Photo Credit: Cvent

The report offers actionable insights for hotels and special event venue teams to best capitalise on this increased spending, whilst helping them to attract more MICE business in 2024.

Cvent, a market-leading meetings, events and hospitality technology provider, has published the latest instalment of the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition October 2023. The report provides the business events industry, including event organisers, hoteliers, venue operators and destination management organisations, with deep insights into planner trends as well as advice on how to meet evolving industry demands and overcome ongoing market fluctuations.

The report reveals that over half (67%) of planners across Europe have had bigger budgets for their in-person and hybrid events in 2023 compared to 2022. Additionally, more than one in five (22%) expect event budgets to be at least 20% higher in 2024.

Despite these budget increases, inflation remains the top concern for 38% of planners, and a significant majority (77%) anticipate that the cost of holding an event of the same size and complexity will increase by up to a fifth in 2024, compared to 2023. This concern is highest in Germany, where 84% think that event costs will rise by up to 20% in the next 12 months. To address these concerns, most planners (85%) have built contingencies into their 2024 budgets.

Graham Pope

Cvent Vice President of International Sales

“The findings in this latest report, particularly the rise in budgets, clearly demonstrate continued resilience in the market and a desire to forge ahead with in-person event plans despite external macro-economic factors,” said Graham Pope, Cvent Vice President of International Sales. “Events are critical to organisational success, and venues that can provide planners with the necessary digital tools and online resources they require, such as interactive floor plans and 3D virtual tours, are best poised to attract these events in the coming year and beyond.”

He added, “In addition, adopting these types of technology tools will improve operational efficiency and help offset many of the challenges hoteliers and venue operators are facing with leaner and perhaps less experienced teams. Ultimately, success for hotels and venues lies in their ability to understand planner priorities and identify areas where technology can supplement and enhance these relationships.”

Photo Credit: Cvent

Other highlights of the report include:

Ample Event Opportunities Still Available in 2023 and Strong Start Expected in 2024
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of planners are still actively sourcing for in-person events in 2023. At a sector-specific level, 92% of ‘arts and culture’ organisations are still looking to hold events before the end of the year. This is closely followed by ‘IT & telecoms,’ ‘retail/catering,’ and ‘travel & transport’ (all 88%). More than half (64%) of planners are currently sourcing for in-person events in 2024, with 43% aiming to hold them in the first half of the year.

Staffing Shortages Impact Sourcing and Request for Proposal (RFP) Processes
Venue and hotel staffing shortages continue to impact the sourcing process. 30% of respondents highlighted slow RFP response times, new or inexperienced hotel staff, and fewer available amenities. Poor attendee experiences (25%), a shortage of hotel rooms (24%) and loss of supplier/vendor relationships (20%) are also cited as top planner challenges. On a positive note, planners believe there are several ways that venue teams can help them streamline their sourcing decisions. These include flexibility on terms (32%), customised proposals (31%) and more transparent RFP processes (28%).

Online Visualisation and Organisation Tools Are Critical
70% of planners always, or often, use online venue 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 visualisation. Top preferences include:

– Online event diagrams (65%)
– Online guest room/room block management (63%)
– Immersive 3D virtual tours (54%)

Sustainability Matters
32% of event planners across Europe (increasing to 40% in the UK) want sustainability information as part of the sourcing process. This includes:

– Energy consumption (45%)
– Food provenance (35%)
– Carbon-neutrality (34%)
– Water consumption and waste/recycling policy (33%)
– Accreditation/certification (28%)

Destination Preferences Shift, Domestic Events Still a Top Preference
Event location choices are shifting to new areas across the European continent. Eastern Europe is gaining popularity, with over a quarter (26%) currently considering it. Western Europe remains the most popular choice though, attracting 66% of planners. Looking to other parts of Europe and the world, 19% of planners opt for Northern Europe or Scandinavian destinations, whilst 42% currently source in North or Latin America, APAC or the Middle East/Africa. However, only 10% are considering the United States. Alongside these figures, it is worth noting that more than six in ten (61%) planners aim to host over half of their in-person events domestically.

Special/Unique Event Venues
Although traditional hotels and venues are still in high demand, with 43% considering conference centres and hotels and 42% sourcing exhibition/trade show venues, there is an increasing desire for creative and unique spaces. Nearly half (48%) of planners are seeking unique venues such as cinemas, bars, golf courses and more. This trend is especially notable in the Netherlands (57%) and the UK (55%). This is opening a wealth of new revenue opportunities for those venues on the periphery of the business events market.

Download the latest Cvent report here

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