Ensuring the sustainability of events has risen to become the key challenge corporate organisers are looking to tackle between now and 2024, according to this year’s ICE Annual Benchmarking Research Report, sponsored by Cvent.
The sustainable events objective was shared by 77% of the respondents of the annual survey and sat ahead of ‘the ability to deliver hybrid events’ (73%) and ‘educating internal audiences on when live/hybrid formats should be adopted’ (53%).
The report also highlighted issues within the hierarchy of event teams within large businesses, leaving the community looking at its own long-term sustainability, the environment and other CSR practices within the industry.
Furthermore, it underlined the importance of measurement to event organisers in achieving sustainability goals. Most planners reported that their organisations have already established CSR goals, however, measurement remains key with close to 40% of respondents reporting its importance. Across the research, organisers prioritised the ‘tracking of CO2 emissions’ as a key metric for live events, behind ‘electricity consumption’, ‘distance travelled by visitors and organisers’, and ‘sustainability of catering’.
Similar to last year, delivering more virtual/hybrid events also remains a key challenge for planners. In the 2020 report, the issue around virtual/hybrid events centred on increasing the technological competency within the team. Now that teams have more experience delivering these events, challenges have moved to the volume being delivered, as well as optimising the virtual/hybrid experience.
A new challenge has also emerged in relation to the hybrid world, that of educating internal contacts on when live/virtual events should be considered. Over half of respondents say this is an issue they are hoping to tackle in the next few years.
However, as well as the immediate challenges the industry faces, ICE continues to show its concern around a lack of a clear ’home’ for event planners within the organisational structures of large businesses. The report highlighted the issue; 50% of respondents saw the natural place of events within the marketing department, however the remainder were spread across over 15 different company departments.
Anita Howard, founder and CEO of ICE, said: “We talk a lot about this ‘natural home’ within the ICE community. We do so because we see it as a massive sleeping giant of an issue that, when it wakes up, could be incredibly destructive. Event departments need protection through the structure of the company; if they are out on a limb, they can be isolated, whereas, if they are integrated they can add more value across the organisation.”
Felicia Asiedu, senior marketing manager for Cvent Europe, added: “It’s encouraging to see that this year’s research shows that half of planners see the natural place of events within the marketing department. This enhanced partnership has laid the foundation for what we are calling the new event marketing opportunity, which offers event and marketing professionals the potential to collect and review a wider data set across multiple channels that can help support more targeted marketing efforts, thus encouraging richer personalised experiences for prospects and clients.
“This in turn enables organisations to reach and engage new and larger audiences and missing countless opportunities to drive results. An integrated approach within the organisation means planners and marketers can come together to align strategies and deliver dynamic, engaging event experiences.”