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Special Event Professionals Adapt to 2012 Trends

“Never make predictions,” baseball great Casey Stengel once cautioned, “especially about the future.”

I think about this warning every time Special Events releases one of our big business forecasts for the special event industry. It can feel a little nervy on our part to tell practicing professionals what their business life is going to look like in the days ahead.

Luckily for us — and for me in particular — we have a professional research department compiling statistically valid data. So when our stats show that the event industry is picking up, it usually turns out to be true.

In our January issue, we said that 47 percent of special event pros expected to produce more events this year than they did in 2011, with 32 percent predicting their event load would be the same and 8 percent saying they would produce fewer events.

And while we all know that the road ahead is guaranteed to have some bumps along the way, the message I get from our surveys, from the interviews for our articles and from the one-on-one conversations I have with special event pros is that business is getting stronger.

Of course, the fact that business is improving does not mean that it's business as usual. Our interviews also make it plain that event pros must adapt to changing client demands and a changing event landscape. A better economic picture alone isn't the ticket to a bright business future. Instead, event pros must tailor the events they create to changing client demands, and that's true for social as well as corporate clients.

In our “On Trend” feature, contributing editor Natasha Garber looks at what segments are likely to be the drivers of event work in 2012 and which are falling away. The smart money, she says, will be on corporate events with big-name entertainment and branding events that use a sharpshooter versus a scattershot approach. See the story on page 33 for more.

On page 27, we interview eight outstanding wedding planners who are doing something new — they are extending their already existing brands into new arenas. And they are doing well.

In the depths of the recession, it was scary to have to fight to do what you already knew well. Today, it's time to take another scary step — pushing what you already know how to do into another realm.

But that is where success lies.

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