Special Events

Editor's Page: Question and Answer

One of the jobs of a trade magazine is to take the pulse of its industry. Special Events Magazine should give its readers perspective on their profession. If we're doing our job, our readers will get some sense of the bigger picture, a sense of where their industry as a whole is moving.

Since the tragedies of Sept. 11, Special Events Magazine editors have been working hard to pin down their ramifications on our readers' businesses. We published the results of our first industry poll (taken in September) in our November issue and on our Web site. We will publish our 2002 industry forecast in our January issue; be sure not to miss it.

When we ask the questions for articles such as these, we have heard a wide range of responses, from “business is dismal” to “business is up.” But whenever we ask how business is, a few event professionals are hesitant to answer these questions at all. “My business is my business,” they say. “No one else needs to know what I'm doing. Why are you asking these questions?”

This reaction has been even more pronounced since Sept. 11, and it's not hard to understand why. To ask event professionals if the attacks have hurt their event businesses raises the specter that they indeed have. That shakes everyone's confidence, and our business depends on confidence. It takes confidence to schedule special events, the same way it takes confidence to launch a new project or go after a new client. Since Sept. 11, it takes confidence to get out of bed in the morning.

Fear saps confidence, but knowledge fights fear. When you understand the big picture, the decisions you make are better informed. Sometimes you find that your worst fears are unfounded. Even when realities aren't pretty, being armed with facts beats trying to navigate in the dark.

Our trade show — The Special Event 2002, Jan. 9-12 in Phoenix — offers you an unparalleled opportunity for straight talk about the event industry's future in the wake of Sept. 11. We will be hosting a series of three two-hour sessions in town-hall style called “Meeting of the Minds: Real Questions, Real Answers.”

Topics will include travel, incentives, insurance, event security, handling contracts (to cancel or to postpone) and food safety.

“This isn't about floral,” says Doug Lane, head of Denver-based Fastlane Productions, a former member of the Special Events Magazine Advisory Board and moderator of the sessions. “It's about the future of the industry.”

For more information, call 800/927-5007 or 203/358-3751 or visit www.thespecialeventshow.com. And speak out.

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