ALTHOUGH it's hard for me to believe sometimes, I am entering my 21st year with Special Events Magazine this year, and what a remarkable career it has been. I have had the privilege of watching the event industry develop as a profession. And that growing professionalism is clear to see in the events you design and produce.
As proof, this issue showcases the nominees for the Gala Awards. Turn to page 28 and begin reviewing some of the finest event work from throughout the world. The winners will be named on Jan. 13 at The Special Event in Dallas — I hope you will be in the audience with me to salute them. To learn more about The Special Event, visit www.thespecialeventshow.com.
Watching this business over time also helps give some perspective about major trends. We're proud to present our annual industry forecast (starting on page 70). Over the years, we have questioned thousands of event planners — both in-house and independent — to take the pulse of our industry for the New Year. And I'm happy to point out some encouraging trends from our 2006 forecast:
Optimism about the strength of the business has continued to grow over the last four years. More than half of in-house event pros expect to produce more events this year than last, up from 43 percent in 2003. And that number jumps to nearly 70 percent for independent event pros, up from 61 percent in 2003.
It looks as though event pros are more confident too about the budgets they will be able to spend for their events. The percentage of in-house event pros who worry about having to work with reduced budgets has dropped nearly 10 percent in just two years, while the percentage of independent event pros worried about reduced client budgets is down 11 percent.
Our surveys show that over the last few years, worry about proving the worth of special events is ebbing. When we asked in-house event pros if “demonstrating the value/ROI of special events” is a concern, the number reporting “yes” has dropped 8 percent in just a year. I take this as an encouraging sign that corporate management today recognizes the power of special events as effective business tools.
And yet another good piece of news: Our survey shows a strong boost in confidence among independent event pros about their own client base. The percentage of independents worried about consolidation in their client base dropped a hefty 13 percent in the last three years, which is a great sign not only for the event producers, but for all the vendors they partner with as well.
I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, and many more good years to come.