Here are my 10 predictions for the M&E industry for the next 12 months:
10) MORE EVENTS in 2010, but a slow increase over 2009, due to strong budget restraint, combined with a corporate fear of having the media and investors view expenditures as wasteful.
9) RFPs ARE THE NEW NORM. Procurement, Finance and Third Party Planners will want to demonstrate that they have performed “due diligence,” so will request multiple suppliers bid on new projects. However, to keep the cost of vetting suppliers low, more RFPs will encompass multiple events or even multiple years. As the cost of preparing proposals can be high, smart suppliers will decline to invest in bids that they have little or no chance to win.
8) VENUES WILL RAISE RATES QUICKLY as the industry starts to improve. Mid-range venues will raise rates first, since they will see the biggest increases in business. Too many hotels and sites are operating at a loss and cannot continue to do so and survive.
7) PLANNERS WILL HAVE TO JUSTIFY HIGHER PRICES. It is going to be challenging for planners to explain to budget owners why rates are raising when we are in a recession, but venue owners and investors will demand an increased return on investment as soon as business conditions allow.
6) THE SUCCESSFUL MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS OF EVENT DATA will be critical to justifying future events. Although the on-site experience is still important, it is secondary to achieving business objectives. Successful planners will be those who can show how their events further client business development, solve issues or result in more favourable business relationships.
5) WHETHER AN INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL PLANNER, YOUR ABILITY TO SOLVE CLIENT ISSUES will determine how many events you run in 2010. When money is tight, expenditures that result in improved business will be approved first
4) TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS are still important. As business moves faster, with fewer resources, planners will tend to direct business to those suppliers who are known to do a good job. Industry associations will continue to grow as suppliers seek to expand their professional relationships.
3) IF YOU DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU’LL GET LESS. Solid logistical management is not a guarantee of success. The suppliers who adapt will grow. Social media, complementing face-to-face meetings with virtual events, on-line rather than print documentation and the use of flexible “green” venues are not fads, but the way of the future, and successful planners have to embrace these trends.
2) BIGGER MAY BE BEST. As companies attempt to accomplish multiple objectives with limited resources, the best value (though not necessarily the lowest price) may be obtained by working with suppliers who can provide a variety of services without outsourcing.
1) THE NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT PLANNERS will shrink. Although many planners who left the corporate world established their own businesses, many of these individuals will leave the industry in 2010. Although independents are flexible and often low-priced, I predict that many clients will prefer to award important projects to solid, dependable suppliers who have successfully managed through the tough times.
Thanks for indulging me. I would be interested to hear if you agree, disagree or want to add to the list.