Expert insights

The truth about what events planners really want

5 September 2017 by Nel Flint

We review the key points from Cvent's global study into what event planners value most and what is at the top of their wishlists.

Events planners are always on the lookout for that ideal meeting or conference venue – but what exactly is top of their wishlists? A recent global study by event management platform Cvent, revealed in its 2017 Global Planner Sourcing Report, found that clear pricing and prompt response rates are among the highest priorities for those booking venues.

What influences events planners most?

More than 1,200 events planners participated in the Cvent research, a quarter of whom were from the UK. It found that 20% of planners worldwide reported that venue cost was the feature that most influences their final decision.

However, budget wasn’t the only important factor in finding the right venue. Location, at 17%, was the second most important consideration. In fact, almost half of organisers already had a certain hotel or venue in mind when they begin planning an event.

The other big considerations for events planners were the availability of preferred dates (the most important factor for 16% of those surveyed), the venue layout (12%) and the customer service on offer (8%).

“Whatever your key requirements, coming up with a clear venue brief at the outset can help events planners keep an eye on their goals,” comments Nel Flint, director of operations at Capita Travel and Events.

Why clear pricing is top of planners’ wishlists

The global study showed that events budgets were on the rise across parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the UK and North America, however, budgets had remained largely the same since 2015.

In the UK, only 21% of bookers had seen their events budget increase, while 49% reported that it was about the same, and 30% has seen their budget decrease over the past two years.

As we have seen, venue cost was the most important factor for many events planners – and 60% of bookers were extremely certain or very certain of their budget from the outset.

So transparent pricing, accurate quotes (with no hidden charges) and a speedy response from venues were all important factors when it came to considering cost and making a final decision.

If you’re on a tight events budget, don’t miss our insider tips on keeping your meeting costs down.

What are the trickiest challenges for events planners?

The most stressful part of the booking process for events planners was the negotiation phase. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed (24%) said they had the most difficulties at this stage of the venue sourcing process.

Other problem areas included researching venues (20%), comparing proposals from venues (18%) and making the final venue decision (17%).

“These are all aspects of the event planners’ journey that our experts at Capita Travel and Events can help with,” says Nel Flint. “We have well-established relationships with thousands of venues, so we can help you find one that’s right for you, whether it’s a dry-hire, blank canvas space, an independent venue or a high-tech, state-of-the-art property.”

From seamless booking to social media

As for what keeps events planners happy (or otherwise) – their three main bugbears were bad experiences during the booking process, poor responsiveness from hotel sales staff, and venue cost.

So it seems old-fashioned ease of booking, fast and helpful customer service, and good value are still the best ways into the events planner’s heart.

In terms of technology trends, perhaps surprisingly, only 3% of events planners cited a poor WiFi connection as the top factor that would prevent them returning to a venue. Yet in the forward-looking US market, plenty of events planners were already employing digital technologies to power memorable delegate experiences.

Interestingly, 42% of US planners were using social media displays at their conferences and events, while more than a quarter (27%) were using mobile event apps as a tool.

Meanwhile networking opportunities and live entertainment still continued to be key strategies for making it memorable. Overall, 48% of US planners were employing attendee messaging and networking, while 46% were using live music and entertainment to build the buzz.

Get some tips in our expert guide on how to engage with your audience online – before, during and after your event.

Positive event experiences pay off

The good news for venues is that when they provide events planners with the meetings and events facilities they are looking for, they tend to be rewarded with all-important recommendations.

In the UK, a word-of-mouth venue recommendation was the biggest single influence on 28% of events planners. The second most influential resource was a venue’s website (cited by 20% of those surveyed) and its search engine rankings online (19%).

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit your details below.