EVERY EVENT IS UNIQUE
BUT THE CHALLENGES ARE OFTEN THE SAME

Your event is unique. But the trends, opportunities, and challenges facing event organisers are often the same — whether you’re running a large conference or events for a small charity.

Getting insight into how other successful organisers run their events could be the key to taking yours to the next level. This is why we asked you — event industry professionals — how you’re running your business in 2019.

In this exclusive report, you’ll discover how your event compares to local industry standards. Based on survey responses from more than 600 event creators across Australia, this data represents a wide range of event types and sizes.

Read on to better understand how your event stacks up — and get specific tips for zeroing in on ways to make your event successful. You'll be surprised by what opportunities you may have overlooked.

Methodology

The results of the 2019 Pulse Report are based on responses from more than 600 event professionals in Australia*. These event creators organise everything from business and networking events to performing arts and entertainment events, from classes and workshops to nonprofit events to fitness events and festivals.

600+

More than 600 event professionals

44%

have teams of less than
 5 people

39%

Run 2-5 events in a year

56%

say the purpose of their events is to educate or to build community

These event creators wear multiple hats

When asked about their primary event-related responsibilities, these event creators do a bit of everything, including:

77%

Managing ticketing and registrations

81%

Promoting the event

64%

Managing social media and community

70%

Branding and marketing the event

74%

Ensuring the event runs smoothly

This report is for

Any event professional who wants to gain a deep understanding of the current state of the events industry. Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or you’ve been involved for years, use this report to benchmark against other professionals.

You’ll learn…

The technology and tactics event professionals consider most and least effective

The most common challenges events face today and how to overcome them

The industry trends you’ve been ignoring — but shouldn’t

*Eventbrite surveyed over 4,000 people working inside the events industry worldwide — including professional event organisers, vendors and suppliers. In Australia, over 600 individuals participated in the survey; of those, we qualified 486 individuals (n = 486).

— 01

THE EVENTS INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE: THE MARKET FOR LIVE EXPERIENCES IS GROWING

The event industry is financially healthy: Budgets are growing or staying stable; very few events report shrinking budgets.

So where is this spend going? And how are events defining success? Read on to learn more about the events landscape in 2019.

More events and bigger budgets in 2019

The events industry is thriving — nearly half of respondents (46%) said they plan to host more events in 2019; 48% plan to host the same number of events. And, 39% of survey-takers said they typically run two to five events a year.

The biggest driver of budget growth is marketing and promotion. 36% say they will be increasing spending in this area — notable given that marketing and promotion is already tied for the top spend category (alongside food and beverage).

say they will be increasing spending on marketing and promotion in 2019

Key Takeaway

Marketing and promotion is where events teams are increasing their budget (and staff). This complete guide to event marketing will help you get it right, whether it’s your first event or your hundredth.

TOP REVENUE SOURCES AND GOALS FOR SUCCESS

Top sources of event revenue

  • Ticket Sales

  • Sponsorships

  • Donations

Having the right event metrics can help you fine tune your marketing, improve sales and increase your attendance turnout. But what metrics should you, as an event organiser, be focusing on?

These are the top three metrics event creators use to measure success:

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Overall Attendance Rate

83%

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Verbal Feedback

50%

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Attendee Data

34%

While these metrics are important, you might be surprised by how little else event creators measure to track success. Only 24% collect post-event surveys. Just 32% do any type of social media monitoring during or after their event. These are big opportunities to develop and improve.

TOP THREE CHALLENGES FOR THE INDUSTRY:

Continued struggles to expand reach — and budget

Reaching new attendees

The number one challenge for event creators in 2019 is reaching new attendees (55%). To this end, it’s vital for event organisers to refine their skills in marketing, promotion, social media, and community building.

Insufficient budget

Even with 32% of respondents increasing budgets in 2019, the need to make budgets stretch is still a challenge. 4 out of 10 respondents (40%) say insufficient budget is among their top challenges in the event industry.

Increased competition

Australia’s appetite for events is ever-increasing, particularly with Millennials and Gen Z putting more value on experiences over material possessions. However, this often creates more pressure on existing events to perform as new players enter the market to cater for demand. Increased competition rounds out the top challenges for event creators, with 27% saying that it’s a concern for 2019.

The roles events teams are investing in

Most events have a small tiger team that’s doing the heavy lifting. In fact, 44% of respondents said their events team consists of less than five people and 36% are going it alone

of respondents said their
 event team consists of less than five people

Thankfully, some of these teams will be adding new team members in 2019. While more than half (62%) said their team is going to stay the same size in 2019, 23% said they plan to increase their staffing. For those that are hiring, 24% said they’re looking for marketing and communications professionals.

The good news is that once you hire an event professional, they're likely to stick around. Although events are named as one of the world’s most stressful jobs, more than half of respondents (54%) said they’re satisfied with their job in event management. And according to Indeed, the national average salary for a Event Manager is $76,899 in Australia.

Key Takeaway

If you're one of the lucky 23% who gets to grow their events team next year, lean into marketing. No one will come to your event if they don’t know about it. That’s why events are growing their marketing and communications team. If you haven’t invested in a strong marketing team, and put effort into how you’re conveying why your event is worth attending, now’s the time to do so.

