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In-house planners ‘more valued’ but only 2 per cent aim for the boardroom

Following the release of the ICE Report 2020, in partnership with Cvent, Holly Patrick caught up with Anita Howard, founder and director of In-House Corporate Events (ICE) to take a closer look at the research.

The ICE Report 2020 found that stakeholders were increasingly seeing the value of corporate events and the in-house planners who create them. However, the report also revealed that only 2 per cent of planners have ambitions of reaching boardroom level.

Howard thinks this has something to do with the perception of the event planner role in the UK.

Anita Howard

“We as the UK don’t treat events professionally. We are not considered ‘professionals’, whereas in Germany and similarly in America, where event planning is seen as a ‘real profession’, it’s a step-stone to developing your career.

“A lot of people we were asking about developing their career, they were going to step out of events and into a broader role.”

Howard explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for in-house event planners. “If you look at how the corporates are being used in so many different ways now, COVID has been a benefit to them in some ways because everyone is amazed at the way event teams can deal with multiple layers for events and can talk to lots of different teams. That’s the value of event planners.”

Howard added that the ICE Report 2020, along with the ICE Community, aims to keep increasing the perceived value of in-house event planners.

The report also touched on the challenge of using metrics to effectively measure event performance. In 2019, 68 per cent of in-house event professionals flagged recording metrics as their main challenge, compared to 61 per cent of respondents in 2020.

However, the report indicates that measuring hasn’t become easier in 2020, but it’s importance in virtual events has decreased.

“There are particularly large decreases in the measurement of attendance, customer feedback, year-on-year performance tracking and app usage relative to live events,” the report states.

The main challenge this year for corporate planners is delivering more virtual and hybrid events with 74 per cent of respondents noting this as their top concern, “but we can’t keep running virtual and hybrid events without measuring them,” Howard added.

Looking to the future of the in-house event planning community, Howard forecasts that by 2021, live events will make a return, however, there is a growing concern over whether suppliers will have weathered the pandemic.

When asked whether COVID-19 spelt the end of high-budget award ceremonies and other expensive events, Howard was adamant that there will always be a thirst for fun, live events.

“Just watch this space!”