Report: Event Industry Insights for the New Year—and Decade—Ahead

A new Eventbrite report asks event professionals to share their biggest challenges and budget concerns, as well as how to promote meaningful sustainability practices.

E-tickets are among the strategies planners said they plan to use to create more sustainable events.
E-tickets are among the strategies planners said they plan to use to create more sustainable events.
Photo: thanasus/iStock

What are the top three challenges keeping event creators awake at night? According to a recent report by Eventbrite, reaching new attendees tops the list at 66 percent, while insufficient budgets and ticket sales follow close behind. 

The 2020 “State of Gathering in North America” trend report is based on a survey of more than 2,800 Eventbrite creators producing events in the United States and Canada. 

The survey asked respondents to list the top ways to tackle sustainability in 2020—for which 87 percent said that they use e-tickets to reduce paper waste, while others listed using biodegradable items, offering vegan food, and encouraging the use of public transportation.

Christy Huggins, Eventbrite’s director of global growth marketing, says that creating a sustainable event doesn’t have to break the bank. “They can make some small choices that can really make a difference in sustainability, and that's what consumers want to see,” Huggins says.

Regarding bigger-picture budget trends, 40 percent of event creators expect their budgets to increase in the coming year. At the same time, the survey found that 33 percent are worried about insufficient budgets.

“Event creators want to give their attendees the absolute best experience that they can. They’re entrepreneurs—they dream big; they want to do a lot,” Huggins said. “Unfortunately, they need to balance that big ambition with their budgets. The cost of promotion, venues, and other logistics are always increasing over time and cutting into their overall budgets, so they constantly need to prioritize and make trade-offs, even if they are increasing their budgets.”

The report lists the top four event marketing tactics to help grow audience. Content marketing topped the list, showing that engaging in blog posts, videos, GIFs, and social media are vital in expanding the market. Investing in a public relations team and experiential marketing (think immersive experiences and Instagrammable backdrops) also made the list. 

“People want these real-life experiences, and they want to be able to put it on Instagram and show their friends that they were there,” says Huggins.

Nearly all respondents, at 93 percent, said that the use of video was also effective for marketing. 

“One of the things that we’re seeing a lot is Instagram stories,” notes Huggins. “We ran a campaign here at Eventbrite over New Year’s Eve to help sell more tickets for our creators, and our Instagram stories by far out-performed our other ads. The short-form with audio performed really strongly, and it's definitely an accessible format for a lot of different event creators to create and use.”        

The full report is available here
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