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Top Ten Issues for Event and Meeting Planners in 2010 and the New Decade


Vicki Hawarden, director of knowledge, MPI

Vicki Hawarden, vice president of knowledge, MPI, Dallas, TX.

Photo courtesy of MPI

There’s nothing like the start of a new year to get everyone thinking about new and creative ways to approach event planning and meeting planning. And with the type of year many people experienced in 2009, the calendar is not the only thing likely to change.

“It’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut. We tend to organize and implement the same tactics because they are successful, but 2010 will be the year for taking risks. Take risks, be bold and surprise attendees with ingenuity and value,” says Vicki Hawarden, vice president of knowledge for MPI, Dallas, TX.

Hawarden outlines 10 issues on the horizon for event and meeting planners:

  1. Social Media Integration.
    Yes, social media has been on the scene for awhile, but event planners have been letting this communication outlet grow organically. In 2010, planners will need to accommodate and guide the conversation during small to large events.

  2. Getting the C-Level to Buy In.
    In the next year, corporate meeting planners will be seeking the tools to prove the importance of meetings to their supervisors, who most likely and naturally have their eye on the bottom line. Looking to cut meetings, planners must be equipped to respectfully disagree with the executives and bring the numbers to prove it.

  3. Hybrid Events.
    What could arguably be the hottest trend in the industry for 2010 is the hybrid event. Hybrid meaning, virtual and physical. Attendees on the ground and around the world will be able to consume the exact same content.

  4. Decreasing Budgets and Increasing Expectations.
    Meeting planners will continue to see cuts in the budget in 2010 and be expected to deliver more bang for their buck. Suppliers have already noticed this trend and have started to emphasis cost savings and focus less on the perks.

  5. Recession Proofing your Resume through Education.
    At a time when job cuts are prevalent, 2010 will be the year to layoff-proof your resume. If you’re a planner make sure to check out online educational resources at mpiweb.org.

  6. Decreasing Attendance and Increasing Pressure.
    With the frequency of pandemics and world-wide economic issues, attendance is unpredictable at large meetings and planners will be looking at increased pressure to fill hotel blocks and registration numbers.

  7. Popularity of Local Events.
    FutureWatch 2010, a study highlights the upcoming trends identified by 1,500 meeting professionals and MPI members, has reinforced what many meeting and event professionals already suspect: local events are popular again. With more meetings located closer to home, fewer participants can expect to travel long distances to get onsite. And when meetings are local, history proves that it also generates higher attendance.

  8. Strategic Meeting Management Programs.
    It’s about not only controlling costs and risks, but also about being able to prove the return on investment for your meeting as well as ensure it is effectively designed and planned to meet the targeted business objectives.

  9. How to Take CSR past Recycling.
    We all know bottled water is a no no at events. And we all know how to recycle. But how can a major conference or tradeshow truly help its community become more viable? We will start to see an increase in meaningful community projects, landscape rehabilitation and local involvement.

  10. Creativity Affecting the Bottom Line for an Event.
    This is a tip for planners and suppliers alike. Creativity can sometimes lead to large expenses (think ice sculptures and entertainment troupes). However, this year, planners will find creative solutions to their budget cutbacks. Suppliers will find creative ways to cut the budget, yet still provide the same quality product.
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