Archive for the ‘Meeting Planners’ Category
In this month’s issue, we wrote about ways to transform a grumpy attitude into a joyful one—a sometimes difficult task in the stressful world of meeting planning. Here, we highlight more tips from someone who knows best: a meeting professional.
Rennette Grace is a freelance onsite meeting manager based in Minnesota. Here, she shares ways to stay sane, healthy and focused when orchestrating events on the road.
Not to burst your balloon, but a helium shortage could have a negative impact on planning meetings.
Planners often rely on helium balloons to set the scene at functions and events. Unfortunately, helium consumption is quickly outpacing what’s available; it’s expected the nation’s largest reservoir of helium, near Amarillo, Texas, will run out of the nonrenewable product in the next few years.
It has become increasingly rare for Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to come together on any issue, but punishing the General Services Administration and placing restrictions on government meetings is evidently one thing they can agree on. Yesterday, inspired by the outrage generated by a 2010 GSA regional conference that cost taxpayers $823,000, lawmakers approved a bill designed to prevent such spending in the future, easily passing it on a voice vote. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act was originally introduced in June 2011 to create a website where citizens can track how federal dollars are spent, but in the wake of the GSA scandal, it was amended to include limits on the number of conferences agencies can hold annually and to cap spending at $500,000 per event.
It’s the Super Bowl this weekend, and we all know what that means: Super Bowl parties! (And fun commercials!)
As event planners, I’d imagine there are certain expectations placed on you when organizing social gatherings—like being an accountant and having everyone expect you to know the answers to their tax questions. With that kind of pressure, near-perfect execution is a must. To help, here are some tips for throwing the perfect Super Bowl bash. As a bonus, you can apply some of the advice to your other events, too.
Have you noticed something different about SmartMeetings.com? Nope—it’s not a new haircut, and we haven’t renewed our gym membership either. It’s actually an entirely new look. But the change isn’t just aesthetic—we have taken everything that you loved about the old us and made it better. We’re faster, more concise and more efficient in serving as your right hand in planning. So on this occasion, we wanted to give you the low-down, and guide you on a tour of what is new and improved at SmartMeetings.com!
There has been a lot of talk about work-life balance lately. In a world that is set up to work 24 hours a day, how do you get your down time? February’s article on the balancing act talks about the influx of work-friendly technology and the notorious lack of balance in our industry.
We all know that our business involves a lot of travel and work on nights and weekends—and that is why a lot of us love what we do. If I wanted to I could work all of the time, because in our industry the work is never done. As one project comes to a close, another project is nipping at its heels.
But how do we make this work for us and still have a life outside of work? The idea of balance is different for everyone. It is important to sort out what is important for you personally to find balance. Sometimes balance for me is the ability to work from home, when I feel like I have been away for a long time. Other times, it is the flexibility to take a random day off when I know that I need to unplug and hit the slopes. Communicating with your employers and staff is important in finding balance, and balance makes for happy and productive employees.
If you are feeling unbalanced, make sure you talk to your boss and your team at work about ways to regain your professional equilibrium. Come up with a few ideas of how you can make it work for you and your organization. How do you find balance at work? Please comment below.
If you’re starting to feel a little fed up—February dragged on and March is showing no signs of spring—here’s something to look forward to: Spa Week in Las Vegas from April 11–17. For one week only, spa services are available at participating hotels for just $50. Expect anything from massages to facials to pedicures for that low price. The complete hotel list won’t be released until Monday, but thanks to a Twitter leak, Vegas Chatter says that MGM Grand Spa, The Spa at Aria, Spa Vdara, The Spa at The Mirage and Nurture – The Spa at Luxor are definitely participating.
Another thing to look forward to: our “Spas with Roots” article in the upcoming issue of Smart Meetings. The article goes into detail about unconventional spa treatments—think ancient Mayan practices, mineral springs and more—that the meeting planners will surely want to check out.
For more information on Spa Week, visit SpaWeek.com.
These big, impressive numbers are, respectively, the amount of jobs the meeting industry supports, how much money it contributes to the U.S. gross domestic product, and what its total economic output is.
They are just a few of the many massive, and highly encouraging, numbers that were revealed yesterday in the Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy study. The significant report, the first ever of its scope and size, has rock-solid credibility behind it: It was conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper in conjunction with pretty much every major industry organization out there, including MPI, DMAI, PCMA, CIC and the USTA.
The 2011 Incentive Trends survey, conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation and Corporate Meetings and Incentives in September 2010, finds that incentive planners are still following industry trends, despite minor budget increases.
Even though only 22% of the 130 respondents expect lower budgets in 2011, and more than 40% expect budget increases, budgets are still a lot smaller than they were before the economic downturn. In fact, the average allocation per person dropped from $3,256 in 2000 to $2,617 in 2010. According to the survey, the biggest challenge for planners this year is staying within budget (53 % of respondents), generating excitement about their more affordable trips (26 %), and choosing a destination that meets their criteria despite smaller budgets (20 %). The most prevalent cuts planners have made include room amenities, inviting fewer managers and cutting the number of qualifiers.
Compared to 10 years ago, planners are seeing new trends. For example, in 2001, 59% of respondents held international programs, while this year it’s only 31%. The survey also found that corporate social responsibility is important to 35% of the respondents; whereas, 10 years ago, it wasn’t even thought about.
Meeting planners may have less room for complaints this year. Despite the recession cutting budgets, 2011 is showing signs for improvement in the industry. And according to U.S. News & World Report, being a meeting planner is one of the top 50 careers of the year.
As of 2008, there were 56,600 people employed as a meeting and convention planner, but that number is expected to grow faster in the next decade than the average of all professions. During that time, the Labor Department estimates that the number of jobs will jump by 16%, due to the increasing demand of meetings by global companies.
So, next time an event prop catches on fire because it was too vulnerable next to a candle, take comfort in knowing others wish they were in the exact same position.
For more information on the state of the industry, read “2011’s Economy.”