As Australia returns to a sense of normality in the post-pandemic climate, recent research by Business Events Australia has revealed that consumer confidence has bounced back in the events industry. While there is continued recognition of the need for virtual and hybrid events, there is a strong desire to reconnect with others at face-to-face events.
At HeadBox, we have seen a growing trend towards more optimistic sentiment from corporate bookers, which is paving the way for venues across the country to rebuild their events schedules. In fact, we’ve seen a massive increase in event enquiries from Q4 to Q1 and have been busy expanding our team to support the influx of corporate event bookings. While some health related and travel restriction concerns remain, the overall outlook for the events industry is overwhelmingly positive.
Changing attitudes towards holding overseas events
The vast majority of survey respondents who usually hold one or more events overseas each year, indicated they are likely to relocate at least one of these events to Australia. Over three quarters of respondents indicated they were comfortable with the idea of travelling interstate for corporate events, with the main concerns being around COVID-19 safety.
We expect to see a huge lift in the number of corporate events booked across Australia, with 67% of corporate bookers planning events in Australia over the next 6-12 months and a further 74% planning local events over the next 12-24 months. With some trepidation remaining over border restrictions, 94% of corporate bookers indicated they would likely host their event in their home state, with most being held in capital cities or outer metro areas.
Building team morale is high on the agenda
For those planning events within the next 18 months, the top 3 event types include state level conferences, national conferences and incentive events, while the top reasons for holding events indicated building team morale and connections was high on the agenda. Additional reasons include rewarding employees and engaging stakeholders and company culture.
The main factors influencing event confidence are venue capacity restrictions, travel restrictions and location reputation concerns. Although existing domestic border restrictions has had a huge influence on event confidence, we currently have no border restrictions in Australia, which has provided a massive boost to consumer confidence.
Budget concerns are not influencing decisions
Looking forward, 84% of respondents say their domestic events budget for the next 12 months will be the same as 2019-20 or higher. Another promising indication for the events industry is that 81% confirmed their events would have a similar number of attendees or more in the next 12 months compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Important considerations for in-person events
As the mindset continues to shift to the ‘new normal’, it’s important to harness the new trends, evolution and technology that we have learned over the past two years. 2022 is shaping up to be a year of resetting, while 2023 and beyond will see renewed energy and styles emerge in the events industry. Below we’ve outlined some important considerations for both venues and corporate bookers as we return to face-to-face events.
- Value proposition
It’s increasingly important to have a holistic view of the overarching objective of an event. The key to designing engaging, safe and creative events is to ensure the event structure is aligned with the needs of the attendees. While survey respondents indicated budgets were not a primary factor affecting decision-making, it is still vital to highlight the value for attendees.
- Risk management
While the majority of attendees are keen to return to in-person interactions, some reservations around safety remain and therefore risk mitigation strategies need to be high on the agenda. Key considerations involve planning a virtual element as well as ensuring flexible terms and conditions with suppliers have been negotiated. There is an increased need for a more conservative calculation of expected attendees and ensuring venues have COVID safety protocols in place and clear messaging around the health and safety precautions for attendees.
- Changing event expectations
There has been a growing shift in event expectations, with emerging innovations and creativity now needing a more considered focus. While networking with peers and leaders is one of the strongest drivers for in-person event attendance, more interactive and engaging experiences will also be a strong driving factor determining attendance. The events industry has evolved rapidly over the past couple of years and new standards and benchmarks determining attendee satisfaction have emerged.
As the events industry continues to bounce back in 2022, it is clear consumers have realised the importance of connecting at events, providing a boost to their value and importance. While safety remains a primary concern, this paves the way for venues to create events that are engaging, safe and creative.
The HeadBox team are here to help you plan and facilitate your events programme – get in touch to find out more about how we can help you join the hundreds of other venues who are already well on the way to re-establishing their event schedules in 2022 and beyond.
1. Who can use HeadBox?
Anyone! Whether you’re a corporate booker looking for a private dining room, meeting room, Christmas or EOFY party venue or you’re a social booker looking for the perfect spot to host your birthday party, hens night or wedding – HeadBox has you covered.
2. What is HeadBox?
HeadBox connects corporate and consumer bookers with venues and suppliers and is the easy way to book, manage and deliver everything in one place. No long searches, no stress, no hidden costs.
3. How do I submit an event brief?
Submitting an event brief is an easy process. Our intuitive brief builder will take you through a series of questions collecting all the necessary details needed to host a great event. We want to know details such as where your event will take place, on what date, how many people are attending, and what your total budget is. Once you submit this information, relevant and available venues will respond to your brief!
4. How long will it take for venues to respond?
Our venues are super quick to respond! You should receive responses or a proposal within 24-48 business hours.
5. What are the top 5 things to consider when choosing a venue?
The cost, the location, style, capacity & catering options.