2024 Industry Trends for Venues

January 12, 2024
News Release

While the hospitality industry is anticipating growth in 2024, economists are cautioning about the back half of the year for the U.S., keeping CEOs on their toes about what is to come. 

The Group Customer Pulse

The results from the Q4 2023 Encore Planner Pulse survey show that 47% of meeting professionals are increasing budgets for 2024 and 40% expect to remain flat. This is a similar outlook to what we heard in early 2023 and illustrates a baseline understanding that the cost of doing business has increased and therefore budgets must increase.  

When asked if forced to cut budgets, top areas included décor, entertainment, and off-site excursions. As a hospitality professional, that gives me a sense of relief that our group customers feel the value that the hotel, food & beverage and event technology experiences deliver to the success of their event.   

But here’s where we still have our work cut out for us: When asked what areas they are most challenged by their stakeholders to defend their spend, both event technology and food & beverage rank in the top five areas of concern.  

What we take away from that is that the path to continued growth will require us to innovate and effectively communicate the value of the total event experience to an organization, with event technology and food and beverage as priority components.  

Insights For the Future

In 2023, Encore embarked on a journey with a leading research firm to conduct qualitative research across business leaders and influencers around the globe, as well as in-depth quantitative research among event professionals. What we’ve learned: the shifting cultural values of our time that we’ve all felt, seen, and read about in the news over the last two years are quickly actualizing. 

That shifting culture should impact how we serve our teams and our customers in 2024 and beyond. 

Insight #1: There’s increased interest in the individual, societal, organizational, and cultural impact of events.  

Reasons to believe:

  • 74% of global adults believe businesses have a responsibility to make society fairer  
  • 39% report that ‘being memorable’ is the second most important thing in events  

Business implication:
There’s opportunity to cater to the value system of the attendees by innovating aspects of sustainability and DEIB throughout the F&B and event technology experience to incrementally deliver a “return on emotion” that makes events more memorable. Delivering ROI and ROE arms our customers with more data to support their business case for meetings.

Insight #2: Emerging tools for AR, AI and virtual experiences will remain buzz-worthy and begin to see more adoption, but human connection remains a top value.

Reasons to believe:

  • 32% of global adults believe “connecting with others” is a top three priority for events, behind “being memorable”  
  • 69% believe “humanness”— seeking to connect with real people — is an extremely or very important personal value  

Business implication: While the value system that in-person, real-life connection is paramount, it will inevitably need supplementation from technology to deliver the wow factor, personalization and immersive qualities that have taken hold in the zeitgeist. Innovations in event technology and production are a vital part of total revenue growth and the customer experience. 

Insight #3: A sense of belonging is non-negotiable at events.

Reason to believe: 52% of global adults believe belonging is an extremely or very important personal value

Business implication: We should evaluate how we are training our teams to continue to elevate personalized, empathetic service and exceed customer expectations in every facet of the event experience. Encore has taken a page from our esteemed hospitality partners and spent the last year entrenched in training for customer experience with unmistakable improvements, most notably marked by being named as the Official Event Solutions Partner to Forbes Travel Guide. Much like how Sage Hospitality continues to cultivate new and exciting experiences within the walls of their properties and the communities in which they reside. In 2024, we see the opportunity for all organizations, including ours, to elevate CX through the marriage of smart internal technology and strong cultures of belonging that will make our teams’ workdays more effective, fulfilling, and connected to our greater purpose to serve our customers and our communities. 

Key Questions to Ask Your Management Team:

  • How invested is the hotel in training for the next year? 
  • How invested are your key partners to deliver the service that matches your brand promise? 

When looking to maximize event trends to drive incremental revenue, the path can seem daunting to owners, management companies, and the venues themselves. Knowing the end-user customers, keeping your hand on the pulse of the industry and ensuring you have the right partners can ensure a smooth journey toward enhancing revenue streams, providing value, improving overall client satisfaction.