for meetings and events[iv], and the North American market plays an instrumental role in this.
The capital has attracted some of the most prominent events from the region. The Pokémon Festival in August saw 40,000 attendees at Brockwell Park, while ExCel London hosted Salesforce World Tour with 10,000 participants. Next year, the capital’s event space will be contributing to the city’s $1 trillion tech ecosystem with an unprecedented amount of large-scale tech conferences confirmed.
London’s tourism growth also adds to its appeal for major sporting and entertainment events. In June, the city hosted the MLB World Tour at the London Stadium. Returning for the first time since the Covid pandemic, the baseball game, held at The London Stadium, attracted more than 55,000 fans. Recognising the value of London and its fans to MLB, they have already confirmed their return for 2024 and 2026. Lastly, the world’s most sustainable sport, Formula E[v] was hosted by ExCel London in July for the third consecutive year, reinforcing London’s commitment to attracting events that promote its sustainability mission.
Sustainably connecting the city
London continues to be the most connected city in the world. After the completion of the Elizabeth Line, it recorded 150 million passengers in the first year alone[vi]. This high-speed train has revolutionised the way Londoners and visitors alike travel across London, halving the travel time from Heathrow airport to ExCeL London.
Additionally, Eurostar expanded its travel options to more cities in the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium. As well as launching a new train service connecting London with the French Alps this December.
These well-connected networks provide businesses with the opportunity to reach larger audiences across the UK and Europe, whilst placing sustainability at the heart of all activities.
Josh Novick, Vice President of Business Development North America at the London Convention Bureau, said: “London’s vibrant culture and diverse business offerings make the city the ideal destination for the meetings and incentives industry. A city of contrasts, where the iconic meets the unexpected, London continues to attract the world’s best events.
“However, we focus on more than just attracting events to the capital. London’s mission is to curate an events landscape that compliments our sector expertise and promotes good growth for Londoners. Whilst we are a city that constantly re-invents itself, London still preserves its rich heritage making it a place where it’s easy to both work and play”.
James Rees, Executive Director at ExCeL London, said: “Dubbed the capital of capitals, London is quite simply a world-class event destination, and its popularity is clear to see given 2023 will be ExCeL’s busiest ever year. It’s one of the reasons we’re currently expanding our venue – opening in October 2024 – as London’s event landscape goes from strength to strength.”
He added: “London’s high-speed Elizabeth line, which travels direct from Heathrow Airport to outside ExCeL’s doorstep in just 43 minutes – has also been transformational to this MICE industry growth, receiving resounding applause from visitors and event organisers alike, not to mention the New York Times.”
Find the London Convention Bureau Team on Stand E1817 to meet London’s biggest venues, and luxury hotel brands, as well as find out how the London Convention Bureau can help bring your event to the city.
Notes to editors
Note to editors:
About London Convention Bureau
As London’s official convention bureau, we help event professionals, meeting organisers, and incentive planners unlock the city and create events to remember. We’re part of London & Partners, the business growth and destination agency for London. Our dedicated, impartial team can help you get the most out of London’s iconic venues, hotels and support services. For more information, visit our website: https://conventionbureau.london/.
The London Convention Bureau can be found on Stand E1817, alongside the following partners:
- 2B UK DMC
- Clermont Hotel Group
- Convene | etc.venues
- Dorsett Hospitality International
- ExCeL London
- Green & Fortune Venues
- Historic Royal Palaces
- Ibis London Earls Court Hotel & ILEC Conference Centre
- Iconic Luxury Hotels
- IET London: Savoy Place
- Merlin Venues
- Natural History Museum
- Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch
- Novotel London West
- Oceandiva London & Evolution London
- Park Plaza Hotels London
- Principal. London DMC
- QEII Centre
- Royal Lancaster London
- Smith & Wollensky
- Spencer House
- St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- The Carlton Tower Jumeirah
- The Landmark London
- The National Gallery
- The Savoy
- Waddesdon Estate
[ii] Source: AMPM
[iii] Source: AMPM