Conference Planners Working With Bigger Budgets, More Events, Says Survey

The fifth annual Cvent Planner Sourcing Report provides insight into planner practices.

Cvent Planner Sourcing Report Budgets Grow

Meeting professionals are working with higher budgets and planning an increasing number of events, according to the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report. The newly released research sums up the results of Cvent's survey of 2,650 planners in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South Africa. Planners were queried about event budgets and spending, as well as venue selection and sourcing difficulties, among other aspects of their jobs.

More than half of respondents said their event budgets are bigger this year, particularly with respect to revenue-generating events. The added investment is in line with the increased attention that marketing and sales executives are paying to events and related data, the report points out.

Cvent's fifth annual survey of planners also found that respondents were planning more events than ever before. Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) said they were organizing more than 11 off-site meetings each year, while 37 percent said they were organizing more than 50. More than half the respondents said overall attendance has increased.

Not surprisingly, planners intend to spend more on all related event costs. The majority of respondents (55 percent) expect an increase in food-and-beverage budgets, while 52 percent foresee higher venue budgets. Some 56 percent of planners incorporate live music and entertainment, and 35 percent plan pop-up events and surprises.

More than 4 in 10 respondents said activities available outside the venue were an important influence on their sourcing decisions -- a notable increase over the 21 percent who said as much in the 2018 survey.

Sourcing Insight
The two most common factors in selecting event venues were cost (45 percent) and event space/layout (45 percent), according to the survey. Those were just ahead of location and dates, each of which was cited by 42 percent of respondents.

Half of the respondents noted that the venue's brand and reputation were key considerations before sending a request for proposal, and more than 40 percent said they were influenced by positive reviews of the properties in question.

Once they've ranked their options, planners will switch only if it's worth their while: Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they would expect a cost savings of at least 6 percent before considering a switch to their second-choice venue.

As for turnoffs, 44 percent of respondents cited communication problems as the reason for choosing not to submit an RFP. Nearly one-third (32 percent) want better attention to detail in the RFP responses they receive. Trustworthiness, which 30 percent of last year's respondents cited as a primary area requiring improvement, is less of a problem now -- just 16 percent of planners called it a primary issue in this year's survey.

Cvent intends to analyze the results more deeply by region in the coming weeks, with reports specific to Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the United Kingdom, respectively.