LOOKING TO SUPERCHARGE THE OUTPUT OF A SMALL TEAM?

— 02

STRATEGIES TO DRIVE ATTENDANCE: THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF EVENT MARKETING
 IN 2019

More than half of respondents (53%) said marketing and promotion was a top expense in 2018. And this trend shows no sign of slowing: 36% say their budget for marketing and promotion will increase in 2019.

But even with a stable or increased budget, the push is on to get scrappy about marketing and promotion. 55% of event creators state that “reaching new attendees” is their biggest challenge, and increased competition (27%) is the biggest trend affecting them. That means event creators need to know where to invest their marketing dollars and where to cut their efforts.

THE MOST EFFECTIVE MARKETING TACTICS IN 2018

With seemingly infinite tools at your disposal — social media, email marketing, discovery sites, paid ads — it’s hard to know where to focus your attention. Benchmark yourself against the tactics that event professionals said were most effective in 2018.

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WORD OF MOUTH 56%

Partially thanks to the rise of social media, one of the oldest types of marketing is more powerful than ever before: word of mouth.

Put it into action: Find the passionate advocates within your existing customer base, and give them the tools and motivation to help sell tickets. Learn how you can identify social ringleaders — the people who attend the most events, invite the most friends, and spread the most hype about your event.

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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 46%

In 2018, Facebook and Instagram were the top social platforms to reach event-goers. The more you post and gain followers, the more people come to your event, the more people post on social media about your event — which in turn drives more followers to your account and the cycle begins again.

Put it into action: Selling out your events is your top priority. And your social media strategy is how to make it happen. Make sure your social promotions have the most impact they can by selling directly on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

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EMAIL MARKETING 40%

When it comes to marketing your event, you can’t ignore email. And event creators agree: email rounds out the top three most effective channels for event marketing.

Put it into action: If you’re resting on the email practices you instituted five years ago, you’re not doing email right anymore. Not sure where your email strategy stacks up? Check out this benchmarking survey to see how your email marketing efforts compare, and where you could polish your efforts to differentiate your event emails from your competition.

MOST EFFECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA TACTICS IN 2018

Event marketers use a variety of social media tactics to promote their event. Of those that were used in 2018, these were voted into the top three.

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Organic Social

37 graph

Paid Facebook/Instagram Ads

8 graph

Video and Live-Streaming

THE THREE MOST OVERLOOKED — BUT EFFECTIVE — EVENT PROMOTION STRATEGIES

Don't stop at the promotional tactics every event is using. Here are some tactics that event marketers aren’t using to set you apartment from the competition.

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INFLUENCER MARKETING (ONLY USED BY 46%)

With ‘word of mouth’ and ‘social media marketing’ topping out the most effective marketing techniques, influencer marketing provides a big opportunity to combine the two. In fact,
 82% of consumers are likely to trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. Micro-influencers are also gaining in popularity — that is, people with followings that are smaller but extremely valuable to your event. Because of their hyperlocal and engaged followers, they can be very effective in converting fans to attendees.

Put it into action: Chances are you will find no shortage of people willing to talk about your event for a price, but it will be a wasted effort if they aren’t driving traffic to your event page. Do your homework before you commit to hiring an influencer and make sure you track their results so you know who is worth using again in future.

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SEO (ONLY USED BY 43%)

More than half (57%) of respondents said they aren’t using SEO. But if you’re not investing in search engine optimisation (SEO) for your event pages, you’re losing sales. Research shows that 89% of attendees use search for purchase decisions.

Put it into action: Set up your site to be search engine-friendly to ensure that people can find your event when they do a web search. When potential attendees are looking online for something to do, make sure your event shows up first.

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EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING (ONLY USED BY 38%)

Nearly 62% of event creators aren’t using experiential marketing. But immersive, live, and memorable, experiential campaigns can help you capture your audience’s attention. In addition, experiential marketing can help you humanise your or a sponsor’s brand, and create experiences that leave people with lasting, positive brand impressions.

Put it into action: While there’s no one right way to approach experiential marketing, at its core it’s all about immersing consumers in memorable live experiences. What to learn how brands have made experiential marketing work for them? Check out Experiential Marketing, Defined — and Examples to Inspire You.

FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM REVEAL HOW USERS DISCOVER EVENTS

Download this ebook for insider tips on how to use social media to reach a local audience and build your event’s community.

— 03

2019 TECHNOLOGY TRENDS FOR THE EVENTS INDUSTRY

Smartphones, wireless headphones, smart watches. Event professionals rely on personal technology to plan events. But uptake of exciting new technologies at events is still muted (likely due to cost).

While some new technologies seem a bit more about glitz and novelty (read: robots, drones, holograms), the research shows that event creators aren’t cashing in on flashy tech. Instead, they’re sticking to the tools that are becoming cheaper, easier to manage, and widely used by attendees.

These are the technology that are leading the pack:

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MOBILE EVENT APPS (49%)

In 2018, 40% of respondents used mobile apps. That number will grow in 2019, with 49% of event creators planning to use the tech.

