The Future of Real Estate

How to include event space in real estate strategy

March 28, 2024

How to include event space in real estate strategy

The nature of work has changed dramatically in recent years, with more distributed teams and an increased need for flexibility. At the same time, bringing people together in-person for collaboration, connection and culture building has become a top priority for many organizations. Research shows in-person collaboration leads to greater energy and engagement, clearer communication, increased creativity through impromptu interactions, and stronger relationships.

To meet the demand for bringing teams together face-to-face, companies are exploring how to better utilize their real estate through strategic event space usage. The key is providing a variety of formats for business and social engagement.

Defining events

Corporate events can cover a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from small, internal meetings to large-scale external programs involving thousands of attendees. However, the key focus is typically on driving engagement, connection, and collaboration. Events are evolving from one-off experiences to more integrated programs that combine business objectives with opportunities for social interaction. While corporate events were traditionally seen as extravagant expenditures, perspectives are shifting. Companies now recognize the value of bringing distributed teams together in-person for culture, morale, and productivity  

The definition of an "event" is fluid. It could be a small group workshop for 25 people focused on strategic planning. Or, it could be a multi-day conference for 5,000 attendees with keynote speeches, breakouts, and entertainment. The key elements are offering a mix of formats, driving engagement between colleagues, and integrating business goals with social interaction. As teams become more distributed, thoughtfully designed events are emerging as a crucial way to connect employees and foster organizational culture

The real estate and event relationship

As companies aim to better utilize space as part of workplace strategies, real estate and events teams increasingly collaborate. With the nature of work changing and more distributed teams, bringing people together in-person for collaboration, connection and culture has become a priority for many organizations. The key is offering a mix of event formats including conferences, training, team building activities, town halls  to meet various business needs. 

Event space opportunities

Using event space strategically presents several opportunities for organizations, according to industry experts. As noted by ERA Events, one major opportunity is the ability to smooth occupancy peaks and valleys. By booking event space during traditionally slow periods, companies can optimize real estate usage. This leads to a more consistent occupancy rate and reduces wasted space  

Strategic event booking also reduces real estate risk. Having flexible event space available helps hedge against market changes. If business needs shift and require less permanent office space, the company won't be stuck with excess unused real estate  

In addition, centralized tracking of event bookings provides data to inform future space planning. Analyzing booking patterns over time gives real estate teams the insights needed to right-size office space.

Event space challenges 

Real estate and workplace leaders face several challenges when attempting to optimize event space usage. Organizations can sometimes struggle with unclear communication between real estate and events teams when booking spaces. There can be a lack of consolidated vendor relationships and centralized processes for managing events, making it difficult to coordinate bookings smoothly, especially when planning events on a global scale.

Additionally, real estate leaders note it can be challenging to accurately track bookings and spending data across properties and business units. Without visibility into how spaces are being used, it's nearly impossible to optimize utilization or understand how to right-size real estate portfolios. This inability to connect data between systems and properties hinders strategic decision making

Potential solutions for event space 

A number of solutions can address the communication, vendor, tracking, and billing issues that arise from event space optimization efforts. The recommendations below represent leading practices that organizations around the globe are implementing to better meet their event goals:

A unified booking platform can all venue requirements  into one consolidated system. This allows all relevant stakeholders visibility into upcoming events.. Using a single platform also helps with consolidating vendor relationships as long as they have global capabilities.. This prevents organizations from constantly vetting new, local vendors. When teams have an easy centralized way to manage bookings they also gain insight into space utilization and costs. This informs data-driven planning for future space needs. 

Finally, consolidated billing and cost allocation eliminates the complexity of reconciling venue invoices and relevant usage and overhead costs can be automatically allocated to the appropriate business units


Bringing real estate and events teams together is crucial for successful implementation of an integrated strategy. Here are some tips:

  • Hold kickoff meetings with stakeholders from both teams to align on goals, timeline, responsibilities.  
  • Clearly outline measurable objectives such as utilization rates, peak smoothing, cost savings.
  • Develop a phased rollout plan and timeline with milestones.
  • Assign team members responsibilities based on their strengths. Real estate understands space capabilities, events knows logistics.
  • Establish regular check-ins to monitor progress and address roadblocks.
  • Create a shared calendar and booking system for visibility into upcoming events.
  • Provide training if needed on new processes and technology.
  • Start small with pilot programs to test and refine the strategy.  

With robust planning and collaboration, real estate and events teams can optimize spaces for diverse uses through an integrated strategy

Measuring success

The key metrics for measuring the success of optimizing real estate through strategic event space usage include:

Occupancy rates

Tracking occupancy rates for event spaces allows organizations to understand usage levels and identify opportunities to increase bookings and revenue

Real estate costs

Monitoring real estate costs as a percentage of revenue can help benchmark spending and demonstrate the financial impact of optimizing space

Event satisfaction

Regular surveys to measure attendee satisfaction provide insight into the experience and value of events. This helps guide programming and space improvements

Utilization rates

Tracking the percentage of time event spaces are booked shows the efficiency of usage. Higher utilization signals the spaces are meeting demand 

Revenue per square foot

Calculating revenue relative to square footage for event spaces quantifies the financial productivity of real estate

Booking data 

Analysis of booking data such as dates, times, space requirements, and spend provides the foundation for data-driven space planning

Vendor performance

Evaluating metrics like service quality and cost effectiveness for vendors including caterers, A/V providers, etc. ensures successful delivery of events

The strategic importance of event space

As global companies aim to make the most of their real estate investments in today's changing workplace, strategically utilizing space for events is critical. With distributed teams becoming the norm, bringing people together in-person for collaboration, connection, and culture-building is a priority. The events and real estate functions must work together seamlessly to take advantage of opportunities like smoothing occupancy peaks and informing future space needs. With solutions like consolidated booking platforms and vendor relationships in place, companies can optimize their real estate through agile, purposeful usage of space varied events. Ultimately, this strategy allows organizations to maximize their return on real estate assets while enabling the in-person experiences that drive business results