I believe that one of the advantages of having experience as a corporate, independent, and third party event planner is that I can look at the issues facing the M&E industry from different perspectives.
Experience has also taught me that the various sectors of our industry can look at the same concern but see the challenges very differently. Perhaps no issue illustrates this as much as our view of value, pricing, and competition in the meetings and incentive travel marketplace.
For many experienced corporate planners and for procurement professionals, competition is all about getting the best good or service at the lowest price.
For independent planners, being able to respond to a new request for proposal in a competitive marketplace is how they have the opportunity to win new clients or new business.
For the larger meetings and events companies or “third party planners,” competition helps them (or forces them) to stay at the peak of their game by continually improving their services and offerings to stay ahead of other companies in the marketplace.
However, to the less experienced or uninformed purchaser, price may be the only factor they consider when buying meetings and incentives. They may not recognize the strategic value of some of the services being offered.
I am not saying that a low price is bad. What I am saying is that usually the buyer gets what he or she paid for.
An experienced meeting and incentive travel professional recognizes that our industry has a significant impact upon our company’s or our clients’ business success, and will discuss how to best design an event that will maximize the achievement of measurable results.
A less experienced planner will look only at the management of logistical details.
All of us involved in the meetings and incentive industry (whether a buyer or a seller) need to be able to understand and discuss the strategy driving events and intelligently judge the value of the services that we present or that we are offered.
The best way to do this is to look for sources of up-to-date industry trends. Belong to a professional association, read industry journals and websites, and go to industry educational sessions (like those offered at IncentiveWorks in Toronto Aug. 17 and 18). Demand the best from your partners and suppliers. Let’s make sure we know the true worth of our time and hard work, and can discuss the value intelligently.