Millennials say that a venue’s cost is the most influential factor when deciding where to hold an event, while members of older generations place more value on customer service, according to a new survey conducted by Cvent, Inc.

The cloud-based event management platform surveyed more than 800 meeting planners to understand the sourcing behaviors of different generations as millennials rise in the meetings industry. The survey revealed that a 3 to 5 percent discount would convince up to 17 percent of millennials to choose their second choice. Millennials also are flexible regarding dates, especially if they can save money.

Other top reasons millennial meeting planners switch venues included:

-Customer service (22 percent)
-Size and adequacy of space (20 percent)
-Availability of dates (12 percent)
-Bad experience with booking (10 percent)

“As the next generation of meeting planners rises in the work place, hotels and event venues need to better understand their behaviors to close more group business,” said Kevin Fliess, vice president of product marketing at Cvent. “It is clear from the survey findings that both the influx of millennial planners and advances in event planning processes and technologies are changing how hotels compete for lucrative group business.”

Venue sourcing is often a multiday process that involves various touch-points and interactions between the venue and planner. Millennials were 37 percent less likely to source directly through a venue when compared to their older generation industry peers, indicating that the new generation of meeting planners value the convenience and simplicity of an event management platform during the process.

This new digital generation prefers to source directly at scale. Twenty-five percent of millennial planners are more likely than older generations to report that negotiations are the most difficult part of sourcing a venue, indicating an aversion to one-on-one interactions and a preference for a transactional experience, while Generation X and baby boomers showed a much higher willingness to negotiate.

Millennial meeting planners were 50 percent more likely to say social media and blogs are highly influential when it comes to evaluating a venue compared to older generations. These millennial planners rely on online reviews, ratings and opinions, compared to traditional media.   

Cvent surveyed 842 meeting planners in three days. Among those polled, 71 percent sourced meetings on behalf of their company, 17 percent were association planners and 11 percent were third-party planners. Generation X planners (35-52 year olds) represented the largest demographic of event planners with 43 percent of the surveyed audience. Millennial or Generation Y planners (18-34 year olds) were the second largest segment, comprising of 41 percent of respondents. The Baby boomer generation represented 53-64 year olds surveyed. The 2015 Planner Sourcing Report was designed to provide venues with the insights needed to close more group business. The executive summary can be downloaded here.

Cvent offers software solutions to event planners for online event registration, venue selection, event management, mobile apps for events, email marketing and web surveys. Cvent provides hoteliers with an integrated platform, enabling properties to increase group business demand through targeted advertising and improve conversion through proprietary demand management and business intelligence solutions.