Reflecting on the past year, I feel safe in saying that we survived the recession somewhat intact and have started to see both business and industry employment increase.
Last January, I made 10 industry predictions – let’s see how I did, in reverse order:
10) MORE EVENTS in 2010 – Yes, thank goodness!
9) RFPs ARE THE NEW NORM – We saw that even some long-term clients adopted an RFP process to ensure they received the best value.
8) VENUES WILL RAISE RATES QUICKLY – Certainly saw that in the second half of 2010.
7) PLANNERS WILL HAVE TO JUSTIFY HIGHER PRICES – I think we are still experiencing that. Difficult for clients to understand why they still feel we are economically slow, but prices are increasing.
6) THE SUCCESSFUL MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS OF EVENT DATA will be critical to justifying future events. I still feel that the setting of meaningful measurement criteria and the analysis of data is important in proving the value of a meeting, but not sure most planners have moved from the comfort zone of logistics into statistical justification of events.
5) WHETHER AN INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL PLANNER, YOUR ABILITY TO SOLVE CLIENT ISSUES will determine how many events you run in 2010. As a third-party planner, I certainly experienced that helping clients find new ways of doing things helped justify events and receive funding.
4) TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS are still important. I really feel I got that right! Partners have helped come up with new and improved ways of doing things, and if you haven’t earned trust through this year, you’re probably going to have a tough time in 2011.
3) IF YOU DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE, YOU’LL GET LESS. I have certainly seen our clients ask for more, and stretching seems to have paid off with bigger and more events. Looking at your own business, how did I do on this prediction?
2) BIGGER MAY BE BEST. I think there was more industry consolidation in 2010, and I think many client Procurement teams are looking for ways to reduce the number of suppliers they deal with, so are looking for partners that can provide more than one service.
1) THE NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT PLANNERS will shrink. This comment earned a strong response from Rose Timmerman Gitzi, president of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP), who felt that I failed to properly consider the advantages that many independent planners could bring to the table, and who felt all professionals needed to support one another.
Her comments were both valid and prophetic – if anything, the number of independent planners seemed to increase in 2010, as some planners who lost corporate positions entered the business arena for themselves.
Whether the market will support so many independents in the future is another argument altogether.
I score myself 8.5 or 9 out of 10. How did you do on your own predictions?