Solid market growth. Corporate clients (event managers, marketers, corporate events) report having grown their event budgets by 4.4% in 2016 and prepare for a 5.6% growth in 2017, a very solid level.
... without much joy in margins. This growth is more due, according to agencies, to a growth of the number of events - companies have returned to organizing incentives, conventions, teambuildings than to a growth of the budget of each event. 50% of agencies say that the current growth is due to a growth in the number of events, compared with 8% that attribute it mainly to a growth of budgets per event. 34% see the two elements grow simutaneously.
Procurement remains powerful, but has less power. Procurement departments have seized power during the crisis. The study highlights, in its qualitative part, still a strong will to control costs, but two improvements: the reduction of auctions (a 'strange' way, purely quantitative, to buy a tailor made creative action); and the fact that in a vast majority of cases, the final decision is now taken by the marketing or events department, while the role of procurement is more focused on optimizing this purchase.
Worries without panic. This clear recovery is not without risk. The study highlights several factors that can affect the sector in 2017: security, according to 64% of the agencies interviewed; the increasing tax control of incentives and congresses (53%); price hikes (47%); and compliance policies that are increasingly restrictive in terms of invitations that the company can make or accept (47%). Other risks such as global financial instability or elections in Europe do not appear as worrying risks. Overall, we are in a cautious market but without much concern.
The human aspect, star of the moment. The movement that began a few years ago is reaching its turning point. Thus, at the top of the trends, we see the development of atypical formats (hackatons, campfire, etc.) according to 64%. In second position is the fact of taking care of the conversation (49%), moving the event away from the unilateral format of the past. The formats are opened, singular spaces are sought (from a co-working to a session in a garden) (46%) and smaller sessions are made very focused on the conversation between participants. Digital experiences, counterbalance this trend of more human meetings (49%). Crowdsourcing in events, and branded content are other marketing trends that grow in events, albeit in the background. Events thus confirm, beyond an ephemeral tendency, a change towards more dynamic formats.
Mature technology. We can differentiate two types of technologies: in the mature ones are event apps, a valuable tool in many events to provide information easily, interactivity, capture data, which will be very present according to 63% of agencies. Next comes streaming, already common in events thanks to specific tools in addition to Periscope or Facebook Live (52%), and hyperconnectivity including temporary wi-fi (46%).
... and the future. Next to these mature tools are other less common, but growing. At the top of the growth is biometrics (which grows according to 57% of agencies) that will allow planners to know the corporal reactions of attendees, from their facial expressions to their heartbeat; big data (54%) that will allow to extract intelligence of the data generated around the event; micro-localization tools such as beacons (51%) that make it possible to send highly localized communications to attendees and know their location to generate valuable heat maps in events.
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