May 07, 2024
By Victoria Akinsowon

It’s no secret: rising costs and inflation are key challenges facing event teams globally. But the good news is that event planners and hoteliers are finding creative ways to combat these challenges. 

At our recent seminar in London, event teams, hoteliers and agencies told us how they’re being impacted by continued economic uncertainty and the strategies they’re implementing to navigate it. 

Read on to learn tips on finding suitable venues, attracting new talent, and more.

1. Rising venue costs

Planners tell us that soaring venue costs make finding affordable venues in major cities like London difficult. 

It’s no surprise. While budgets may be up for many, this increase isn’t necessarily in line with inflation. For example, the 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from Amex GBT reveals that 67% of planners predict an increase in meeting spend in 2024 – but of those,  only 13% predict an increase of more than 10%. 

With inflation still a factor and venues still feeling the consequences of high energy prices, many remain reluctant to commit to prices far in advance. As a result, event teams face difficulties when it comes to estimating their venue costs.  

The good news is that event planners are finding creative solutions to continued economic uncertainty — such as moving their meetings and events to alternative, less expensive locations.  

Tip: Finding the right venue for an event is challenging, particularly when you have to sort through copious Google search results. 

Instead, use a dedicated venue sourcing platform, like the Cvent Supplier Network, to simplify the process. It lets you filter your searches by location, total meeting space, safety information, outdoor meeting space, bedrooms, venue type, and more. You can request quotes and make direct comparisons between venues in and outside of major cities. 

💡Read more: 8 Ways to Level Up Your Venue Sourcing Strategy

2. Businesses must find new ways to attract talent

Staff shortages are affecting event teams and venues alike — and it's a global issue. 

According to the Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry PULSE Survey (March 2024), 41% of EMEA planners cited staff shortages at hotels and venues as a key obstacle to business. 

It impacts everything from how long it takes to receive an RFP response to how planners and venues collaborate and negotiate. 

So, what can be done?

Our attendees noted that more needs to happen to make the industry more attractive as a career choice. One person commented: “Staff shortages are mainly in entry-level roles which are already less well paid. These days, people have more choice and they’re choosing to work where they can get paid more.” 

Another said: “As an industry, we need to take accountability. We need to be flexible to attract new talent.” 

💡Hear more about the future of careers in the events industry in our Cvent CONNECT Europe session:

Tip: Candidates today aren’t only seeking higher salaries – they want greater flexibility, a good company culture and the potential for career growth. 

For example, according to the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey, produced by You Search & Select, over 55% of event professionals express a desire for a four-day week, while 85% say they wouldn’t consider an employer that didn’t offer hybrid or remote working.

As an organisation, there's a lot you can do to attract talent, including evaluating the benefits you can offer employees, such as flexible working, job growth plans and development opportunities.  

💡Learn more about what event professionals what from their careers in the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey

3. Preparing for the unexpected is more important than ever

We all know the saying: if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. 

But if the last few years have taught us anything, it's this: there are some things that we simply can't plan for. From extreme weather to mass strikes and travel disruption, event teams always have to navigate a wave of unforeseen events

Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate such events.  

Tip:  Good communication is critical. For venues and agencies, it's better to let your clients know if your business is short of staff so they can find workarounds. In the event of a crisis, you must ensure that clients can get directly through to the right people. 

Other strategies include:

  • Make contingency plans: While external crises are often out of your control, venues and hotels can take the lead in planning. For example, you can coordinate with clients pre-event by putting together risk documents that outline contingency plans if certain events happen. 
  • Consider alternative solutions: Anticipate unexpected events ahead of time by having alternative solutions written into your contracts. For example, you could have a virtual event alternative as a backup in case your in-person event is unexpectedly derailed.  
  • Find compromises where possible:  Sometimes, all you can do is to try and find a middle ground. For example, venues can offer credits if an event has had to be postponed or cancelled. When train strikes were announced ahead of our own Cvent CONNECT Europe conference in 2023, we offered impacted attendees alternative transport options, such as Uber credits. Being flexible not only helps to build good relationships but also increases the likelihood of clients coming back. 

💡Check out our guide on how to plan for the unexpected at your events

4. Event technology can help fill in the gaps

One of the biggest lessons from our seminar was how event technology can mitigate the impact of many of the current challenges facing the industry.  

Just some of the ways you can use event technology include: 

  • Extending your team: Event technology can automate manual processes and free up your team's time to work on more complex and creative tasks. Tasks like registration, badging and check-in can all be done through an event management platform.  
  • Simplifying venue sourcing:  Technology can make venue sourcing easier. For example, the  Cvent Supplier Network  is a tool that lets you source venues for all your meetings and events and send multiple RFPs simultaneously – with 300,000 venues listed globally. 
  • Facilitating communication:  When a crisis hits, you’ll want to make sure that registrants to your events are made aware of any changes. When it comes to keeping your attendees up to date with the latest news, email and social media communications, as well as posting updates on your event website and through notifications on your event app, should be your first points of call. 
  • Increasing operational efficiency: For venues and hotels, event tech can alleviate the pressure of staff shortages by automating responses to the majority of RFPs, speeding up response times. Technology can also help teams work more efficiently by standardising workflows and processes, which allows you to focus on building a great event experience.   
  • Gaining visibility across all of your events: Event tech gives you visibility into all of your events and attendee data so that you can make more informed decisions. You can also use technology to track your budget and spending, so you can measure the financial impact of postponing or cancelling your event.  

Tip: Identifying the gaps in your current team, processes or event strategy will give you greater insight into how and where technology can help fill in the gaps.  

5. Consolidating and centralising technology is now a priority

In recent years, organisations have struggled with ‘tech debt’ – an over-bloated tech stack – as a result of over-investment in multiple tech solutions. 

But now the tide is changing. According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cvent, Scaling Your Event Program for ROI report (February 2024), 76% of planners say it’s important or critical for their organisation to consolidate its event technology platforms. 

Consolidating enables your organisation to drive efficiencies by removing duplicative technology and supporting regional teams with better technology. It also increases transparency and the use of event data by integrating it into the wider marketing ecosystem.

Integrating your event tech with your MarTech stack also helps you to better understand event ROI. It maximises the value of the data being captured and drives alignment with your sales teams. 

Plus, integration means that teams also spend less time searching for, consolidating and merging data — and more time using technology to collaborate with suppliers, understand attendee interests, and accelerate revenue.

Tip: Consolidation and centralisation are not just about cost and resource efficiencies. Increasingly, organisations are adopting a centralised tech stack to help drive growth. When there is a single source of truth for event and attendee insights across your entire event programme, you can avoid the common pitfall of data silos. 

Many ways to navigate the economic uncertainty 

Rising costs, talent shortages and unforeseen events are all key topics for event teams and venues alike.  

While these challenges are unlikely to go away any time soon, it’s heartening to see that event teams and venues remain optimistic and are finding effective ways to work through these issues.  

At the core, successfully navigating economic uncertainty means having a clear meeting and events strategy that is aligned with your overall business goals and objectives. 

Additionally, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your organisation is attractive to potential candidates and, where possible, bridge any gaps with technology.

To learn more about the current trends impacting the events industry, grab yourself a copy of our Top 10 Meeting and Event Industry Trends 2024 eBook.

Victoria Akinsowon

Victoria Akinsowon

Victoria is the Team Lead for Content Marketing in Europe at Cvent. An IDM-qualified marketing professional, she has over five years of experience in developing and implementing content marketing strategies that drive business
growth. In her spare time, you’ll find her learning a new language, travelling, or reading a good book.

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