Report: Planners Seek Customizable Venues

Convene research finds interest in virtual tour offerings and high-touch service

Convene Study Infographic

Customizable venues, virtual tour offerings, and a high level of service are what meeting and event planners are looking for today, according to a recent survey conducted by Convene. The network of meeting, event, and conference venues drew on the responses of 200 corporate planners and social planners (responsible for weddings, tour groups, and more) for the study, titled "What Meeting and Event Planners Want in 2017."

The highest percentage of event organizers who took part in the survey, 34 percent, said that they prefer to work with customizable white-box, general-purpose venues that let them tailor the space to their needs, including bringing in their own vendors.

At the other end of the spectrum of respondents, 31 percent, prefer specialized venues that prepackage almost everything. That way, hosts can focus on engaging with the attendees.

The data shows the largest shift is in the decline in preference for hotel settings as hotels are preferred by less than 20 percent of respondents. 

The importance of service over space was another finding. High-end service and help in sourcing service providers are priorities. Among the findings: 17 percent of planners believe venues don't provide enough staff for their events, 12.5 percent said they would like venues to share their lists of preferred vendors with them, and 11 percent said they would like a list of "preferred local venues" for satellite events and post-event happy hours and meals. 

Virtual tours of event spaces are becoming a must have, as well. "I'd love virtual venue tours to become commonplace," said Sarah Bondar, a senior account executive at The Charles Group, a consulting group, who Convene spoke to for the report. "It's great to have access to venues from the comfort of my desk as often as needed, without incurring flight costs or having to take the time away from my busy schedule for travel." 

See the full results and infographic here.