Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Event Budgets for 2010 - Optimism?

Tight budgets? How often have we discussed this in our offices, at our job sites, with our clients, etc? If you haven't, I'd like to take a quick look at your books if you don't mind.

Well I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the discussions will continue through 2010. According to a survery conducted by Special Events Magazine, budgets will be the #1 concern for event professionals. I don't think many people are expecting a miraculous economic recovery in the coming months so this makes sense, but I thought we'd discuss it again, because...we just can't get enough of it!

What's the #2 concern you ask? "Uncertain Economy". Hand in hand, right?

The #3 ranked challenge will be tighter lead times. This is something that affects our business just as it does other event professionals. According to the Special Events survey, shorter lead times jumped from 19% last year to 34% this year.

"Why such a dreary blog, Rick?" You might ask.

Well, it's not all bad. According to the survey, 41% of in-house event pros and 48% of independents expect to stage more events in 2010, while 16% (of both groups) say they expect to stage fewer events. 18% were unsure and 6% were intoxicated at the time of this survey. Ok, that's not true, just making sure you're paying attention.

Event professionals also seem optimistic about 2010 when compared to responses last year at this time. Some 69% of in-house event professionals feel the uncertain economy will be one of their biggest challenges next year, down from 78% last year. Indepedent event professionals are right in line with that trend, 77% this year, down from 88% last year. Ok, so maybe "optimistic" is a stretch, but it's certainly less negative, how about that?

While I try to uncover optimism within the cloud of concern, we're seeing something positive in the event industry and I believe it can be applied across most industries...adaptation. We're adapting to different approaches such as social media.  We're becoming more in-tune with our customer’s needs.  We're shaking hands more than we are sending glossy brochures.  We're enjoying a beverage with new friends at a networking event rather than filming another commercial.  We’re choosing the business lunch with a special client over the huge conference in Vegas (apologies to my conference friends). We're making a phone call more often than sending the form letter/email. We may be interacting with our customers more now than ever before, but in a different way.  Dare I say, a better way?

Perhaps these are the good things that will come from this challenging time. The renewal of our core business values along with the renewed understanding of what is so important to our collective businesses – relationships.

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