March 6, 2012
Pretty much everything you read right now about the meetings and events industry reflects the lack of certainty in our profession.
The Jan/Feb issue of M&IT contained the 2012 Market Report, which indicated that Canadian planners were cautiously optimistic about the future.
In direct contrast, Conworld.net reported on the latest industry trends announced by Benchmark Hospitality International that included a strong return to luxury and a steady rise in meeting numbers and prices.
Meetings & Convention magazine has just published an article on the power of third-party planners that indicated that independents have gained significant influence because corporations have downsized their planning departments and transferred much of the work (and financial influence) by outsourcing.
However, when I spoke to a number of independent planners at the recent Quebec Day in Toronto, several said that the increasing number of new independents had created too much competition in the marketplace, with the net result of lowering the “going” rate that could be passed on to clients.
What do these very different opinions mean?
To me, they indicate that the meetings and events industry is in a state of flux and all of us who are professionals need to determine what value we really bring to our companies and clients.
We need to recognize that excellent logistical management skills are now the table stakes we need to have, just to play the game.
To differentiate ourselves from the multitude in the marketplace, we need to be able to describe our services and our strengths in a way that demonstrates how effective event management can promote the achievement of corporate goals.
I have written in this blog previously that I believe all professional planners have to develop meaningful collaborations with others who are experts in digital communication, social media, virtual meetings, adult learning and a host of other technologies that keep the modern attendee connected.
This is because none of us can be masters of all the skills necessary to organize and run the types of events that multi-generational attendees expect to attend.
And none of us can afford not to plan events that are not amazing and create an ROI for the stakeholders.