46% of the organisers and suppliers of events estimate that their organisation's total turnover will be higher in 2023 than in 2022. 74% indicate that their turnover increased in the past year compared to 2021. In 2022, that turnover was even higher than in 2019 for 47% of the event professionals.
This is what the results of the annual sector survey conducted by the research centre Public Impact at KdG University of Applied Sciences and Arts among 251 professionals in Belgium learn.
The sector needs data
Impact surveys conducted by the KdG research centre during the corona crisis revealed that the event sector had shrunk, possibly even by 30%. With only about 3,200 companies operating in this sector in our country in 2018, this evolution was worrying. "We are therefore delighted with these 251 participants in the survey. That is certainly not evident given the size of this sector," stresses researcher Yves Van Handenhove. "This response also confirms that event professionals consider the need for data on their sector to be important."
Events central in policy making
84% of the professionals who participated in this survey in January 2023 indicated that at least half of their annual turnover comes from organising or facilitating events. It is also notable that about a third of these are organisers, a third are suppliers and a third work for a (local) authority. "It is often forgotten that cities and municipalities are an important part of the event sector. In more and more local authorities, we see the establishment of a service specifically for organising and facilitating events. And that is a good thing", says Van Handenhove. "Previously, these tasks were (too) often (too) fragmented in (too) many different departments (culture, sports, youth, local economy ...). Data and insights were lacking, as was a policy and vision for events. But this is fortunately changing. 47% of the (local) authorities in this survey indicate that the total budgets for events in their organisation for organising and supporting events in 2023 will remain about the same as the budgets in 2022, despite the many cuts. Barely 26% indicate that these budgets will be reduced."
Concerns about rising costs
However, worrying is the increasing costs and measures. 81% fear that rising energy prices will shape their organisation's operations by 2023. 80% are concerned about the impact of rising purchase prices and 63% about rising costs in programming. It is also striking that 50% consider increasing environmental measures and 45% increasing safety measures as determining factors that will shape the organisation of their activities in the coming year. The (local) authorities in particular are concerned about this. Concerns about rising personnel costs are also keeping 74% of professionals in our country awake. 62% even fear that finding good personnel will have a negative impact on their activities. And this is true for 70% of the organisers and suppliers. Among (local) authorities, only 46% are worried about this.
Increasing demand for personnel
16% indicate that the number of staff has decreased in their organisation over the past year. For 25%, that number increased. Among organisers, this increase was strongest at 41%. Among 71% of (local) authorities, it was about the same. Cooperation with permanent freelancers also saw a decrease in more than 15% of the organisations. But with 28%, there is an increase. Again, the increase is greatest among organisers, at more than 35%. And that is hopeful.
Confidence in the future
With an average score of 7.5 out of 10, the event professionals express confidence in a positive future for the organisation or service in which they work. With a score of 8 out of 10, they even express confidence in a positive future for themselves within this organisation. This is even a higher score than the 6.3 out of 10 given by event visitors when the KdG Research Centre surveyed the public confidence at the end of 2022.
Despite concerns about rising costs and demand for personnel in a sector where there is an acute labour shortage more than ever, most Belgian event professionals say they are confident about a positive 2023. It is only to be hoped that, with this attitude and the expected increases in turnover and budget at a lot of organisations and services in the coming year, supply will be sufficient to meet the increasing demand for events.