Event Planning Software is a Key Focus for Planners in 2009

According to the 2009 HSMAI Event Planner Survey, when it comes to suppliers, meeting planners are focused on three key areas: general venues, promotional items and event planning software. The survey was conducted at the 9th Annual HSMAI's Affordable Meetings Mid-America Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

The survey's findings are not too surprising, seeing as how planners want to find and connect with suppliers that are offering significant value add deals. In regards to software, this trend makes sense seeing as how companies report an increasing reliance on technology in their meeting management and marketing, according to the report.

Overall, the survey's 189 attendees are focusing on software and best practices that will promote efficiency in how they conduct meetings. They want venues with value, not necessarily just a strong brand.

Other key findings include:

• Most meeting planners expect no more than 10 meetings this year

• Budgets have decreased, but for the most part the decline has been moderate—a 10 percent decrease at most

• Most planners are expecting attendance rates of 100 to 1,000 people

• Customer service was named a top reason that planners select a specific event venue this year, joining last year's noted factors of price, location and size of event space

• Environmental issues (eco-friendly operations, smart building design, etc.) and brand recognition have a low impact on venue selection
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