It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any other in the meetings, events and hospitality industry. After navigating programs that have been canceled or postponed since spring, planners are surely hopeful that 2021 will bring back business and some semblance of normalcy.    

Meetings management technology company Cvent, through its Cvent Supplier Network venue sourcing program, has revealed venue sourcing data from late summer 2020 that could help planners get a better idea of what 2021 in the MICE industry might look like.

Below are five key insights from Cvent’s findings that could give planners an idea of how to better plan an event or meeting next year. 

1. The Cvent Supplier Network sourced approximately $2 billion in meeting requests for proposals in Q2 of 2020. 

Cvent added that even though the number of RFPs remain down from previous years, “conversion is currently about the same rate it was in 2019.” 

2. There has been a significant shift toward smaller meetings and events. 

Since July 2020, Cvent said 40% of all RFPs from their supplier network were for small events, and that 90% of those small event RFPs are less than 50 rooms on peak.  

For RFPs being sent and awarded in the summer months, “that business tended to be mostly space only, which broadly means no sleeping rooms needed,” said Cvent Senior Director of Analytics Jeffrey Emenecker, “just attendees coming in for the day to use physical space in the hotel—a breakout room or even a ballroom, etc.” 

3. Proposed hotel rates are down. 

According to RFPs sourced from Cvent, both proposed and awarded hotel rates are 11% below average when looking year over year. For September to December 2020, they’re down 23%; 10% for Q1 of 2021; and 3% for all of 2021. Cvent said planners can “capitalize on lower than normal rates” by sending RFPs, especially for events taking place in the remaining months of 2020. 

4. In terms of source pacing/demand for Q1 2021, many top markets are near 70%-75% of pace. 

This includes Phoenix/Scottsdale, Orlando, Nashville, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. “These pace figures will likely continue dropping between now and Q1 2021, since demand in the next several months is not expected to equal what we saw last year,” Emenecker said. 

[Related: Orlando Meetings Leaders Share Some Positive Signs of Recovery]

5. In terms of demand, mid-sized metropolitan areas have performed better on a relative basis than the major metros. 

“That trend has really been consistent since March,” Emenecker said. “Take July 2020 as an example; even though July demand was down a bit overall, the mid-sized metros held up almost at the same level as everyone else (95% of June demand), while major ones were quite a bit below (74% of June demand). Perceived or real differences in pricing, ease of driving/car access and the degree of COVID-19 case prevalence in certain areas may all play in as a factor here.” 

For more findings from Cvent’s late summer report, visit this link: https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/insights/planner-venue-sourcing-trends-2020

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