Beauty and brains make a great combination. And our first issue of 2013 brings you both.
The centerpiece of this issue is, as always, our beautiful array of Gala Award nominees. This year's competition showcases outstanding event work from 13 countries around the world. In our cover story, you will find everything from a ride-and-drive on a volcanic island off West Africa to an 18th century-style 40th birthday bash in Beverly Hills to a pirate invasion of Seattle. If you feel the need to recharge your creative batteries, just turn to page 24 and start reading.
This issue also brings our annual in-depth forecast of the economic outlook for the event industry in the new year. The brainiac research department at our parent company, Penton Media, collects data from hundreds of Special Events readers to present the most thorough analysis of the event business anywhere.
This year, the statistics tell you what you probably already know — yes, things are getting better, although the pace of progress is achingly slow.
But all those who have successful track records in special events don't watch things happen — they make things happen.
Our forecast story shares the insights of members of the Special Events Advisory Board, and in response to challenges in the current market, they are taking action. See the full story starting on page 13.
One comment that has stayed with me comes from Lisa Hopkins, CPCE, CMP. In her role as director of catering at the Houstonian Hotel, she faces the same challenges that virtually everyone in the industry does.
“I think the biggest challenge will be — as it's been for about four years now — is how to continue to anticipate the market's demand, as business continues to be short-term and variable as to what the needs are, and how you can continue to reap the opportunities that this market offers,” Hopkins says.
She's addressing today's challenges in the good, old-fashioned way.
“It's all about returning to the good fundamentals of listening, asking good questions and presenting good options to customers,” Hopkins says. Her plan for 2013: “I'm committed to picking up the telephone more often instead of opting for an email message.”
I hope I get the good, old-fashioned chance to speak with you personally at The Special Event, Jan. 15-18 in Chicago.