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Calendar for 2020 with pushpin Photo by Olivier Le Moal / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Special Events Releases 2020 Event Planner Forecast

Most event pros are confident heading into 2020, though they're keeping a wary eye on economic news.

The event industry feels confident going into 2020, with 90 percent of in-house event professionals predicting they will stage the same number or more events in 2020 than they will in 2019. As for independent event professionals, 79 percent say they will stage the same number or more special events next year. The study is conducted every year by the Informa Engage division of Informa, parent company of Special Events.

The 2020 outlook for business/corporate events is strong, with the majority of independent event professional respondents (55 percent) expecting revenue increases. The typical respondent expects a mean increase of 11 percent in business/corporate events. Some 35 percent of respondents expect their 2020 revenues from business/corporate events to stay on par with 2019, while a scant 2 percent of respondents expect revenues from business/corporate events to decrease in 2020.

The outlook for social/private events is a bit more tempered, with 43 percent expecting revenue increases and 37 percent expecting no change. The typical respondent expects a mean increase of 12 percent in social/private events. Five percent of respondents say they expect revenue from social/private events to decrease in 2020 while 16 percent are unsure.

EVENT COUNT STAYS EVEN Just under half of independent event professional respondents (47 percent) expect to stage more events in 2020. Some 32 percent expect to stage the same number of events next year. Six percent say they will stage fewer events in 2020, while 14 percent are unsure.

Half (50 percent) of in-house event professional respondents expect to stage to stage the same number of events in 2020 as they will in 2019. Four in ten (40 percent) expect to stage more events next year, with 5 percent saying they expect to stage fewer event. The remainder are unsure.

CONFRONTING CHALLENGES Independent event pros list their top five challenges in 2020 as reduced client budgets (cited by 52 percent of respondents); shorter lead times (47 percent); an uncertain economy (46 percent); increased competition (44 percent); and the labor shortage/lack of skilled labor (37 percent).

These findings suggest that independent event pros have some concerns about the economy in 2020. In the 2019 Special Events forecast, “increased competition” was the No. 1 concern of independent pros, but that worry drops to No. 5 in 2020. “Reduced client budgets” jumped from No. 3 in 2019 to No. 1 in 2020, while concern over an “uncertain economy” went from No. 5 in 2019 up to No. 3 in 2020.

In contrast, the challenges listed by in-house event pros will be largely the same in 2020 as they were in 2019. No. 1 remains “reduced budgets to work with,” listed by 61 percent of respondents. This is followed by “demonstrating the value/ROI of special events” (41 percent); “shorter lead times” (37 percent); and “labor shortage/lack of skilled labor” (23 percent). The notable change from last year is that “an uncertain economy” is now listed as the No. 5 top challenge for in-house pros in 2020 (20 percent), taking the place of “coping with new technology.”

The complete article, including 10 years of look-back data, will appear in the Winter 2020 issue of Special Events, available only to subscribers. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

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