• June 25, 2024

Top challenges & trends impacting event planners and DMCs

Top challenges & trends impacting event planners and DMCs

Top challenges & trends impacting event planners and DMCs 1024 683 micebook.

Pricing and budgets remain the biggest challenges for both buyers and DMCs, according to insights shared by Catherine Chaulet, president & CEO of Global DMC Partners at its recent annual Connection event in Punta de Mita, Mexico.

In her keynote session Decoding 2024 Global Business and Travel Trends: Insights for Savvy Planners, Chaulet shared how 79% of event planners are reporting average cost increases of 30% (with airfares, accommodations, staffing, F&B, transportation and A/V costs all higher), but budgets are generally only 5-10% higher resulting in a big disconnect.

“It creates huge pressure for meeting planners to be creative, to manage programmes differently and to have to deal with a lot of constraints, and more importantly to spend so much time in front of C-level executives to justify why certain programmes cannot happen,” she said, adding that being armed with this data to share with C-Levels and clients can help manage expectations and justify budgets.

According to GDP’s research, the top challenges ranked by planners are:

  3. Finding availability
  4. Timely approval from decision-makers
  5. Contract negotiations
  6. Responsiveness
  7. Service levels/quality
  8. Airline travel/schedules
  9. Meeting participation/attendance
  10. Vendor/supplier relationship

“At the same time, you also have elevated attendee expectations to deal with. Every event you deliver, the next one must be even more unique and creative, and how can you do that especially with a limited budget? You also need to incorporate sustainability, which is often more expensive, so how do you do that again, with limited resources. The reality is that a lot of our planners do not have the right resource in terms of staffing either,” she explains.

“It’s important to remember that while all these challenges are true to planners, they are also true to DMCs,” Chaulet added.

The top challenges ranked by the group’s DMCs are:

  3. Meeting clients’ deadlines
  4. Communication/responsiveness
  5. Venue availability
  6. Finding & retaining qualified staff
  7. Non-venue vendor availability
  8. Overstretched back-office management
  9. Receiving payments from clients
  10. Staff & Vendor training

With so much of the budget being taken up by airfares, accommodation and AV, Chaulet said that what is left for the DMCs to be creative is a lot less, especially with increasingly short lead times.

The trends session provided thought-provoking conversation starters for the learning hubs, breakout sessions and other discussions that took place throughout the conference.

For example, attendees took part in roundtable to exchange ideas and solutions for working with tighter budgets. These included giving more free time in itineraries, to reducing gifts and room drops, cutting back on expensive AV, better portion control for F&B to reduce both cost and waste, using local suppliers, and choosing locations closer to where most attendees are based to reduce flight costs.


Forty-five percent of attendees reported during a live poll that they struggle with incorporating sustainability into programs and forty percent indicated that they find sustainability overwhelming.

A panel session dedicated to CSR and Sustainability in events gave attendees practical strategies and inspiration on how to incorporate sustainability and give back initiatives more systematically into their global programs.

Technology & AI

The event sector is experiencing a significant boost in AI applications, projected to grow to $1.8 billion by 2024, according to Allied Market Research, enhancing everything from content creation to participant engagement and data analysis.

A live poll at Connection revealed that Chatbots are the most popular A.I. tool with 42 percent of attendees reporting usage.

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