September 10, 2020
By Kelli Kopec

As North America and the rest of the world loosen restrictions on gatherings, travel, and meetings, we know there is value in reporting on meeting & event data so we can all understand how event planners are adapting, evolving, and planning for the future of in-person events. We’ve even created a survey with real-time results to help event planners and hospitality professionals see how their peers feel about the future of our industry.

The first place to start planning is by finding the right venue for your event. Venue sourcing is more important than ever for in-person and hybrid events because of the additional requirements that a space needs to ensure attendee safety. You want to make sure you’re finding the right space that can keep your attendees safe. You can use Cvent’s Source Safely Resource Hub to get the health and safety data from venues and destinations worldwide.

Because of Cvent’s unique industry position, we’re able to report on planner RFP data and show you what trends we’re seeing through our venue sourcing solution, Cvent Supplier Network. This trend data will help you plan for your future in-person event programs.

Key September Findings

RFP Volume

Overall, in Q2 2020 there was approximately $2 Billion in RFP value sourced through the Cvent Supplier Network. We’ll be able to report on total Q3 2020 volume next month’s report. We’re seeing late August and early September RFP volume starting to trend up from July. The number of unique planner organizations sourcing is also trending up from July. Even though there are fewer RFPs being sent year-over-year, conversion is currently about the same rate it was in 2019. In the United States, most markets are relatively flat to June but there have been spikes in some of the Northeast markets, for example, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Long Island, and Washington D.C. In August, volume to Asia and MEA more than doubled when compared to July.

Event Timing

Planners are continuing to source for the near term, with around 30% of all RFPs sourced in August for events happening in September. In August, 59% of all RFPs were sent for events happening in 2020, this represents more RFPs being sent in the year for the year than normal. We also are seeing 12% of all August volume being sent for events happening in Q1 2021, leaving the remaining 29% of RFPs to be for events Q2 2021 and beyond.

Size & Type of Events

In August, small event RFPs under 10 rooms represented 44% of RFP volume, this is a much higher percentage of small RFPs when comparing to pre-March 15th. 84% of RFPs in August represented meetings under 50 room nights. Booking windows however are trending similarly to what we saw pre-March 15th. We’ve seen smaller meetings with very short booking windows and larger meetings with longer than average booking windows, overall the window is averaging out around the five and half month mark at 166 days.

This month we’re seeing social and leisure groups with the largest increase in RFP share, with the Education sector also showing an increase. Corporate continues to be the largest segment, making up the largest part of the RFP mix by segment.

Hotel Rates

Cvent is continuing to see lower than normal rates across all hotels. The meetings that are being awarded in 2020 represent the lowest rates, when compared to last year they are down about 30%. But, when you look to 2022 and beyond, rates are about normal. Lower scale hotel chains are doing the heaviest discounting, below you can see how Economy to Upscale hotel rates compare to 2019 by arrival date: 

  • Down 34% for September- December 2020
  • Down 19% for Q1 2021
  • Down 10% for all of 2021
  • Down 6% for 2022+

Takeaways

In August, we continued to see steady RFP volume, with a slight increase towards the end of July into early September,  Planners are continuing to search for and award group business for the last few months of 2020. 84% of the RFPs being sent in August for 2020 are for small meetings with less than 50 room nights. Planners can continue to capitalize on lower than normal rates, especially from lower hotel brand scales for events happening in 2020.

Key August Findings

RFP Volume

Overall, in Q2 2020 there was approximately $2 Billion in RFP value sourced through the Cvent Supplier Network. We’re seeing June and July more positive than May but generally remaining flat. Even though there are less RFPs being sent year-over-year, conversion is currently about the same rate it was in 2019. Growth in the Americas lags compared to the rest of the globe, for example Asia is up 197% month-over-month in 2020.

Event Timing

Short-term demand is making up more of the mix than normal. There is a much higher percentage of RFPs being sourced in June and July to take place in June through September. We see 40% of all RFPs being awarded in early August for summer 2020 meetings. For fall, we’re seeing RFP volume dwindle and is a much smaller part of the mix than is typical when comparing year-over-year. When looking to 2021 and beyond, event planners are confidently sending RFPs, and we are seeing a larger percentage of the mix looking to next year when comparing year-over-year.

Size & Type of Events

We’re seeing a massive shift towards smaller events being sourced and awarded. Small event RFPs represented 40% of all RFPs since July. In this case, 90% of these small event RFPs are less than 50 rooms on peak. Most of these smaller meetings are happening in the summer and are skewed towards meeting space-only meetings.

What industries are sourcing and awarding events the most? We’re seeing Government and Military organizations make up more of the mix than normal, but Corporate is still the largest segment.

Hotel Rates

For planners who are sourcing or planning on sourcing soon, you’re probably wondering if you can get better-than-normal rates from your venue suppliers. Overall, proposed rates are down. Both proposed and awarded rates are 11% below average when looking year-over-year. There are noticeable differences when looking at arrival dates however, rates are down across the board:

  • 30% for Summer 2020
  • 23% for September- December 2020
  • 10% for Q1 2021
  • 3% for all of 2021
  • 4% for 2021

Takeaways

While we didn’t see a spike in RFPs in July, the volume remained steady from June. We saw new emerging trends, like planners requesting and awarding business in summer for small meetings taking place during the summer months. Small meetings are making up the majority of the RFP mix for summer, with 90% less than 50 rooms. Planners seem most confident with 2021 and beyond, with more RFPs than typical being sent with a 9-12+ booking window. Planners can capitalize on lower than normal rates by sending and awarding RFPs, especially for events happening in 2020.

Kelli Kopec

Kelli Kopec

Kelli Kopec joined Cvent in 2019 as a Product Marketer dedicated to marketing solutions that connect Event Professionals and Travel Managers to hotels and venues.

Kelli most recently spent 8+ years working for a hotel management company, managing both group and leisure business for several international hotel brands. She has vast experience in B2C and B2B marketing, launching new brands and products, and planning large scale in-person events...and certainly understands the value technology can bring!

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