Ask the experts: What event profs really want to know

Planners share their pressing issues in 2022 and beyond, highlighting the current manpower crunch and demand for sustainability.

Cvent recently hosted a webinar inviting planners to air their concerns and opinions.
Cvent recently hosted a webinar inviting planners to air their concerns and opinions. Photo Credit: Adobe/chokniti

Making sustainability budget friendly, working proactively with hotels and venues and coping with rising costs are just some of the issues discussed in a recent webinar hosted by events software specialist Cvent.

Moderated by Julie Haddix, senior director, solutions marketing at Cvent, it also featured input from Julia Gould, team lead, solutions consultants and Kris Justice, senior manager, enterprise customer success.

Don’t leave things to the last minute

Participants acknowledged that the costs associated with events have increased, due to a combination of inflation and demand. Gould cautioned planners to think ahead. “Some hotels I'm aware of in Europe, for example, are already booked up for the whole year, and that obviously drives prices up. Plan ahead, don't have a 30-day booking window, you're going to save a lot by doing that.”

Can sustainability be budget friendly?

Justice said that one of the elements to bear in mind is that the majority of an event’s carbon footprint is generated by travel. She suggested thinking through your entire programme and how the different pieces fit together.

“You can become more selective about how you put on your events and whether some of them could be virtual,” she said. “Look at your meetings as a whole and how they all contribute to your carbon footprint.”

Justice added that some companies are doing meat-free events, while others are opting for venues near major transport hubs, so they can be easily reached by bike or by walking.

“If you don’t have the budget to do recyclable or biodegradable lanyards, look at alternatives [that involve changing behaviour],” she said.

Going digital can help counter rising costs and staffing shortages

Justice suggested that planners need to look at all the processes they are using and assess which ones are still largely manual and try to make those more efficient.

“In combination with that, you can't really avoid professional development - you can’t just expect people to use technology to become more efficient,” she said.

“You really do have to invest in professional development with people in order to allow them to optimise what they're doing and that takes time. This can lead to real benefits in the long-term, putting tools in place that will help your business achieve more with less.”

Apply seasonality to the timing of events

Cvent’s Haddix highlighted how the business hosts its annual user conference in Las Vegas in July, enabling it to use a popular destination during an off-season period.

“It’s a time that works well for us and our budget and enables us to get slightly better rates,” she said. “Planners [next year] will be really thinking about how to control costs while delivering programmes to the same level as previously.”

Treat hotels and venues as a partner rather than a cost control
Instead of talking to hotels or venues about budgets, let them know what you want the event to achieve, for example showcasing a product, helping to grow the business or networking.

“Essentially, tell them what your meeting goal is,” said Gould. “Be as transparent as possible, tell them what you want from the event and ask how flexible they are prepared to be [to help you meet those goals].”

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