More than one in five (22%) event planners across Europe expect budgets to be at least 20% higher in 2024, according to the latest research from Cvent.
Launched at Cvent Connect Europe last week, the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition October 2023 reveals that over half (67%) of planners across Europe have had bigger budgets for their in-person and hybrid events in 2023 compared to 2022.
Despite these budget increases, inflation remains the top concern for 38% of planners, and a significant majority (77%) anticipate that the cost of holding an event of the same size and complexity will increase by up to a fifth in 2024, compared to 2023. To address these concerns, most planners (85%) have built contingencies into their 2024 budgets.
More than half (64%) of planners said they are currently sourcing for in-person events in 2024, with 43% aiming to hold them in the first half of the year. 70% of planners always, or often, use online venue sourcing tools as a core part of their planning strategy.
Planners also expect that venues offer additional digital tools that streamline collaboration and enable better online event visualisation. Top preferences include online event diagrams (65%), online guest room/room block management (63%), and immersive 3D virtual tours (54%).
Venue and hotel staffing shortages continue to impact the sourcing process – 30% of respondents highlighted slow RFP response times, new or inexperienced hotel staff, and fewer available amenities.
Poor attendee experiences (25%), a shortage of hotel rooms (24%) and loss of supplier/vendor relationships (20%) are also cited as top planner challenges.
On a positive note, planners believe there are several ways that venue teams can help them streamline their sourcing decisions. These include flexibility on terms (32%), customised proposals (31%) and more transparent RFP processes (28%).
Event location choices are shifting to new areas across the European continent. Eastern Europe is gaining popularity, with over a quarter (26%) currently considering it. Western Europe remains the most popular choice though, attracting 66% of planners.
Looking to other parts of Europe and the world, 19% of planners opt for Northern Europe or Scandinavian destinations, whilst 42% currently source in North or Latin America, APAC or the Middle East/Africa. However, only 10% are considering the United States.
It is worth noting that more than six in ten (61%) planners aim to host over half of their in-person events domestically.
Almost a third (32%) of event planners across Europe (increasing to 40% in the UK) want sustainability information as part of the sourcing process. This includes:
Energy consumption (45%)
Food provenance (35%)
Water consumption and waste/recycling policy (33%)
Cvent commissioned independent research company, Censuswide, to survey European event planners across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted in September 2023, and the results are based on the responses of over 600 planners.