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Cvent Bets on Return of In-Person Events to Offset Doubling of Losses

Skift Take

Cvent's first quarter losses nearly doubled to $31.4 million in the first quarter. CEO Reggie Aggarwal didn't flinch, expressing confidence that tailwinds spurred by increasing in-person attendance will offset inflation and other market worries for the rest of 2022.

In its first quarter earnings call since going public last July, Cvent reports exceeding its fourth quarter guidance as it continues to achieve strong growth.

CEO Reggie Aggarwal expressed confidence that tailwinds spurred by increasing in-person attendance and market share gains made with software and service innovations will dampen the impact of destabilizing macroeconomic factors like the current record-high cost of energy. As a result, Cvent has updated its financial guidance to anticipate even stronger growth in 2022 than forecasted last quarter.

Given Cvent’s long-held status as a major industry player in the in-person event market segment, its reported increase of 17.1 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022 for a total of $137.4 million isn’t particularly surprising. Even though that number is 2.9 percent higher than the higher end of what it estimated for this quarter during its last earnings call, it could be reasonable to chalk that up to a quicker-than-expected post-pandemic recovery.

Similarly, the 17.2 percent increase in revenue from Hospitality Cloud, Cvent’s vendor SaaS solution, is likely driven by a resurgence in bookings as event planners respond to the pent-up demand for in-person experiences.

But one number stands out and may be a bellwether for Cvent’s future prospects and the state of the event tech industry in general. This quarter, Cvent’s Event Cloud revenue increased to $95 million, representing a 17.1 percent uptick from the comparable period in 2021. It looks like Cvent’s strategic move as a provider of solutions that meet a spectrum of attendee format needs is paying off.

In-person event expertise and a higher demand for full functionality are key drivers for Cvent’s continued growth.

Cvent announced in April that it would be phasing out its CrowdCompass mobile event app at the end of 2022, instead encouraging all of its customers to adopt the Attendee Hub. Aggarwal cited internal data that indicated that 66 percent of event planners are currently in the process of booking physical space for events, with 40 percent anticipating planning more events in 2023 than before the pandemic.

At the same time, he noted that “at the average conference, you are seeing 40 to 65 percent of in-person attendance as opposed to pre-Covid.”

Echoing the conclusion of multiple industry forecasts – that the features enabled by digital applications continue to present compelling advantages for event tech customers – Aggarwal emphasized Cvent’s offerings. “The return to in-person plays to our strength and plays to our one platform.”

New Products Broaden Service Ecosystem

Cvent has continued to invest in developing platforms designed to meet a broad spectrum of event planning needs including two new digital tools unveiled at Cvent CONNECT in mid-April. Although Aggarwal acknowledged that these ventures do not translate immediately into substantial revenue growth, he believes the expansion of the existing Cvent Supplier network could prove to be a game-changer. “We believe these marketplaces make Cvent even more embedded into the industry, “ he asserted, noting that “this functionality makes us a one-stop shop.”

The company is confident in the potential of its Vendor and App marketplaces, as both products make it easier for planners to work within the Cvent platform.

Similarly, Cvent has invested in its Hospitality Cloud. Referencing the estimated 20,000 open positions in hotel sales in North America, Aggarwal pointed to the emerging demand for more time-efficient solutions for connecting event planners with event venue operators. He highlighted how photorealistic 3D tours of venues are providing better quality of information for event profs: “Where the honey is, the bees will come.”

Betting on Full Service Offering

Citing a return to in-person, Cvent’s promise to support planners across a total event program and expand its service ecosystem, CFO Billy Newman expressed confidence that the legacy player is well-positioned to capture an outsized market share of an estimated $30 billion total attainable market in 2022.

In a detailed discussion of current trends, both Newman and Aggarwal repeatedly asserted that continued uptake of existing innovations and a reinvigorated commitment to investing in further software development will continue to propel Cvent’s strong growth.

As a top-tier player in the event tech industry, Cvent’s earnings report and its stated strategic direction are important indicators of where the event industry is headed. Cvent is throwing its weight behind a suite of products positioned to support planners across a spectrum of engagement channels.