Put it into action: From comic cons and festivals to conferences and workshops, event organisers are turning to mobile apps to personalise the event. These interactive apps empower attendees to take control of their own experiences — and stay connected to all your event has to offer.

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CASHLESS PAYMENTS (47%)

Cashless payments have been slow to take off in Australia with the lag in banks taking up options like Apple Pay. With more providers beginning to embrace digital wallets, 42% of event organisers used cashless payments in 2018, and this is tipped to grow to 47% in 2019.

Put it into action: If you aren’t already taking advantage of cashless technology, you could be missing out on sales. Think about how many times you’ve skipped a purchase because the line way too long, or because you didn’t have cash? Use mobile payments like Apple Pay or SquarePOS so attendees can buy quickly. Many festivals have seen double-digit growth since implementing mobile payments.

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Livestreaming (36%)

Investing in a live video strategy can have real impact on your bottom line. In fact, viewers spend 8X longer with live video than recorded video. And video rewards brands with a
 97% increase in intent to buy.

Put it into action: As promoters compete for eyeballs in social media newsfeeds, live video is a key differentiator. That’s why 36% of event creators plan to use livestreaming in 2019, compared to only 21% in 2018. We’ve dispelled 5 common myths about livestreaming here.

— 04

WHAT EVENT ORGANISERS AREN’T THINKING ABOUT — BUT SHOULD

Issues like event security, data privacy, and sustainability are critical factors in event management. But event organisers aren’t convinced. Those big concepts are hard to prioritise when you're focused on driving attendance.

However, these are areas that could mean the difference between between a long-lasting event — and declining attendance year over year. Here are two key areas you should pay attention to in 2019.

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ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY (11%)

Just 11% of event creators say sustainability will have a big impact in 2019. But if your trash cans are overflowing with water bottles or your vendors waste resources, it could leave a bad impression on your green-leaning guests.

According to Skift, a media company that provides news, research, and marketing services for the travel industry, “Events with environmental certifications may have an advantage, but as expectations rise, this will soon be a minimum requirement.“ In fact, consumers base purchase decisions off sustainability — 75% of consumers take corporate sustainability responsibility into account when making a purchase.

of consumers take corporate sustainability responsibility into account when making a purchase.

Here’s how you can boost your sustainability now:

Choose a sustainable event venue and location.

Choose a facility that is certified with a Green Star or NABERS rating, which means the venue adheres to standards that make it energy efficient. If these venues are in short supply in your area, ask potential venues how they can help your event reduce its carbon footprint. Venue location matters, too, since how your guests get to your event matters. Look for venues that are accessible by public transportation. You can even go a step further by incentivising attendees to leave cars behind by offering a free shuttle, arranging car sharing, or other accommodations.

Offer recycling and compost at your event.

Ensure that there are clearly labelled recycling bins so that your guests know where to dispose of paper and plastic. You can go a step further and include composting bins, too. Not only will you be doing your part, but your guests will notice your brand’s commitment.

Work with a sustainable event caterer.

If you’re serving meals and snacks, show that you care about the environment. Work with vendors that use only locally and responsibly sourced ingredients and recycled or eco-friendly dinnerware. You may also consider setting up water stations to reduce the number of plastic bottles. (Bonus tip: Get in touch with a local organisation like OzHarvest or SecondBite that will accept donations of leftover food.)

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DATA PRIVACY (4%)

Only 4% say data privacy will have a big impact on their event in 2019. This could quickly change if a proposed Australian data privacy law becomes legislation — it proposes to fine companies up to $10 million if they don’t comply. If data security isn’t top of mind for your events team — it should be.

When attendees register for your event, they take for granted that their name, email, and credit card will be safe in your system. And potential attendees expect your team to protect them from data manipulation like ticketing fraud.

Here are three proactive steps you can take to keep your data safe and your customers free from fraud.

As many as one in four secondhand tickets priced over $200 is fake.

Here are three proactive steps you can take to keep your data safe and your customers free from fraud.

Keep your registration process simple and secure.

Attendees shouldn’t even notice the measures you’ve taken to protect them. This means you should avoid requiring CAPTCHA fields as part of the registration process, as they act as a signal to buyers that your checkout process isn’t secure.

Use fool-proof tech.

If you’re going to rely on your technology to ensure privacy and security for your users, choose the right technology partner. Quality ticketing technology partners should take care of advanced data security for you and make their security efforts transparent.

Choose a trusted venue.

Work with venues that take security just as seriously as you do. If your venue is collecting data from your customers, the methods and technologies have to be highly secure. Obviously, their data-collection processes must be pristine. But you should also pay attention to things like WiFi security and how on-site staff use social media during your event.

STAND OUT IN 2019

If you don’t understand your metrics — or how you compare to industry standards — you could be missing out on a huge chunk of revenue.

Take the time to evaluate your tools, technology, and resources based on what you’ve learned in this guide. Then rely on an event management system with built-in reports, so you can track your progress against these insights all year round.

To use this data to host your next great event, get started now.

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*Based on more than 700,000 event creators in 2017

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