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The event planning industry has come a long way from the binder toting days of the 80's. New and superior technology, along with the cultural and economic changes of the last 2 decades have streamlined and revamped the way events are planned and experienced.
And just like any other creative position, there seems to be a disconnect between what event planning looks like from the outside, and what it actually requires. Because of this, there are a lot of cliches surrounding event planning which have graduated to full on myths.
1. Event Planners are Party Planners. Period.
In addition to scads of first hand experience I can quote you of people exclaiming, "Ooh, so can you help me with my birthday party/wedding/bar mitzvah?" after hearing that I'm an Event Planner, several of my colleagues agree that most people assume event planning is synonymous with party planning. It’s like as soon as you say you plan events, people begin imagining Jennifer Lopez from The Wedding Planner.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with planning social events. Quite the opposite in fact. However, no one wants to be known for something they are not. And I can tell you right now, a M.I.C.E. planner is NOT a party planner.
2. The Planners are the Party.
Similar to the idea that all planners work the social scene, many people on the outside looking in seem to feel that all Event Planners do is attend the party. Nothing could be further from the truth. Event Planners are marketers, copywriters, social media experts and project planners who happen to oversee creative details like catering, interior design and entertainment.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the next phase of event planning will embrace the fact that events, marketing, and public relations are all working toward the same goal, from slightly different angles. Each of these fields is about disseminating brand culture and ideology to a specific audience.
Going away with the cliché that event planning is an isolated career path will only elevate the industry.
3. Event Planners Will be Replaced by Technology.
Event tech is a huge industry in and of itself, and technological advances like RFID, geolocation, and VR in tandem with the extreme effectiveness of event apps and online tools, have helped to streamline several time consuming processes. These technologies also make communications with attendees more efficient.
However, Event Planners bring more to the table than any piece of software, and in fact, the automation saves so much time on for tedious tasks, it allows for #Eventprofs to delve more deeply into other aspects of their jobs.
4. Only Large Events Require Planners.
Of course, if your company is planning a 3 day incentive trip to The Keys, you will need a point person to plan the trip and the logistics. It is easy to convince people of the value that exists in a trip of this magnitude, however that is not to say that a smaller scale event could not benefit from a planner.
What planners bring to the table is a veritable wealth of experience on how to get an event from the concept stages in the board room to a real life experience at your venue. Event Planners know how to go about acquiring sponsorship packages, and have their hand on the pulse of various trends in food and beverage, decor, tech, and more.
5. You're Only as Good as Your Last Event.
Okay, this is still true. As an event planner, your credibility is directly affected by the success of your last event. However, this little phrase has wheedled its way into the event planner community, and has caused a subconscious shift away from what is truly important in our industry: innovation.
It is true that your last event is the barometer by which potential clients, new vendors and sponsors will measure your effectiveness, but be sure that your mind is focused on your NEXT event.
Your last event is over. Your next event needs to be consistent with the quality of the last, but needs to exceed expectations with regard to attendee experience. Feel free to push the envelope - follow the latest trends and follow up with attendees to be sure you are providing the best service you can. Your last event is over. Don’t forget it.
There are many aspects of the event planning industry that have changed and continue to change. By debunking the myths and acknowledging the cliches, we allow more room for innovation in this exciting industry.