LONDON – The October 2022 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition reveals that in-person events are a top priority for planners across the UK and Europe as 90% of respondents stated they are currently sourcing in-person events; and 83% reported that they expect to host more in-person events in 2023 when compared to 2019. The report results suggest strong momentum in the return of in-person events, offering a positive outlook for hotels and venues that rely on in-person MICE business to drive revenue.
The report also reveals the critical need for hotels and special event venues to have a robust online presence that offers MICE-specific content such as detailed room layouts and interactive floorplan diagrams to better engage planners at the start of their sourcing process. In fact, access to these features is the most influential factor (44%) when planners are deciding whether to submit a request for proposal (RFP) to a venue (this rises to 56% in France). Other influential factors planners factor in when submitting an RFP include peer reviews and testimonials (40%) and images / videos (40%).
In addition, 40% of planners say event space specifics are their number one consideration when sourcing venues. As planners juggle more complex event programmes that include in-person, virtual, and hybrid events, they are increasingly looking for rapid, direct access to layout options and expect meeting space flexibility. Hotels and venues that can aid planners in envisioning their event with more immersive visuals – without the need for a direct follow-up call or in-person site visit – are likely to attract more MICE business to their properties.
The results of the survey also highlight that planners are prioritising the creation of an event programme that incorporates multiple event formats (in-person, virtual and hybrid). When asked which type of events they plan to host, the strongest interest is for in-person (73%), followed by virtual (62%) and hybrid (33%). These results show that planners recognise the importance of in-person events, while also understanding that virtual and hybrid events are strategic options that can drive larger audiences and enhance their overall event strategy. The interest in virtual and hybrid event options are also a reflection of current macro-economic trends and economic uncertainty.
Despite the hybrid event format lagging behind in-person and virtual, more than a third of planners (36%) still expect venues to offer event space designed for live video streaming – their top required feature when sourcing a venue. This highlights the need for venues to demonstrate their ability to deliver the technology and onsite expertise to support multiple formats.
“In this new digital-first meetings landscape, busy planners want to understand their venue and event space options quickly, so it’s vital that a hotel’s digital assets are easily accessible. In addition, planners are faced with more discerning delegates, so hotels that can successfully illustrate a premium onsite experience through their online presence will have a competitive edge,” said Graham Pope, Vice President of International Sales, Cvent Europe. He added: “As planners navigate macro-economic factors and other challenges, it’s important that venues are flexible and demonstrate they understand the complexities in the market and are willing to work with planners to overcome them. Hospitality professionals that can successfully meet the needs of today’s planners will be well prepared to attract and win MICE business in the months and years ahead.”
Other highlights of the report include:
Growing Budgets vs. Rising Costs
- Planners reveal their budgets have grown, with 65% stating their budgets are bigger for in-person and hybrid events than they were in 2019. Regionally, Italy has the highest percentage of planners with increased budgets (82%), followed by Spain (78%), the UK (73%), France (66%), Germany (57%) and the Netherlands (48%).
- According to the respondents, spending will increase across a range of factors, including venue (86%), on-site technology (80%) catering (77%), and travel (73%).
- However, 85% of planners expect events to be more expensive in 2023 compared to 2019, reducing some of the overall budget growth impact. The expectation of rising costs presents an opportunity for venues to demonstrate added value for the onsite experience.
Special Event Venues Catch the Eye of Planners
- 78% of respondents are interested in hosting events at special event venues (including conference centres, business centres, art galleries, academic and historic venues), an increase of 18% since the release of the Q1 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition. Regionally, the figure increases to 80% in both Italy and Spain.
Health and Safety Precautions Still Top of Mind
- On-site health and safety precautions are still important with 38% of planners saying they wouldn’t book a venue if its health and safety precautions were deemed inadequate. This response rate increased 8% when compared to the Q1 Cvent report.
- Duty of Care also remains a top concern with 37% stating that pandemic-related health and safety offerings, including vaccination checks and COVID-19 testing, are their biggest sourcing challenge.
About the Study
Cvent, a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, commissioned independent research company, Censuswide, to survey over 500 event planners, managers, coordinators and directors across the UK and Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) from a broad range of industries in August 2022. Of the 500+ companies surveyed, the minimum turnover is £100,000 a year, and the majority have turnover from £1 million – £100 million. The report offers hotels and venues deep insights into the sourcing priorities and plans of event professionals across the UK and Europe, helping to identify the opportunities and services they can adopt to attract more planners and MICE business to their properties and destinations.
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