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Venue sourcing: The Asia perspective

New Cvent study sheds light on decision-making factors to help venues stand out amid the crowd.

A new survey reveals important information that could help hoteliers and venue operators in Asia meet the needs of event planners more effectively, and increase their chances of turning RFPs into valuable event business.

The first-ever Asia Edition of the Cvent Planner Sourcing Report, based survey of more than 500 event planners, sheds light on how these professionals source venues and what factors influence their ultimate selection.

In a nutshell, the report shows that event professionals in Asia are taking on more events, handling more attendees and managing larger budgets. These demands mean that when sourcing venues, event planners look for partners who can ease the process and respond with speed, efficiency and professionalism.

Planners are increasingly busy people

More than 70 per cent of survey respondents said they organise at least 50 events a year, while 36 per cent plan more than 100 events annually.

To deliver a strong event, planners work closely with the whole ecosystem of suppliers in the industry. Time is of the essence and when one party holds up the process, the entire project experiences delays. When it comes to venue sourcing, planners admit that they experience frustrations at various points, from researching (32 per cent), to selecting a venue (22 per cent) and comparing proposals (21 per cent).

Busy days, long hours, and pressure from an increasing workload mean that planners need to multi-task and can’t afford to waste time. When sourcing venues, they desire prompt communication, efficiency and thoroughness from venue operators so that they can make decisions quickly and move the process along.

Planners want to deliver quality events

Even with the increased workload, planners will not compromise on delivering a top-notch event experience. For them, a successful event is one that integrates social media, entertainment, technology and creativity in a personalised, experiential package.

Wifi speed and connectivity are critical, and venue operators simply must be on board and up-to-date to deliver these requirements.

Planners turn to third-party agencies for support

To deliver exceptional event experiences, planners say they are turning to third-party agencies for their expertise, working closely with external planners (75 per cent), destination management companies (80 per cent) and convention and visitors bureaus (76 per cent).

With this situation playing, it makes sense for hotels and venue operators to intensify relationships with third-party planners and make their support and services visible through solid and frequent networking.

Planners are managing bigger event budgets

If budgets are an indication of the growing importance of events, then face-to-face meetings are still crucial for many organisations. More than 80 per cent of respondents say that budget allocations for events have increased for corporate parties, galas, trade shows, conferences, seminars, and conventions. Organisations are also investing in non-revenue generating activities such as trainings and milestone meetings. 

Planners are also expecting expanded budgets for ground transportation, venue and client entertainment for the coming year.

This begs the question of whether venue operators and hotels are ready to offer fresh ideas to fulfil this anticipated increase in budgets.

More stakeholder involvement in budget decisions

The report reveals that while event planners are largely the ones approving budget allocations, other departments are also involved. Respondents cite information technology and finance departments as having a say over event budgets, too.

It’s best then for venue professionals to be aware of these potential internal influencers when dealing with event planners.

Planners’ considerations when sourcing venues

Surprisingly, it isn’t cost that is the primary consideration. Instead, 61 per cent say that activities outside the venue is the main driver behind submitting an RFP — again, highlighting the importance of experience.

Other factors they consider are positive reviews of the venue (50 per cent) and its branding and reputation (49 per cent). Venue cost (47 per cent) ranks fourth.

And when planners have sent out an RFP, they expect trustworthiness, speed and attention to detail from hoteliers. One way hoteliers can gain the confidence of planners is by customising a solution for the planner, instead of throwing a one-size-fits-all proposal at them.

Planners prioritise attendee experience in booking decisions 

When it comes to booking a venue, planners primarily look at how easy it is to organise networking activities at the venue. Their main concern is to deliver an interactive event experience for attendees. Again, at this stage, cost isn’t the main consideration. In fact, 78 per cent of those surveyed say that they would expect a cost savings of at least six per cent before considering switching to their second-choice venue.

So, venue operators really need to be on board with planners in creating a space that facilitates networking and experiential activities, and offer professional, creative advice to make the booking process as easy as possible.