The event industry has certainly evolved over the years, and given this 2011 season of Thanksgiving, we thought we'd capture the Top 11 ways along with why we're thankful for it:
1. Having a Seat at the Table. As events have become more important to an organization's marketing approach, the role of event planners has become more strategic in helping to reach organizational objectives.
2. Online Registration. Yes, there were indeed days when the yellow pad was the main method for capturing who's coming. Automating the process has made it much more efficient.
3. Email. Even though it can be cumbersome at times, it still offers a good record of summary and communication.
4. Virtual Tours. There used to be a time when hotel sales kits and brochures were it. It's great to be able to see a space in the comfort of your own computer (so long as the tour is true to scale!).
5. Social Media. While still maturing (in use and adoption), social media platforms have transformed the communication, interaction and promotion of meetings and events.
6. Recognition of Certifications. There are designations such as "CMP", a.k.a. Certified Meeting Professional or "CGMP", a.k.a. Certified Government Meeting Professional, among others, that have raised the bar in professionalizing the industry.
7. Perception. Many people now recognize the event industry as just that, an industry with professionals, certifications, expertise and power. It makes us want to say -- "You like me, you really like me!"
8. Free Spending Days are Over. While some planners may not consider this a benefit, we do as it relies on the planner's expertise to negotiate and remain an integral part in meeting the organization's strategic objectives. Gone are the days of just hosting an event for the sake of...
9. More than Just a Lecture. Some meetings used to be heavily based on lecturing. But given attention spans have shortened, and technology has increased, a larger focus has been placed on interactivity and engagement of the audience making for a much more productive, and interesting learning program.
10. Wider Acceptance of Second Tier Cities. We all like to visit the top cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the like. But sometimes the second tier cities such as Charlotte or Nashville can offer just as great of an experience at a lower cost.
11. Food Tastings. While not necessarily new or transformational (except to our palate), they are always appreciated in being able to sample the fare before it hits the plates.