The Cvent 2023 Planner Sourcing Report paints a picture of surging events — and planner optimism — despite shorter time frames and rising cost concerns that have planners and suppliers both struggling to do more with less.
Post-pandemic, the meetings and events industry is experiencing a rapid acceleration in business, even while pent-up demand from cancelled and postponed events are still trying to squeeze all that volume into shorter time frames. And, of course, to do it all with less budget, fewer resources, smaller staffs and crazy-short lead times. But despites the drawbacks, Cvent’s 2023 Planner Sourcing Report found that event professionals are more optimistic than ever — 91% said they feel optimistic about the state of the industry these days.
And for good reason: More than 70% of planners surveyed said they expect to hold more events this year compared to 2022. To make this happen, 42% said they are spending more time researching than last year, and 35% use more of their working hours to review RFP responses.
“After a few incredibly challenging years, it is exciting to see that optimism is strong in the events industry, and the continued focus on in-person experiences bodes extremely well for hoteliers, destinations and special event venues,” said Patrick Smith, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Cvent.
Tech Ticks Up
How is all this possible? Thank technology, at least in part. More than a third (38%) of respondents to the Cvent 2023 Planner Sourcing Report said they time they spend using technology to source meetings has increased since last year. A whopping 85% said they are more likely to choose a venue for smaller, less complex meetings if they offer online booking — up from just over half who said the same in 2022.
This is important because smaller meetings also appear to be on the rise, with about a quarter of planners saying they plan to significantly increase training programs, board and shareholder meetings. Almost a third, 63%, said they are using technology to source as much or more business than they did last year, perhaps because corporate travel also is becoming a bigger part of their responsibilities —64% said they are also involved in corporate business travel, and 45% say that corporate business travel takes more than 50% of their time.
Relationships Still Matter — a Lot
It’s often said that this is a business that lives and dies on relationships, and the Cvent data bears this out. While rates, dates, venue location and ease of access were still at the top of the list, a third of planners said that their event planning next year will be shaped by their relationships with their supplier partners. In fact, 49% said they would be willing to increase their budget up to 20% to work with a preferred hotel or other venue. A third said that rebuilding relationships will be a key factor for 2024, and 23% said that if the staff member they have a relationship leaves, that would be a deal-killer for them when it comes to returning to that venue.
Download the full report here.