Cvent CEO and Founder, Reggie Aggarwal, delivered an optimistic opening keynote on the future of the events industry to MICE, marketing and hospitality professionals at the company’s annual conference, Cvent CONNECT Europe today. In his address, Aggarwal reflected on the accelerated digital transformation the meetings and hospitality industries have undergone over the last few years, and the positive rebound in the return for in-person experiences around the world.
“Demand is coming back, and our industry is getting healthy again. I believe we’re finally in a place where pandemic-driven changes have stabilised, and the future we’ve all imagined is within our grasp,” said Aggarwal.
Referring to how digitisation has enhanced the event experience and is helping to propel the industry forward, Aggarwal commented: “We now have more arrows in our quiver to reach more people and engage with them on a more personal level,” and recalling concern from those outside of the industry who thought the pandemic would spell the demise of meetings and events he countered: “Because of the pandemic-driven digital transformation…we’re stronger, smarter, and savvier than ever.”
Aggarwal referenced his late 2020 prediction that, because of digital transformation, the industry was on the cusp of the Golden Age of Events; a time when events are more numerous, more impactful, and a more critical part of the business landscape. Aggarwal declared the future he anticipated is now being realised as organisations embrace technology as a core competency to maximise the impact of their MICE programmes.
Throughout his keynote, Aggarwal highlighted real-life examples of Cvent customers across Europe who are leveraging technology to drive positive business results across four key pillars. These pillars are;
- The Total Event Programme (TEP) Powered by One Platform | An organisation’s TEP includes all the events an organisation hosts or attends, whether internal or external, across all formats: in-person, virtual, and hybrid. This all-encompassing view encourages organisations to think about their event strategy as one cohesive programme rather than a disparate collection of events or marketing campaigns. By adopting this mindset, event and marketing professionals can maximise reach and impact, and deliver an event programme that generates more value for their audiences and stakeholders.
However, Aggarwal said, it takes more than just a mindset to deliver results. Today’s more dynamic events landscape means organisations increasingly need one centralised platform to manage all aspects of their event strategy. “You truly unlock the full potential of any event programme when you bring it all together in one place,” commented Aggarwal.
The platform approach can also offer hospitality professionals a competitive market edge to attract MICE business to their properties. Aggarwal illustrated how Cvent’s hospitality customers have leveraged multiple Cvent solutions to bring all their data – from RFPs and digital ad performance to competitive set insights – into one place, enabling them to work more efficiently and gain visibility across their entire property portfolio.
Aggarwal affirmed why the platform approach is of importance: “In this digital-first landscape, nearly all our jobs have gotten more complicated. If you really want to maximise results, point solutions and homegrown tools just can’t stand up to the demands of this more complex environment.”
- Engagement | Digital transformation has created a new kind of engagement economy, where engagement opportunities compound and collaboration never stops. “Because of digitisation, we now have more opportunities to capture and utilise attendee engagement interactions to amplify event impact,” continued Aggarwal. “To drive maximum attendance and engagement, organisations must deliver information in more interactive ways in multiple formats, and leverage technology to act on those engagement insights.”
For hoteliers and venues, Aggarwal showcased innovative Cvent sourcing technology hospitality professionals can leverage to increase planner engagement, including interactive floor plans, online diagramming, and 3D and virtual reality. He said: “The world of online sourcing has gotten an incredible technology boost, which is not only going to help the planner, but also the destinations and hoteliers looking to attract them to their cities and properties.”
- Data & Insights | With the right technology, organisations can connect all their events, as well as attendee insights, processes and results, in one place, to deliver more personalised marketing campaigns and dynamic event experiences, which ultimately results in better business leads and improved outcomes. Aggarwal said: “Collecting the right insights across all data sources, and taking appropriate actions, is a true competitive differentiator.”
- Unifying the Ecosystem | Aggarwal explained how technology is helping to create a more unified MICE ecosystem. “Through technology, we can bring the entire meetings and events ecosystem together in one seamless digital environment. Our industry is made up of so many different players, and technology can facilitate greater collaboration between all of them and create even more incredible experiences.” To better illustrate the concept, Aggarwal highlighted some of the latest Cvent solutions and platform enhancements that will enable a more unified ecosystem including the Cvent App Marketplace, robust localisation efforts, revamped Business Transient and MICE room block management experiences, and more.
To conclude, Aggarwal reminded delegates that, “digitisation is a catalyst for success,” and encouraged them to, “challenge the status quo, learn, engage, and have the important conversations that help shape our industry” as they attend sessions and network with peers and exhibitors during Cvent CONNECT Europe, which runs through 6 October. Industry professionals can still register to attend the virtual experience, which offers conference content both live and on-demand, including Aggarwal’s opening address.