Positive Outlook for Australian Business Events Sector

Skift Take

A new report from Cvent indicates that Australian business event professionals are increasing event volume and spend, despite cost control being their top challenge.

Event technology giant Cvent, recently acquired by Blackstone, has released a report focused on Australia based on surveys of more than 100 event planners and marketers. The results are overwhelmingly positive for the industry in the region.

More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) plan to increase their total volume of events in 2023. This increase is reflected across all event formats. Virtual has the largest projected increase in volume (67%), followed by in-person (58%). Webinars (55%) and hybrid events (52%) are not far behind.

Cvent leadership was naturally buoyant about the results. The company markets its solution as an all-in-one event technology platform capable of supporting all shapes and sizes of events.

“It was very interesting to see that event organizers plan to increase the number of events across all formats – in-person, virtual, webinars, and hybrid. These findings really showcase the power of a multi-format event program to drive even greater ROI,” said Jack Ukil, Cvent’s senior director, country head – Australia.

Balancing Budgets

Rising costs and inflation is top of mind for Australian business event professionals. More than half of respondents (52%) identified it as their biggest challenge.

Despite a focus on cost control, it would appear that Australian organizations are willing to invest more in meetings. Three-quarters have a larger budget, and only 10% have less funds to work with. “This goes to show how critical events are in building community and driving business growth,” said Ukil.

Spending on event technology seems to be a given among respondents. If given additional funds, they would rather spend it on event technology than increase the number of events or on additional promotion. Conversely, the promotion line item is the first to be cut when budgets are cut.

Technology Remains a Challenge

Virtual fatigue and technology challenges are the second and third biggest challenges for Australian business event professionals. With the expected increase in the volume of virtual events, virtual fatigue is a red flag that requires careful consideration.

Despite the advantages of using event technology to its fullest extent, challenges clearly remain. “Most event planners have not integrated event technology with their wider sales and marketing infrastructure, and many find it difficult to take advantage of their event data to deliver more personalized experiences and support broader business outcomes,” said Ukil.

Even for those who have integrated event data with other systems, making the most of it may not be straightforward. “With data flowing between more systems and being used by more stakeholders, event planners are struggling to effectively integrate and make sense of this flood of information to support their audience’s needs and interests,” said Ukil.

Increasing the comfort level with event technology is a priority for all companies operating in the sector, including Cvent. Ukil points out that effective use of event technology can also help with many other challenges. “Our technology is useful for not only driving efficiency, streamlining budget management, and helping event organizers do more with less, but also for proving event impact,” he said.

The full report includes regional insights on the best days of the week to run events, the event objectives that are a priority, and the top factors in selecting event technology solutions. There is also encouraging news about sustainability targets and tracking carbon footprints.