Recap of Cvent CONNECT Europe and the Accelerated Digital Transformation

More than 2,700 industry professionals registered for the conference to master the evolving events landscape and prepare their organisations for the future
17th Oct, 2022

Cvent brought together event organisers, marketing and hospitality industry professionals from across Europe to its annual event technology conference: Cvent CONNECT Europe.

This year’s event saw a nearly 170% increase in in-person attendance over 2021’s hybrid event, highlighting the desire for meetings and hospitality professionals to get back to in-person events and prepare their organisations for the future.

The multi-day hybrid event (which ran from 4 – 6 October) offered both an in-person experience at the InterContinental London - The O2, and an immersive virtual experience powered by the Cvent Attendee Hub for those attending remotely.

An additional in-person experience was hosted in Germany on 5 October at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel, offering local attendees the opportunity to view and engage with live sessions streamed from the conference in London. It also provided localised breakout sessions and networking opportunities between peers and industry experts.

Cvent CEO and Founder, Reggie Aggarwal (pictured below), opened the conference with an optimistic keynote on the future of the events industry. 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. “Because of the pandemic-driven digital transformation…we’re stronger, smarter, and savvier than ever,” said Aggarwal.

In his presentation, 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.” He 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 event technology to drive positive business results across four key pillars. These pillars are:

  1. The Total Event Programme (TEP) Powered by One Platform;
  2. Attendee Engagement;
  3. Data & Insights;
  4. Unifying the Ecosystem

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,” during the event.

The conference agenda included more than 45 workshops, panel sessions, roundtable discussions and networking events, and was designed to educate, inspire and empower industry professionals with the tools and insights they need to flourish in the evolving events landscape. In addition to delivering the latest industry insights, best practices and technology innovation, this year’s Cvent CONNECT Europe was designed to champion industry leaders and association groups - creating a dedicated forum to facilitate open discussion and foster greater collaboration across sectors.

What Cvent CONNECT Europe attendees had to say:

“Cvent CONNECT Europe has been fantastic! I attended my first CONNECT event last year, and I’ve been really pleased by how different and innovative the content has been. I’ve taken away so many great things that I can use to build our events platform.” – Nicola Rowe, Events Manager, University of Greenwich

"To be around so many event planner clients at Cvent CONNECT Europe is an amazing feeling. It's great to see everyone excited to be back again and to be in a room full of people!" - Fanny Stjernvall, Assistant Director of Event Planning, The Savoy

Sessions from the event are available on-demand on the Cvent CONNECT Europe website until 4 November 2022. Registration to view the content is free and open to anyone.

More about Cvent CONNECT Europe

New 2022 programming:

  • Cvent Europe Excellence Awards | Following a successful ten-year run in the United States, this year marked the inaugural European awards programme, which showcases industry leaders from a diverse set of organisations who use Cvent technology in new and inspiring ways to deliver best-in-class event experiences and drive positive business results. Winners were recognised at a live in-person ceremony on 5 October in London, which was also broadcast live to a virtual audience.
  • Leadership Summit | Running parallel to the conference agenda, this invitation-only programme brought together senior event and marketing leaders from across Europe (from sectors including finance, life sciences, technology and hospitality) to share their ideas and discuss best practices that can inform strategies and plans to maximise business impact in 2023 and beyond.
  • Fast Forward 15 (FF15) Education Day | Running alongside the main conference agenda FF15, a top mentoring programme for women in the events industry, brought mentees and mentors together for an interactive session dedicated to confidence building exercises and upskilling. 

Additional conference highlights:

  • Featured Keynote Speakers | Cvent brought renowned external keynote speakers to the main stage including Ashley Banjo MBE (pictured below), choreographer and founder of dance troupe Diversity and Cally Beaton, media entrepreneur, podcaster, writer, stand-up comedian and former Senior VP at Viacom. Ashley discussed leadership strategies including how to establish supportive and empowering environments and create pathways for group success. Cally’s presentation combined her unique brand of wit and storytelling to provide useful tips on how to successfully navigate personal and organisational change.
  • Innovation Pavilion | In-person attendees had the opportunity to engage and interact with Cvent solutions. In addition, the product roadmap general sessions offered attendees a comprehensive look into new features and exciting developments across Cvent’s entire platform.
  • Curated meetups | In-person attendees enjoyed numerous face-to-face networking opportunities throughout the conference as well as evening events to connect with their peers, while virtual attendees interacted with other online delegates in topic-driven roundtable discussions and talked (via chat functions) with each other in real-time.
  • Cvent Academy Training Workshops | Only available to in-person attendees, the workshops were hosted on 4 October and provided a dedicated day of CMP-accredited immersive classroom-style training and networking tailored to active Cvent users.

Key sessions highlights:

  • “The BIG Community Conversation – MICE Associations United”: Leading MICE associations and membership groups came together, and with attendees shared their perspectives and experiences on critical diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) issues that face the industry today. The aim of the conservation was to unite across sectors to find strategies and actionable insights that will drive positive change. Joining the session were representatives from The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Event & Visual Communication Association (EVCOM), International Corporate Events (ICE), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and New Intent – a recently launched DE&I and environmental action advocacy organisation.
  • “Buyer Insights: What Do Event Planners & Travel Buyers Want from Hotels?”: Andy Besent, Head of Sales, Leonardo & NYX Hotels (UK & Ireland) and Heather Sharp, Client Solutions Director, Ashfield Event Experience joined this session which discussed the October 2022 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition. The report surveyed more than 500 event planners across Europe in Q3 2022 about their plans, preferences and supplier requirements for in-person event sourcing. The session revealed the key findings from the report and provided insights about what destinations, hotels and venues must bring to the table to win 2022 and 2023 events business.
  • “Track Your Sustainability Goals: Understanding the Impact of Your Events”: A panel of carbon calculator experts and sustainability specialists, including Matthew Grey, Founder, Event: decision; Abena Fairweather, Founding Director, Legacy Events; and Anna Abdelnoor, Co-Founder, Isla joined this panel to unpack the complexities of how to track and improve the environmental impact of events. The follow-up session to this: “Act on Your Sustainability Goals: How to Implement Tangible Emission Reduction Strategies,” provided best practice tips to help create meetings and events in a sustainable way led by Sofia Eriksson, Senior Manager, Global Business Development American Express Meetings & Events and Eloisa Urrutia, Head of Sustainability - Meetings & Events, American Express Global Business Travel.
  • “How to Activate the Goodness of Your Event Beyond its Live Date(s)”: This session covered how to utilise marketing and event data in tandem to create more personalised content programmes that offer year-round engagement, community support and development.
  • “CVBs and MICE Business: Destinations’ Role in the Recovery”: Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) are important players in attracting MICE business and delivering outstanding in-person event experiences in their destinations. In this session, attendees heard from speakers including Charlotte Gough, Divisional Director of Corporate Engagement, MCI UK; Bart Antonissen, Account Manager, Amsterdam Convention Bureau; Paul Black, Head of Business Events, Visit Britain; and Emma Waycot, Managing Director, Vine Tree Connections about their MICE strategies and tactics.

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