Finding the Right Venue Still Plagues Meeting Planners Despite Digital Tools

The responsibilities weighing on meeting planners have increased over the years, as they consistently fight with the challenge of stretching budgets and investing considerable time in identifying the perfect venue for their events.


Recent evidence underscores that the issues causing friction within this ecosystem are not fleeting but rather entrenched.  The Annual Cvent Planner Sourcing Report, the latest in its series, conducted a comprehensive survey of 2,650 meeting planners worldwide in 2019. It delved into the challenges they encounter in sourcing meeting venues and the complexities involved in partnering with the right event space. Moreover, the report sheds light on the evolving landscape of event planning and the strategies employed by planners to navigate these challenges effectively. Additionally, the report sheds light on the evolving landscape of the meeting planning industry. Notably, 69 percent of those surveyed plan 11 or more events, while 16 percent manage an impressive portfolio of over 100 events.


With the exception of those organizing events for board members, all planners experienced an increase in attendance over the last year. This surge in attendees highlights the critical importance for hoteliers to prioritize swift and service-oriented interactions with planners. The report underscores the time constraints faced by planners, with 44 percent expressing disinterest in a venue due to poor communication.

meeting planners

The challenges facing meeting planners are far-reaching, with four out of five planners citing one or more elements of the planning process as a significant challenge, consuming a substantial portion of their time. Despite the availability of a variety of digital tools, the sourcing and negotiating process remains difficult.


Difficulties With Sourcing

Researching Venues 18%
Negotiating 18%
Choosing a Venue 17%
No Difficulties 17%
Comparing Proposals 15%
Compiling Proposal Responses 12%


Worsen these challenges is the financial aspect, as more than half of planners anticipate the key elements of events becoming more expensive through 2020.


Expected Budget Increases

Food and Beverage 55%
Travel 54%
Housing/Rooms 52%
Event Management Technology 52%
Venue 52%
Client Entertainment 51%


Interestingly, only 43 percent of planners reported involvement from their company’s finance department in the event-planning process. The report speculates that other departments might wield influence on budgets and spending. Moreover, it indicates the evolving role of group business as a versatile marketing and communications tool for companies.


The study emphasizes the enduring importance of venue cost, branding, and room rates in the decision-making process for planners sourcing an event. Hotel room blocks continue to play a pivotal role in the overall event ecosystem.


Once venues are identified, the layout of the event space and cost emerges as the most influential factors guiding a planner’s booking decision.


Top Features Influencing Booking Decisions

Event Space Layout 45%
Venue Cost 45%
Location of Venue 42%
Availability of Preferred Dates 41%
Existing Relationship With Venue 28%
Unique Atmosphere 23%


Notably, 72 percent of respondents stated that a 6 percent discount would be sufficient to sway them towards choosing another venue over their initial preference. Planners also emphasized the need for hotels to enhance personalization in responses to inquiries. 59 percent show that the absence of a professional sales staff led them to select a different venue for subsequent editions of an event.



The report highlights the persistent challenges faced by meeting planners, encompassing communication hurdles, budgetary pressures, and the complicated process of selecting the right venue. As the dynamics of group business evolve, involving various departments and objectives, there is a clear need for hotels to adapt and prioritize efficient communication, budget considerations, and personalized interactions to secure their position in the competitive event-planning landscape. The findings underscore that, even in the modern era, the role of a quality on-property sales staffer remains crucial for fostering successful partnerships with meeting planners. Furthermore, for a comprehensive overview, the complete report is available below.


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