After the summer break, the global events industry is back in full steam to organise a number of events before the Christmas break is upon the world. And the event planners are already busy finalising their participation in events next year and an overwhelming number are looking at attending in-person meetings in 2023.
This is one of the key findings of the October 2022 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition which reveals that in-person events are a top priority for planners across the United Kingdom and Europe. As many as 90 pc of respondents say they are currently sourcing in-person events.
Another key finding of the Cvent report is that by next year, over 4 in 5 event planners expect the business of in-person meetings to get better than even the pre-pandemic levels. The report says that 83 pc of the planners expect to host more in-person events in 2023 when compared to 2019, suggesting 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.
Cvent is a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, that commissioned independent research company, Censuswide, to survey over 500 event planners, managers, coordinators and directors across the UK and Europe from a broad range of industries in August 2022. 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.
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 pc) when planners are deciding whether to submit a request for proposal (RFP) to a venue (this rises to 56 pc in France). Other influential factors that planners factor in when submitting an RFP include peer reviews and testimonials (40 pc) and images and videos (40 pc).
In addition, 40 pc 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, of 73 pc planners, is for in-person, while 62 pc planners say they plan to host virtual events and 33 pc go for the hybrid event model.
The Cvent report says that 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, or 36 pc, 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 is 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,” says Graham Pope, Vice President of International Sales, Cvent Europe.
“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,” Pope adds.