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Corporate Meeting Planners Reveal What’s Changing for Them

Shifting trends are found in how planners are measuring sustainability as well as overall event success, plus technology, budgets, and staffing.

The third annual corporate-events research report from Germany-based meetings organization In-House Corporate Events (ICE) in conjunction with Cvent revealed several interesting trends as corporate-meeting departments coordinate events for 2022.

First, among the nearly 70 meeting managers at international corporations who participated in ICE’s research, sustainability remains a top priority for more than three out of four of them. However, this year they cite a greater focus on how to accurately measure the effects of the sustainability initiatives they’ve implemented in recent years.

The top four sustainability elements that respondents are trying to quantify for their executives and shareholders are: total distance traveled by attendees, sponsors, and event staff; electricity consumption at venues; carbon-dioxide emissions for travel and on-site activity; and the environmental impact of catering operations.

Another area where the focus of planners has shifted from last year is in measuring the effectiveness of virtual events. In 2020, 61 percent said that using the right metrics to measure event performance was a major challenge; in 2021, only 44 percent said the same. As the report states, “more planners are measuring their virtual events much as they would their live events. Planners have moved past the stage where the primary success metric was running the event with no major faults; they have acquired the skills to deliver virtual events without faults. Now, there is a clear desire to contextualize [other] metrics by benchmarking not just internally but across the events industry.”

This can be seen through the specific metrics now being used for virtual events. Some of the metrics with the biggest year-over-year usage increases were:
• customer feedback (95 percent of respondents now use that metric versus 70 percent in 2020)
• engagement with touchpoints (69 percent versus 38 percent in 2020)

• social-media engagement (73 percent versus 51 percent in 2020)
• internal cost, plus time spent by the events team (64 percent versus 46 percent in 2020)

One interesting observation about hybrid events: The reports finds that “hybrids are currently a lesser-used format” than anticipated. Further, “when held, hybrids are primarily a livestream of speakers rather than an interactive experience between the in-person and virtual audiences.”

When it comes to event budgeting, more than 90 percent of respondents said their technology budgets for virtual and hybrid events has increased in the past 12 months, while 62 percent said their on-site technology budgets have risen in that time. On the flip side, 77 percent said their travel budgets for events have decreased, while 40 percent said that budgets for venues, catering, and decorating have decreased for upcoming near-term events. One likely reason, according to the report: “A move toward smaller, more local events as a result of the Covid pandemic.”

Lastly, there are a few surprising insights related to staffing: A little more than half of respondents said that their department-staff numbers had not been reduced between mid-2020 and mid-2021; in fact, 20 percent said that they gained staff members in that time. “As the need to deliver more events in multiple formats grows,” says the report, “it is possible that more companies will look to expand their event teams to deal with demand.” 

To register to receive the full report, click here.

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