Every December we ask event planners and event professionals what their outlook is for the event industry in the coming year. This year, we posed three big questions to our audience, and here is how 420 event planners and professionals responded:
Do you anticipate revenues to be higher, lower or about the same in 2015?
The response: Overwhelmingly higher
79% of event planners responded that they anticipate event revenues will be higher in 2015, as opposed to 3% who think they will be lower and 18% who think they will stay about the same as 2014.
Overall, many event planners have seen positive growth in revenues over the last 2 years, and with the U.S. economy picking up steam, they anticipate 2015 to be another healthy year of revenue growth for the events industry. And even overseas event markets in Europe and Australia see positive revenue developments coming in 2015.
Do you anticipate event budgets to be larger, smaller or about the same in 2015?
The response: Either larger or about the same
Event budgets have been growing since the Great Recession (when they bottomed out), and event planners and professionals are anticipating another year of event budgets that are either a bit larger or the same as the previous year. That’s the good news.
The bad news? Well, it isn’t exactly bad, but it does pose challenges for event planners. One thing we heard loud and clear from our respondents was that event clients expect a lot more for their money now. This is probably a result of event planners, event venues and event vendors providing discounts and lots of value-adds during the recession to capture as much business as possible. And clients have become accustomed to this climate of added value and now for them it is business as usual.
So while event budgets may be growing somewhat, the value that clients expect from their budgets is growing even faster. This is requiring event professionals to get creative with budgeting and delivering unique solutions for clients who have become more demanding over the last few years.
Was your new year’s resolution to be more productive and organized in 2015?
What is the biggest challenge you face in 2015 regarding event management and planning?
The response: Business development … followed by staffing, budget management and rising event costs
Event planners, event venues, caterers and event vendors overwhelmingly said that business development / lead generation was the single biggest challenge facing them in 2015. Finding new clients is never easy in any economic climate, and a few contributing factors that our event professionals cited were the growing number of competitors in the marketplace as well as the growing costs of marketing and advertising an event-related business.
Finding, hiring and keeping qualified staff members was also named as a big challenge for event professionals. A few event planners we talked to noted that, as the job market tightens up and unemployment rates go down, it’s more difficult to find Millennials to fill entry-level positions, especially part-time positions with employers like event venues, reception halls and hotels.
Budget management and rising event costs were also cited by event planners and event pros as looming challenges in 2015. Again, clients are demanding more value from their budgets, and as venue and catering costs rise, planners and event management pros are having to get creative with their budgets to accommodate these rising costs and still over-deliver on other items like décor, rentals and entertainment.
How do you see 2015 shaping up for the event industry? Let us know in the comments below.