TechnologyWin More Group Business by Collaborating With Event Planners

Win More Group Business by Collaborating With Event Planners

Staying on top of what event planners are thinking and feeling is a daunting task unto itself. It’s even more difficult when you’re dealing with understaffing and time constraints on your busy schedule. While you remain focused on the struggles facing your hotel, planners try to work through problems on their end. Knowing how to best serve your clients is equally important, so Cvent and BTN Northstar run six surveys each year, polling planners on their concerns, pain points, and opinions about the meetings & events industry right now. The results of the most recent survey divulge what event planners are looking for so that you can quickly adapt to support their needs.

Ironically, understaffing at hotels and venues is one of meeting and event planners’ biggest concerns, just as it’s one of yours. In late 2021, AHLA reported that almost 500,000 jobs in hotel operations wouldn’t be returning. While you’ve certainly felt the effects of this, event planners have, too. Fewer staff at hotels means fewer people to accomplish what planners need in the planning process and in executing the event, especially if those staff members have added new responsibilities to make up for the reduced staff.

This is one of the major reasons that 20% of event planners surveyed say they’re moving or canceling events. More than half of respondents say staffing is an issue they often deal with when planning events.

Reduced staff also means a lot of the contacts event planners had at venues are gone, up to 40% (this one actually goes both ways—hoteliers have cited planner turnover during the pandemic as an issue as well). And that includes experience at hotels. Many of the longer tenured employees at hotels have moved on, leaving the current staff inexperienced and still finding their feet.

Staffing isn’t the only issue both hoteliers and planners are dealing with. Inflation and COVID-19 are high priority concerns as well. While COVID-19 and health safety are dropping significantly as a leading issue (like, dropping off a cliff—in the past two months, planners reporting it as an important topic in their planning process dropped by about 60%), inflation concerns are on the rise.

No one wants to pay more for the same return, and that includes planners. 65% of planners cite that food and beverage is now more expensive than they expect. We know you can’t do much about the high inflation numbers right now, but you can find ways to be flexible and find compromises that don’t break the bank (for you or them).

Budget is planners’ second-most cited concern right now. With attendees looking for a dazzling experience, planners need to get creative and pull out all the stops. But budgets aren’t increasing to match this, inflation is sucking up a lot of unexpected cash, and suddenly planners are having to do a lot more with less money (sound familiar, hoteliers?).

While financial concerns have increased and safety concerns have decreased, the COVID-19 pandemic and heath protocols are still ranked as planners’ third biggest stressor. Only about a fifth will enact a mask mandate at their next event, but a third are considering moving future events out of winter months to reduce the risk of infection.

Another third of surveyed planners said they had already moved an event due to liability concerns related to the venue’s ability or willingness to promote COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Clearly, planners still expect a high level of care for their attendees, despite believing COVID-19 is trending in the right direction. Many believe it will be back to business as usual by fall of 2022.

The bottom line? Planners and hoteliers are facing a lot of similar problems right now. The best thing you can do to win more business—especially now, when planners say they’re booking more events than they have in a while—is work together. Find ways to create a unique experience for attendees that doesn’t break the bank. Don’t toss your COVID-19 policies out just yet. Planners still want them in place. Look for easy time-savers in your process, so you can devote time to training your new staff and working with planners directly.

Be ready for the change, because it’s here.

 

About the Author
Alex Clark is a copywriter at Cvent. She creates ads, promotional materials, and webinars, specializing in content for hoteliers.

Alex Clark, Cvent
Alex Clark is a copywriter at Cvent. She creates ads, promotional materials, and webinars, specializing in content for hoteliers.

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