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2024: It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning Your Events

3 people looking at a calendar focusing on event planning and event management

It’s no secret that 2024 marks a pivotal (and profitable) change for the global event industry. This year we’re seeing even more in-person events of all shapes and sizes filling our calendars. But a word to the wise; if you’re planning in-person events, starting early is critical. 

With the number of corporate events set to double by 2032, the supply and demand for venues and vendors is going to be more competitive than we’ve ever seen before. For event organizers, this shift underscores the need to initiate conversations with clients much earlier in planning process than in previous years.

Earlier this year our team predicted this increase in in-person events. Today we are doubling down on why 2024 is set to be a landmark year for the events industry worldwide and how to secure yourself a slice of this trillion-dollar industry. 

Let’s get started…

The Bounceback of In-Person Events

In 2019, the global events industry market was valued at $1.1 trillion and is projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 6.4% from 2023 to 2032. This growth trajectory indicates the profitable future of in-person events but also emphasizes the need for event organizers to start planning early given how competitive the market will be. 

Early Planning: More Crucial Than Ever

Proactive planning isn't just about beating the rush; it's about securing the best possible terms for your event. Venues and hotels, while booking further out, are holding steady on contracts and pricing. This creates a unique opportunity for event planners to negotiate terms that not only meet their immediate budget needs but also provide pricing security for future events.

For instance, engaging with venues and vendors well in advance allows planners to choose their preferred AV production partners, rather than going with whoever is available. This is not merely a logistical advantage but a creative one too. It allows you to lock in the people and gear you require to create a tailored event that stands out in an increasingly crowded space.

Planning ahead also gives you the freedom to explore creative ideas, negotiate advantageous contracts, and build a buzz around your event long before the doors open.

Strategic Negotiations In The Current Market 

When it comes to in-person events in 2024, understanding the economic landscape and mastering the art of negotiation has never been more crucial. A slowdown in the global economy, coupled with a strong dollar and extended visa processing times, may put a damper on future increases in travel and events. The expectation is for travel to hit 98% of its 2019 peak by 2024—up from a recovery of 84% in 2023—with full recovery on the horizon in 2025. Yet, when adjusted for inflation, spending is not anticipated to bounce back to its pre-pandemic state until 2026. The complexities of the current and future market mean negotiation skills are absolutely vital when crafting memorable, impactful, and profitable events. 

Leveraging a Competitive Market

The first step in leveraging the current market to your advantage is mastering the art of negotiation. Early discussions with venues and vendors not only secure your dates and spaces but also open up possibilities for beneficial terms. 

a person preparing for an in person event and looking at negotiation tips

Here's how to approach these negotiations with confidence:

  • Recognize that venues are in control: Given the high demand for venues, proposing contracts with 2 or 3 year options might give you favor with your first choice venue. Depending on the venue, this may give you strong options for your future years.

  • Prioritize Your AV Production Partner: To avoid being restricted to in-house AV services, negotiate early to bring in your preferred AV production partner. This ensures that the technological and production aspects of your event are in line with your vision, and elevate the overall event experience.

  • Utilize Off-Peak Seasons: Explore the benefits of off-peak season events. Like us here at HB Live, venues and vendors may reduce rates and pricing during these times, offering a strategic advantage without the need for early booking discounts.

  • Explore Secondary Markets: Consider hosting your events in secondary, less saturated markets (like Connecticut). These areas often offer more flexibility, availability and competitive pricing, which is going to be crucial in our highly competitive industry.

While planners are more satisfied with the responsiveness of venues, pricing continues to be an issue with 47 percent of planners.

Embracing Adaptability to Overcome Challenges

To build impactful and successful events in 2024 and beyond, event planners must cultivate a mindset of adaptability, preparing not just for the event at hand but for the future landscape of event planning.

  • Continuous Learning: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and technological advancements. This ongoing education can inform more dynamic event designs and operational strategies, ensuring your offerings remain at the cutting edge.

  • Feedback Loops: Implement a robust system for collecting and analyzing feedback from attendees, clients, and vendors. This information is invaluable for refining your approach and delivering enhanced experiences in future events.

  • Risk Management: Develop comprehensive contingency plans for unforeseen circumstances. Early planning plays a crucial role here, providing the flexibility needed to navigate challenges without compromising on the event's quality or impact.

Leveraging Relationships for Growth

The relationships you build within the industry are among your most valuable assets. From vendors to partners, a network of reliable and collaborative contacts can significantly further event success and amplify your capabilities and resources.

the target audience at an in person event sitting in chairs and tips for a successful event

  • Vendor Partnerships: Cultivate strong relationships with your vendors, treating them as strategic partners. This can lead to preferential terms, insights into new services and technologies, and collaborative opportunities for creating standout events.

  • Client Engagement: Engage clients in discussions about their long-term event strategy, not just individual projects. By understanding their broader objectives, you can propose innovative solutions that align with their evolving needs, establishing yourself as an indispensable resource.

  • Community Involvement: Participate in industry forums, associations, and events. These platforms offer opportunities for learning, sharing insights, and networking, contributing to your professional growth and visibility in the field.

"Everything went great. Your crew was lovely, so easy and pleasant to work with, and the AV support was impeccable and seamless. Thank you for helping us make this event a success. We look forward to working with you again in the future!" 

—D.M. Senior Event Planner

Setting the Stage for Success

Ultimately, your goal as an event planner is to create memorable, impactful experiences that resonate with your event attendees, long after the event concludes. This requires a beautiful blend of logistics, creativity, and strategic foresight.

  • Innovative Experiences: Leverage technology and creative content to craft immersive experiences. From AR and VR to interactive sessions, these elements can transform a standard event into an unforgettable journey.

  • Personalization: Utilize data and insights to tailor the event experience to individual preferences. Personalization enhances engagement and leaves a lasting impression on attendees, encouraging repeat participation.

  • Sustainability: Incorporate sustainable practices into your event planning. Not only does this reflect well on your brand and appeal to eco-conscious attendees, but it also contributes to the broader goal of reducing the industry's environmental impact.

More than two out of five planners expect an increase in attendee numbers of up to 10 percent in 2024; 17 percent anticipate a 20 percent or more growth in attendance—State Of The Meetings Industry Report.

Not Just An Event, It’s An Experience

The landscape ahead demands not just foresight but a creative spark and the willingness to go the extra mile–early. How do we do that? By leveraging every insight, skill and connection at your disposal to create not just an event but an unforgettable experience for your speakers and guests. 

As you drive straight into the center of 2024, remember, our expertise is your resource. If you have any questions or need some advice around your event, our team is always here to help! 

Let us know how we can help.