UK and European hospitality industry must focus on safety protocols and technology deployment to capitalise on return to in-person events in 2021

The “Cvent 2020 Planner Sentiment and Sourcing Report: Europe Edition” reveals hotels and venues must be ready for safer meetings and hybrid events to attract MICE business

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Nearly six in ten event planners (58%) across the UK and Europe are struggling to reschedule in-person events in 2021 because of insufficient health and safety protocols at venues, according to Cvent’s 2020 Planner Sentiment and Sourcing Report: Europe Edition published today. According to survey results, planners now expect venues to provide a clean, sanitised environment, offer daily temperature checks during the event, and provide on-site medical personnel. With a majority (52%) of planners expecting their in-person event spend to be higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, these results put a spotlight on the opportunity for MICE business recovery among those hotels that meet high health and safety standards.

Cvent a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, commissioned independent research company, Censuswide, to survey more than 700 event planners, managers, coordinators and directors across France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Respondents work in a broad range of industry sectors including education, finance, healthcare, travel, IT, engineering, catering & leisure, arts & culture, and legal. The survey results offer hospitality professionals deep insight into the changing needs of European event professionals, helping them adapt to these new requirements and adjust their business practices to attract more MICE business.

“As the world plans for recovery, hotels and venues will play a critical role in the successful return to in-person events, and this year’s Planner Sentiment and Sourcing Report will help hospitality professionals throughout Europe maximise the impact of their sales and marketing efforts,” comments Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent Hospitality Cloud. “While it has been a challenging year, the results of this study show planners are looking ahead to a brighter future. As such, it is vital that venues continue to adapt to meet new planner expectations so that they’re well-prepared to thrive in the years ahead.”

Other highlights of the report include:

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Duty of Care is a top planner priority

o Safety was cited as the top requirement for a return to in-person events with more than half (56%) stating that “safe space” health and safety considerations would most influence their selection of a venue. It is essential that venues highlight their health and safety procedures on their website, on online sourcing platforms, and share them with destination marketing organisations (DMOs).

Technology is more important than ever

o More than six in ten (62%) planners said that the COVID-19 pandemic increased their use of technology in their meetings and events programme. Suppliers can leverage technology to increase collaboration between themselves and planners in the event sourcing and planning stages – for example, using event diagramming software to create safe room set-ups and floor plans that align with the latest capacity and health guidelines.

Hybrid events to grow in popularity in 2021 and beyond

o Over three quarters (76%) of surveyed planners said that they would consider hosting hybrid events in 2021. The pandemic forced a nearly complete pivot to virtual meetings in 2020. As event professionals plan for in-person events in 2021, they are considering adding an online element to them, and they expect venues to be ready to support these kinds of events.

Venues need to provide guidance and the right technology

o When asked to select the support they most expect from the venue in terms of enabling the hybrid experience, over three quarters (77%) of respondents said reliable and fast connectivity and A/V equipment. They also cited guidance in staging a virtual event as important to their venue selection.

To download the UK and European edition of “Cvent’s 2020 Planner Sentiment and Sourcing Report: Europe Edition,” click here.