The Global State of Corporate Events - Special Report

Special Report: The State of Corporate Events Today

8 min read
Survey highlights key concerns and success factors for corporate events around the world
Ever wondered if other event planners face the same challenges you do? What about the strategies they employ for successful events?

An exciting new global survey highlights the main issues for event planners and best practice for maximising event ROI.

About the Report

Toronto Canada-based event planner and digital marketer and colleague Rebecca Hill researched and created the infographic exclusively for us (thanks Rhill!).

Rhill conducted research into event planning from the perspectives of event planners across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The findings report on:

  • Most common event types
  • Main concerns for corporate event planners
  • Event success and ROI from the event
  • How to increase reachability
  • Selecting the venue
  • Month-by-month checklist for planning an event
Index (skip to content)

What #EventProfs around the world have to say on the state of events today. Click To Tweet

1. Conferences and Trade Shows

Corporate conferences and trade shows were revealed as the most common event type.

Just as products and services represent your brand, events are an important part of the marketing mix and, done correctly, will help build your brand image. The live experience of conferences and trade shows are a very powerful way to engage with your target audience.

Take a look above at some of the statistics that defined the corporate event industry in the past year.

Infographic of statistics that defined the corporate event industry in the past year. Click To Tweet

2. Main Concerns for Corporate Event Planners

82% of corporate event planners say that budget is their biggest concern. Downward pressure on event budgets is an ever-evolving challenge.

62% of corporate event planners cited new ideas as a key challenge. Constantly outdoing yourself with another brilliant production, every single time, doesn’t come easy!

Return on investment or ROI emerged as a major concern for 54% of corporate event planners in the survey. Achieving results is mission critical for successful events, which means achieving corporate goals for the event host, as well as meeting the needs corporate event attendees.

82% of corporate event planners cite budget as their biggest concern. Click To Tweet

3. Priorities for Event Attendees

The study explored the key priorities for attendees at corporate events in 2018:

  • 82% Networking
  • 71% Learning
  • 38% Entertainment
  • 37% Self-improvement
  • 16% Time out of the office

It’s important to consider these priorities when planning an event, to ensure you meet audience objectives and achieve a positive ROI.

This study explored the key priorities for attendees at corporate events in 2018 Click To Tweet

4. Measuring Event Success and ROI

How do you know if your event was successful?

And how exactly, do you measure return on investment?

The majority of event planners (91%) measure success by attendee satisfaction. Secondary measures include whether the event achieved specific objectives (61%) and if it stayed within budget (60%).

ROI is about results. Did the event achieve objectives, and can this be somehow quantified?

67% of event planners reported using attendee satisfaction to measure ROI. 52% used staying within budget to measure ROI, while 51% said they assessed ROI by the number of registrations.

67% of event planners reported using attendee satisfaction to measure ROI. 52% used staying within budget to measure ROI, while 51% said they assessed ROI by the number of registrations. Click To Tweet

5. How to Increase Event Reachability

Digital methods now dominate event promotion.

Social media

Event planners listed social media (74%) as the most effective tool for event marketing, followed by email marketing (66%), website (60%), and event registration site (26%).

Social media is an attractive option, being far more cost effective than traditional print media. 28% of event planners spend less than $200 on social media and 25% spend between $200 and $1,000 on social media to promote their events.

Social media represents an untapped opportunity for event professionals. The ability to target very specific audiences – by industry and demographic – on major platforms like Facebook and Instagram, creates an efficient and cost effective way to promote events.

Paid ads

50% of event planners use paid advertising for their events.

Video

Video has become a very popular mode of promotion. 62% of event planners rate video as an effective strategy for their B2B marketing strategy.

Working with Influencers

Influencers are another emergent force in event marketing today. 84% of companies that host events work with influencers, and 81% say that influencer engagement was effective.

For example, the now infamous Fyre Festival attracted huge numbers courtesy of celebrity influencers, with Kendall Jenner paid $250,000 for a single Instagram post to promote the event!

Telephone Marketing

Interestingly, it’s not so much what you say but how you say it that’s important in telephone marketing. On the phone, tone accounts for 86% of our communication. The words used only account for 14% of our communication.

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing or engagement marketing refer to strategies that directly immerse a consumer with the brand, such as a branded bus tour or street promotions.

Views on experiential marketing arose as a point of contention with event planners, with 32% saying it’s a priority, 32% not seeing it as a priority, with 37% undecided.

Views on experiential marketing are a point of contention with event planners. Click To Tweet

6. Selecting the Venue

Choosing the right venue for an event is high on the list of importance for success.

Hotels are a very popular choice because they are often well equipped to host events. 73% of event planners in the survey chose to work with hotels in 2018 while 57% shows conference centres. 53% opted to hold events in unusual venues.

So how do event planners go about finding the right venue?

69% of survey respondents cite word-of-mouth recommendations, and 58% use search engines. 34% use online listings and market places to find suitable venues.

Accessibility emerged as the most important reason for choosing a venue at 63%.

Choosing the right venue is mission critical. If you’re in the Toronto area we recommend Le Jardin Corporate Events – it’s a great example of a corporate event venue that ticks all the boxes.

73% of event planners in this survey chose to work with hotels in 2018 while 57% shows conference centres. Click To Tweet

7. Month by Month Event Planning Checklist

Every event planner needs a checklist to manage all the details of producing a successful event. Below is a monthly checklist based on event planner feedback.

Don’t forget to download our ready-made event planning template and day-of-event timeline (runsheet).

10 months out

Gather feedback from the staff at your last event to determine what worked well and what didn’t.

9 months out

Decide on an event theme and create your event budget.

8 months out

Reserve your venue, paying attention to these details:

  • Audio Visual
  • Internet access
  • Lighting
  • Fixtures/Decorations/Tableware
  • Staging
  • Food & Beverage
  • Parking
  • Ticketing
  • Talent Hospitality
  • Signage
  • Permit
  • Security
  • Staffing
  • Insurance
  • Backup plan for weather
  • Create guest list
7 months out
  • Determine insurance requirements
  • Property damage
  • Injuries incurred at the event
  • Liquor liability protection
  • Event cancellation or rescheduling
  • Vendor cancellations
  • Hire a planner if desired
6 months out

Tell people about your event

  • Design digital and print advertising campaign
  • Build event web page
  • Create pages in Facebook, Instagram and other social media and start promoting
  • Design and print invitations
  • Send any printed invitations via mail
5 months out

Begin searching for entertainment and event production, reserve a block of hotels or secure a special hotel rate for guests if needed. Send event notices to online event calendars.

4 months out

Hire event production team and entertainment services

3 months out

Book catering and florist.

2 months out

Contact all the vendors. This is the time to ask any questions, no matter how big or small.

1 month out

Create a day-of-event timeline, finalize production needs, flowers, catering menus and any other details with vendors.

Here’s a ready-made event planning template, with all the details pre-filled, that you can edit for your specific event needs.

FACT: Every event planner needs a checklist to manage all the details of producing a successful event. Click To Tweet

8. Event Planning Success is Universal

The most successful events enjoy a positive return on investment by achieving corporate goals – which include staying on brand and within budget – and fulfilling attendee objectives.

Based on what event planners say in this survey, the key challenges and strategies for outstanding events is universal.


Share this Post

Next steps


About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.