by Andrew Sheivachman
It’s well-known that business travel has surged in recent years. One byproduct has been larger meetings and more complexity for event planners.
Planners became responsible for handling an increased number of meetings in 2017, according to new research from Cvent. The event technology company surveyed 2,668 global event planners last fall on their habits and challenges.
Over the last year, the number of planners holding six to 10 events offsite has increased from 15 percent to 28 percent. Two-in-three polled rely on an external agency, whether a destination management company or third-party planning group, for assistance.
Planners are handling more events, and need more powerful digital tools to streamline the more time-intensive aspects of the process like event sourcing.
Planners are slowly switching to mobile interfaces for venue shopping, according to the data. Mobile use doubled year-over-year, while tablet use tripled. Better user interfaces and more useful digital tools are starting to make a tangible impact on the workflow of event professionals.
“This year’s results show that businesses worldwide are now bringing people together more often and on a much larger scale — 59 percent report an increase in the number of attendees, while only 12 percent report a decrease,” states the report.
Fortunately, event budgets are increasing in line with their size. In 2018, 52 percent of those polled said their budget had increased, while just 32 percent had an increased budget in 2017. This doesn’t mean that planners aren’t hunting for ways to save money, though. Nine-in-ten planners would hold an event at their second choice of potential venues for just a 1 percent cost savings.
There are some other interesting shifts happening in the rationale behind selecting a particular venue. Location, customer service, and the unique atmosphere of a property have become more important among selection criteria, while availability has slipped.
In terms of the event experience itself, more planners are experimenting with personalized experiences via attendee tracking, virtual and augmented reality, and mobile apps. Fewer are using a screen for the display of social media comments
“Unlike millennials, who have grown up using technology, Generation X has had to adapt to the digital age, particularly in the last several years as use of mobile devices has increased exponentially,” finds the report. “Considering that and the better user experience on websites, it’s not surprising that the majority of respondents (79 percent) still prefer to use a computer to source meeting and event venues.”
Meetings are also getting bigger, as well. A full 80 percent of meetings held had 21 to 500 attendees, compared to 74 percent in 2016. All the evidence points to an increase in the size and scope of corporate events on a worldwide basis.
Read the full report here.