A new trend is beginning to emerge in the event planning industry - event planners are beginning to become more specialized. They are specializing in fields such as Food & Beverage, Sustainability, Technology, and more. As each field becomes more specialized and detailed, more expertise is also needed to keep up the expected level of performance in each individual field, and there is often simply not enough time in the day to keep up! In order to solve this problem, companies and independent event planners are beginning to hire outside contractors to fulfill these specialty niches and maintain the highest level of expertise possible.
MPI seems to agree with this as well. According to surveys done by MPI International, 45% of event planners are increasing the amount of contractors they hire. We recently had the opportunity to attend an MPI Virginia educational session with by Jessie States, CMM, Manager of Professional Development, Meeting Professionals International. She went into further detail about the event planning industry, stating that as industries in general mature, they typically follow a five-level classification pattern: 1) not defined, 2) ad hoc, 3) repeatable, 4) defined, 5) managed and optimized. She continued by saying that "as our industry moves into its fully optimized stage, we find organizations and individuals shifting their foci from merely managing their meetings and events to strategically and thoughtfully integrating these programs into their overall businesses, and consistently improving and innovating them over time. This requires a shift from the mere management of events (Level 4), and it requires new skill sets that meet the demands of this ever-shifting marketplace. Specialists are called in to provide expertise in myriad areas, from technology and corporate social responsibility to experience and even learning design. Large organizations may fill these roles with full-time employees, while smaller organizations may look to consultants to answer their needs."
As the event planning industry evolves and grows, a new sub-culture within the industry has started to grow with it, as some of the specialized event planners have broken away from tradition and started new companies to help meet these new needs! In the past, the relationship has always just been between the buyer and the seller. The planner and the product. Two different worlds, regardless of how much you talk. This relationship is often strained to the point that planners no longer want to deal with vendors. Never fear - you now have other options! There are companies out there like Power Event Group that have your best interest in mind and fully understand their specific field as well. They are run by specialized event planners that serve as middlemen, or brokers, for you.
Times are changing. As we all strive to move our industry forward, MPI and Jessie agree that "[s]pecialists will drive our industry forward. They will help guide the events marketplace as key identifiers of trends and next practices." Regardless of what field you may need assistance with, if you are feeling more and more overwhelmed with the amount of details and expertise you need, remember that you are not alone. There are new companies out there that are not just selling a product. They truly have your best interest in mind and want to help make the event planning industry even better!