Buyer Q&A: Events Are Back In-Person; Clients Concerned Over Costs

Continuing our “Buyer Q&A” series, Meeting Spotlight recently spoke with Nicky Ratcliffe, director, business development, BCD Meetings & Events, who tells us clients are showing concern about the continued high costs of venues and F&B, as well as their desire for face-to-face events.

What are some trends in the meeting and incentive industry that you have seen in recent months? Do you think these trends will last? How are you adjusting to those trends? 

Skyrocketing costs for food and beverage in hotels and A/V costs and, [therefore], managing your client’s expectation around budgeting. I hope the costs will level out but I’m not sure when. Clients certainly want everything to go back to costs pre-COVID

How are you structuring your meeting strategy moving forward in terms of virtual events vs. in person events? Are Hybrid events here to stay? 

Our clients at BCD are 97 percent back to face-to-face as they don’t see the value in hybrid because it’s costly and those virtual attendees do not get the same experience. 

As the global hospitality industry bounces back, there are lasting impacts including hiring challenges, closures within destinations and service-level changes. Are these challenges still affecting your sourcing needs? If so, how are you handling this with your teams?

Wait times on RFP from hotels are a lot longer—and, again, this is a challenge to manage your clients’ expectations.   

Do you foresee your event budget increasing or decreasing moving forward?

I see it increasing to keep up with high vendor costs. 

What are the top three most important elements you look for when securing a supplier or venue?    

The attendee experience is always at the top of my list, and this is evident across all suppliers and venues. Additionally:  

  • Location and ease of destination in relation to airport.   
  • Flexible meeting space and F&B options 
  • Value for money overall 

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