Cvent, a leading provider of meeting, event and hospitality technology, has published the latest installment of the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: European Edition October 2023. The report provides the corporate events industry, including event organizers, hoteliers, venue operators and destination management organizations, with deep insights into planner trends and advice on how to meet the industry’s changing demands and overcome persistent market fluctuations.
The report shows that more than half (67%) of planners across Europe will have had larger budgets for their in-person and hybrid events in 2023 than in 2022. Furthermore, more than one in five (22%) expect budgets to for events will be at least as high as in 2023. 20% higher in 2024.
Despite these budget increases, inflation remains the top concern for 38% of planners, with a significant majority (77%) expecting the cost of organizing an event of the same size and complexity to rise by up to a fifth in 2024, compared to 2023 This concern is greatest in Germany, where 84% think event costs will increase by up to 20% over the next 12 months. To address these concerns, most planners (85%) have built contingencies into their 2024 budgets.
Other highlights from the report include:
There are still plenty of event opportunities available in 2023 and a strong start is expected in 2024
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of planners are still actively looking for in-person events in 2023. At a sector-specific level, 92% of ‘arts and culture’ organizations still want to organize events before the end of the year. Closely followed by ‘IT & telecom’, ‘retail/catering’ and ‘travel & transport’ (all 88%).
- More than half (64%) of planners are currently looking to host in-person events in 2024, while 43% aim to host them in the first half of the year.
Staff shortages impact sourcing and request for proposal (RFP) processes
- The staff shortage in locations and hotels continues to influence the purchasing process. 30% of respondents highlighted slow response times to RFPs, new or inexperienced hotel staff, and fewer available amenities. Poor visitor experiences (25%), a shortage of hotel rooms (24%) and the loss of supplier relationships (20%) are also cited as challenges facing top planners.
- On the plus side, planners believe that location teams can help them streamline their purchasing decisions in several ways. These include flexibility on terms (32%), tailor-made proposals (31%) and more transparent RFP processes (28%).
Online visualization and organization tools are critical
- 70% of planners always or often use online location sourcing tools as a core part of their planning strategy.
- Planners also expect venues to offer additional digital tools that streamline collaboration and enable better online event visualization. Key preferences include:
- Online event diagrams (65%)
- Online management of guest rooms/room blocks (63%)
- Immersive 3D Virtual Tours (54%)
Sustainability is important
- 32% of event planners across Europe (rising to 40% in the UK) want sustainability information as part of the procurement process. This includes:
- Water consumption and waste/recycling policy (33%)
- Accreditation/certification (28%)
Destination preferences are changing, domestic events are still a top preference
- The choice of event locations is shifting to new areas on the European continent. Eastern Europe is gaining popularity and over a quarter (26%) are currently considering this. However, Western Europe remains the most popular choice, attracting 66% of planners.
- Looking at other parts of Europe and the world, 19% of planners choose destinations in Northern Europe or Scandinavia, while 42% currently shop in North or Latin America, APAC or the Middle East/Africa. However, only 10% are considering the United States.
- In addition to these figures, it’s worth noting that more than six in ten (61%) planners aim to host more than half of their in-person events domestically.
Special/unique event locations
- While traditional hotels and venues are still in high demand, with 43% considering conference centers and hotels and 42% looking for venues for exhibitions/trade shows, there is an increasing need for creative and unique spaces. Nearly half (48%) of planners are looking for unique locations such as movie theaters, bars, golf courses and more. This trend is particularly striking in the Netherlands (57%) and Great Britain (55%). This opens up a wealth of new revenue opportunities for venues on the fringes of the corporate events market.
“The findings in this latest report, particularly the increase in budgets, clearly demonstrate the continued resilience in the market and the desire to move forward with in-person event plans despite external macroeconomic factors,” said Graham Pope, Cvent Vice President of International Sales. “Events are critical to organizational success, and venues that can provide planners with the necessary digital tools and online resources they need, such as interactive maps and 3D virtual tours, will be best prepared to host these events in the upcoming years and beyond.”
He added: “Additionally, using these types of technology tools will improve operational efficiency and help offset many of the challenges that hoteliers and venue operators face with leaner and perhaps less experienced teams. Ultimately, the success of hotels and venues lies in their ability to understand planners’ priorities and identify areas where technology can complement and enhance these relationships.”
Cvent commissioned independent research firm Censuswide to survey European event planners in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted in September 2023 and the results are based on responses from more than 600 planners. To view the full report, click here.