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Special Events

Long-standing Event Companies Deserve Appreciation and Attention

It's been heartening to see many special event companies celebrating anniversaries this year.

Happy 10th anniversary to Q&A Entertainment in Atlanta, and it's happy 20th to Brite Ideas, EventWorks and Extraordinary Events, all in southern California. And very happy 25th anniversary to Atlas Party Rental in Florida and to Go West Events and Multimedia in Westlake Village, Calif.

September marks the 27th anniversary of Special Events — not the nice, round number usually honored but something we're proud of nonetheless.

In the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it's especially encouraging to see companies hanging in and carrying on.

Our profiles of the biggest event planning companies in our 8th annual “50 Top Event Planning Companies” list tell a story that is being played out across the event industry. The falloff in corporate event business has been dizzying — nearly 70 percent compared with last year for some respondents in our survey. Yet the companies we interviewed have scrambled to find solutions, whether it is reaching out to social clients or making smaller jobs make sense. Turn to page 27 to read more.

It may seem as though no one is doing lots of big corporate events anymore — but that's not true. Herbalife's Margaret Launzel-Pennes creates events for thousands of guests all around the world, and her company considers her work vital to its success. Learn how she does it on page 20.

In another sign of today's tough marketplace, event professionals in fundraising are coping with tight budgets by saving in some places, splurging in others. As a result, they are creating winning events that reap money despite the daunting economy. See the full story starting on page 33.

Much like the worlds of fashion and entertainment, the world of special events is driven by trends. We all want to see what — and who — is new, often ignoring the stable and successful simply because it's familiar. And yes, we editors often lead the trend train, tripping over one another to be first with the latest.

But as tough times teach us, the event professionals and companies that stay in business year after year, through boom times and lean, are the ones who truly deserve our attention and admiration.

Making a splash is exciting; finishing a marathon is remarkable. The companies that persevere in this challenging business for decades should be celebrated.

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