The In-house Corporate Event (ICE) community has outlined a series of growing issues facing corporate event organizers, and some of the solutions they are focusing on as planners come under increasing time pressure and budget.
The findings are brought to life in the annual trends report, commissioned by ICE, with support from Cvent, and have far-reaching implications beyond the corporate events community. The research found that organizers expressed concerns about budgetary constraints, sustainability, remuneration and their role within organisations, but it also showed that they were finding new answers through event technology and resources in the events sector.
The most consistent topic within the survey was budgets, ranging from the need to stretch event budgets, to the costs of freelancers and the remuneration of event professionals. Respondents all reported that budget pressures are increasing, with inflation increasing the cost of events, while expectations also continue to rise. At the same time, as many as 52% of professionals expressed dissatisfaction with their current salaries.
In response to these human-led challenges, ICE’s report shows that technology is increasingly emerging as a crucial ally for event teams. Professionals want to take advantage of technology platforms that now offer end-to-end services from registration to reporting, improved budgeting, engagement technologies and measurement.
At the same time, the report underlines that pressure on corporate event organizers is being increased by those higher up in their organizations. The research found that communication with stakeholders (internal marketing, sales, finance teams) remains a concern, with confusion around the role, value and place of events teams within the business structure.
The report noted that the “lack of standardization can cause confusion among professionals about their roles and responsibilities, making it challenging to benchmark against peers.” Likewise, the report noted that ‘the diversity in job titles also raises questions about the clarity of roles. This ambiguity can lead to difficulties in setting clear expectations for career growth and development.”
One area of optimism, however, is the growing understanding of where events should occur within a large corporate structure. ICE has long advocated that the true value of events is best appreciated by sales and/or marketing functions. The organization’s research found that 71% of respondents now find their home in the ‘Marketing’ function of companies, which represents a substantial increase from the 55% reported in previous years.
In other parts of the report, sustainability remains, unsurprisingly, a top priority for event teams, and this again links to concerns, particularly around budget. The survey shows that around 40% of respondents consider cost to be a major barrier, followed by limited resources (23%) and knowledge gaps (15%).
Anita Howard, CEO and Founder of ICE says: “For modern internal event organizers it’s all about expectations and budget. They are being asked to do more with less, and to justify what they are doing, while still meeting a huge increase in demand. The report is difficult to read, but they are well supported by the industry. Technology plays a role; we have support for sustainability, and we can help solve the knowledge gaps surrounding freelancers. If this part of the market does well, that will be great news for everyone.”
Felicia Asiedu, Marketing Director Europe at Cvent added: “At a time when there is a wide variety of issues impacting the global economy, it is understandable that the confidence of a sector like ours is somewhat shaken by situations where we have no control over. However, the detailed report clearly demonstrates the resilience of the market, the positive outlook of so many individuals and the desire to look for solutions. The doubling of lead times; the enormous diversity of freelance skills; average salaries are rising; events as part of the marketing mix; and event technology is now seen as a partner rather than a tool. All this can be seen as a huge win for a sector that is strongly recovering and sees significant growth opportunities.”
The report is compiled from data from more than 130 corporate event planners in the UK (77%), Europe (11%) and North America (13%).