Big event technology supplier Cvent Inc. released the results of its fourth annual Global Planner Sourcing report yesterday, showing that companies are increasingly investing more in meetings and events programs, reflecting strong corporate confidence in the economy and the positive business impact of meetings and events, the company said.
The Cvent study outlines the results of a survey among nearly 3,000 corporate event planners worldwide exploring how planners source venues and what influences their decision-making. This year’s study found that 52 percent of respondents say their event budgets have increased year over year, compared with 32 percent reporting increases the prior year.
Likely an extension of these larger budgets, the number of events planned each year has also grown, and event size is on the rise, the study says. Some 28 percent of planners said they are organizing six to 10 off-site meetings (up from 15 percent last year) while the number of planners organizing only one or two meetings halved (decreasing from 26 percent to 13 percent), according to Cvent. From a size perspective, planners report that the number of meetings exceeding 100 attendees has grown, while smaller meetings (100 attendees or less) have declined.
“There are many indicators pointing to the strength of the economy, but one of the most telling may be growth in the corporate events industry,” said Patrick Smith, chief marketing officer at Cvent. “While more spend on meetings and events is great news for the travel and hospitality industry, venues and destinations cannot fully reap those benefits until they can deeply understand what makes a meeting and event planner tick. This survey offers hospitality professionals the data and insights they need to attract more group business and ensures their sales and marketing teams are focusing on the areas that make the most impact.”
Additional findings from the study include:
· Most group business is “available for the taking” and can be earned by any venue with great marketing plans and a strong digital presence, Cvent says. Only 16 percent of planners say they are extremely certain of their venue when they begin the sourcing process. Peer recommendations are the top influencer on sourcing decisions – highlighting the importance of venues monitoring their digital presence, ensuring they are discoverable, engaged with their customers, and responsive to feedback online.
· Activities outside of the meeting venue have become an increasingly important consideration for event planners. Events that incorporate outside activities help generate revenues for outside businesses, such as restaurants, sports arenas, musicians and cultural attractions, boosting the overall economic impact of meetings and events.
· Some 21 percent of planners cited outside activities as a top influence when selecting a venue, and 43 percent said live music and entertainment are strategies they have leveraged to create a memorable event experience
Despite growing budgets, costs and discounts remain important to planners, but they aren’t everything, Cvent says. Though they may have more resources at their disposal, planners remain sensitive to costs, but the desire to deliver a memorable experience can help override cost restrictions.
Some 71 percent said they are extremely or very certain about what they have to spend. Only 35 percent of planners said they would move to their second choice venue if they offered a more than 10 percent savings, down nearly 10 percent year over year. This helps to demonstrate the importance of other offerings like additional amenities, service levels, and unique onsite experiences that can provide a standout experience and entice group business.
Technology and digitization are key to creating an enduring experience. While creating space for networking is a top priority for event planners, technology continues to play an important role in attendee engagement. Survey respondents said they have used the following tools to build a compelling experience:
· Social media displays (36 percent)
· Mobile event apps (29 percent)
· Interactive polls (25 percent)
· Virtual/augmented reality (17 percent)
· Mobile gamification (15 percent)
To download Cvent’s 2018 Global Planner Sourcing survey, click here.