Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Most Frustrating Trends in the Events Industry

I posted a simple question in an attempt to gauge how people feel about where things are heading in the events industry. "What's everyone's least favorite trend in the event and trade show industry?" I asked. 

That elicited quite the response, and yes, much of it was venting. But among the dozens of answers from pros in our field were some incredibly thought-provoking responses. I've picked out some of the best, most interesting responses here, with a few thoughts of my own where I have something worthwhile to add. 

Marguerite Esrock, Director of the St. James Court Art Show
"As cities fight to keep their budgets in line, I'm finding they pass on additional city service increases to event planners with out any notification."

JD:  This is happening everywhere and it's a real issue that's only going to get more noticeable as cities face up to years of pushing off budget problems. Event organizers are being asked to foot more of the bill for security, traffic control, trash collection, or higher fees for renting public spaces. 

Nathalie Lajoie, Manager of Conferences and Special Projects for Electro-Federation
"The saying that Event Planning is easy, pick a date and a hotel, and everything magically happens."

Anne Thornley-Brown, Team Building and Retreat Facilitator  
I am noticing that many companies are planning everything in-house without the input of professional event planners. The result? A packed agenda crammed with wall-to-wall content that satisfies no one.

JD:  This one is all too true. Something will happen, but without planning, without the right tech, and certainly without the right people, that something will probably not be very impressive. When a show goes well, you can bet there was a lot of planning and experience that went into it. Thornley-Brown actually wrote a great post about this specific topic for CVENT here>>

Matthieu Chaumin, Le Public Systeme
"Here in France event management is one of the only remaining communication businesses that is still most of the time a "one shot" operation (without long term contracts enabling real strategies to be set). "

Conference Table
Speaking here doesn't make you a great speaker for an event. Photo
courtesy of
JD:  At Rentfusion we have some venues that we've worked with for a decade, and relationships like that are invaluable. Not just because it's consistent work, but because it allows you to do great work because you can build on the past and know each other so well. This is rare in our industry. 

Joan Elsenstodt, Hospitality and Meetings Industry Trainer
"Modeling everything after TED or TEDX and thinking it's the only innovation out there."

JD:  Joan's point yielded a lot of response on its own. As Joel A. Feingold, a meetings and events producer, pointed out:

"There are certain elements to a successful presentation in what folks understand as TED Talks. TED Talks are concise, well practiced delivery of information supported by visual aids that make sense, executed within the short time frame that is an average attendee's attention span. A stellar TED Talk results from the speaker performing a ruthless edit to their content to whittle it down to its essence. One specific thing is the single focus of the presentation, supported by appropriate detail. It's way more than staging or style. It's rigorous planning and rehearsal by the presenter, resulting in a superior learning experience for the attendees."

Finally, John Lowe, a speaker at Be Compelling Now, brought up the lack of training for so many speakers.

"This is not a trend but a constant. There is no concerted effort to help speakers, especially this conducting breakout sessions, to be better communicators. Most conferences are educational in nature, and most breakout presentations are dreadful. If event planners would provide effective presentation support, not simply AV help, it would increase the overall attendee satisfaction and make those events that much more effective and popular. Most panelists don't understand, it's not about them. It's about the audience."

This is just a small sampling of a great, ongoing discussion.

If you'd like to join similar discussions, you should join us on Linkedin in the Event Planning and Event Management group. There are lively, educational discussions here daily!

John Dubielak is the Vice President of Operations for Rentfusion, which offers AV rentals, computer rentals, and all manner of equipment for meeting planners, tradeshows, convention hosts, exhibitors and event planners nationwide. Follow Rentfusion on Twitter at @rentfusion and on Linkedin.