The Economist Intelligence Unit’s recent survey compared the cost of 160 items, including food, drink and transport, in 133 different cities. Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore topped the list, with Zurich, Geneva, Osaka, Seoul, Copenhagen, New York and Tel Aviv rounding out the top ten.
What we think:
Joe O’Connell, Director of Events & Client Services
“It’s interesting to see which cities made the top three. I’m surprised Paris is so much higher up the list than London, as in my experience the costs to run an event in both cities are very similar. Certainly it’s possible to spend a lot in Paris, with historic venues like the Royal Monceau, but that’s just as true in London if you go to an iconic luxury venue.
“Singapore isn’t as surprising. It’s an exceptionally popular location as it has fantastic flight access. New York is one that I would expect to be higher on the list - while the base cost is comparable with other locations, the taxes and rules around labourers often make it prohibitively expensive.
“I’d also expect London to be higher and it will be interesting to see what impact Brexit eventually has on the cost of delivering events in London. The exchange rate and import duty changes may mean it becomes quite attractive internationally, but equally if visas are required to visit the UK from the EU, this could be a prohibitive factor.”
Natasha Hawkins, Senior Events Executive
“There are plenty of strategies for delivering events in ‘expensive’ locations to ensure value for money for the client. Paris is a great example of a city where the centre is very expensive but the outskirts are far cheaper, and most of the cities in this top ten have exceptional transport systems meaning that events can be held further out without really impacting the attendee experience.
“The largest savings are usually achieved through negotiating with suppliers – hotels and venues in particular. Other ways costs can be managed are by opting for a single venue for accommodation and the event, to reduce transfer costs and also by holding lunches and dinners on site.
“There’s a delicate balance to be had though. It depends massively on the brief and the purpose of the event. There’s no point flying everyone to Hong Kong if they’re only going to see the inside of a hotel. There are also a lot of places that are perceived as prohibitively expensive, like Dubai, where the general costs are higher, but there’s also a huge amount of competition between a huge range of suppliers, giving you a lot of options at a lot of price points.”