The latest Cvent Europe Planner Sourcing Report reveals 83% of planners across the UK and Europe are preparing to host more live events than they did pre-pandemic.

Live events are a top priority for planners across the UK and Europe according to the October 2022 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report. In the research, 90% of respondents said they are currently sourcing live events and 83% reported they expect to host more live events in 2023 compared to 2019. It suggests strong momentum in the return of such gatherings, offering a positive outlook for hotels and venues that rely on in-person MICE business to drive revenue.

The report also highlighted a critical need for hotels and special event venues to have a robust online presence. Content should include MICE-specific content such as detailed room layouts and interactive floor plan 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.

Graham Pope, vice president of international sales at Cvent Europe, comments: “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.”

Other influential factors planners factor in when submitting an RFP include peer reviews and testimonials (40%) plus images and videos (40%).

In addition, 40% of planners say space specifics are their number one consideration when sourcing venues for live events. With planners now juggling 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.

Live events Gothenburg Sweden
Credit: Jakob Dalbjörn / Unsplash

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 live 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. 

Pope 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.”

For the study, Cvent commissioned independent research company Censuswide to survey over 500 event planners, managers, coordinators and directors across the UK and Europe – including 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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