Fifty-six percent of respondents in Eventbrite’s annual Pulse Report said that recruiting attendees for events was one of the top three most challenging part of the planner job in 2018. Rounding out the top three challenges: working with a tighter budget and locking down sponsors.
On the bright side: budgets overall appear to be increasing—38 percent of the 1,200 planners surveyed foresee a bump in budget growth. And more spending money means more events: forty-nine percent of respondents plan to host more events in 2019. Only six percent report lowered budgets.
Spreading the Word
What is driving budget boosts? Marketing and promotion. Surprisingly enough, social media isn’t the main driver. A solid majority (63 percent) of respondents said that word of mouth was the best way to reach potential attendees, while social media marketing came in second place, at 49 percent. Despite some labeling it old school, email marketing accounts for 38 percent of marketing.
Of social media posting, more than half (53 percent) said most interactions came from organic social marketing, while only a quarter (25 percent) used paid Facebook and Instagram ads and a small 3.75 percent used video.
Under-utilized tactics are still equally important. Though nearly half denied using it, and a small 21 percent found it to be an ineffective method, experts say SEO is undeniably important when increasing your event’s visibility through online key words.
Technology Reigns Supreme
Event tech continues to grow rapidly. A majority (53 percent) of event planners used mobile apps. That cohort is expected to rise to 60.5 percent in 2019. Interactive apps can add a dose of fun to events, while also providing real-time, interactive information that can increase efficiency. Cashless payments have increased, with 47 percent using them. Livestreaming is also more popular at events, with 40 percent incorporating the hybrid meeting format.
Demand for Green and Safe
Planners did not seem to be in synch with attendee priorities in a few areas. Sustainability has been a huge topic this year, but only five percent of planner respondents said they made it a priority when creating their event. On the other hand, 75 percent of consumers said they take sustainability into consideration when making a purchase. Planners reported that working with LEED-certified venues, which offer recycling and composting, along with choosing a sustainable event caterer, were easy ways to incorporate the demand for green events in the planning process.
A year filled with data breaches has also increased awareness of data privacy, though only seven percent of respondents took attendees’ said privacy was a major consideration in choosing vendors. Experts predict that 2019 will witness a shift to demand for smoother registration processes, choosing diligent technology partners and triple-checking that a venue is highly secure.