READERS' FORUM

2013 in 5 Words: Event Pros on the Best and Worst of the Year

From budgets to blackouts, industry professionals dished on the year's major pitfalls and soaring triumphs.

By Alesandra Dubin December 12, 2013, 6:45 AM EST

Illustration: Joey Bouchard/BizBash

As 2013 draws to a close, we called on event professionals across the country to distill their year in the industry down to the most basic terms—using just five words. What follows are their unfiltered answers, which, taken together, provide a summary of events' triumphs and pitfalls that took place in the past 12 months.

In five words, what was the best thing about the industry this year?
“Smaller world, bigger global events.”
Jessica McCarthy, special events manager, Amfar

“Focus on positive global impact.”
Rehan Choudhry, founder, Life Is Beautiful Festival

“Event technology helpful as ever.”
Valerie Rojas, meeting manager, MIM Meetings & Events

“Young, creative planners of tomorrow.”
Tina Volz-Bongar, creative and marketing events director, corporate entertaining and shows, Bongarbiz

“Speaking, writing, learning, meeting, growing.”
Tahira Endean, director of creative and production, Cantrav

“Camaraderie, trust, growth, savvy, professionalism.”
Andrea Michaels, president, Extraordinary Events

“Strategy plus partnerships equal value.”
Kendra McMurray, senior meeting and event manager, International Association of Culinary Professionals

“Mixology. Philanthropy. Indie. Nostalgia. Social.”
Natalie McAdams, owner, Namevents

“Increased creativity, flair, and budgets.”
Karen Wood, president and founder, Backstage Creations

“Welcoming new genres to celebrate.”
Jaime Geffen, co-owner, YourBash

“Rise of conference content monetization.”
Jacques Geoffrion, founder and president, F2F Strategic

“Strategy + system + substance = sustainability, success.”
Yolanda Caldwell, senior strategist and owner, Titus Enterprises

“New better technology, innovative designs.”
Tarin Horan, senior director of programs and events, Northern Virginia Technology Council

“Dior’s fashion week floral fantasy.”
Cara Kleinhaut, owner, Caravents

“Unique and challenging event decor.”
Koranda Banks, director, Universal Studios Hollywood Special Events

“Working with exciting, diverse clients.”
Kim Weedmark, vice president of group and special event sales, Universal Studios Hollywood

“Clients gravitated toward color more.”
Yvonne Wolf, owner, Yvonne Wolf Events

“Creativity, ingenuity, and problem solving.”
Blume Bauer, owner and partner, Siren Song Productions

“Increase in transparency in pricing.”
Laura Bell Way, global meetings manager, Autodesk

“No repeat of Hurricane Sandy.”
Howard Givner, founder and executive director, Event Leadership Institute

“Instant gratification from our clients.”
Vivian Campbell, director of food and beverage, the Line Hotel

“Here’s my best and worst in one: Gatsby themes: amazing but overdone.”
Sarah Granger-Twomey, event stylist

In five words, what was the worst thing about the industry this year?
“Government shutdown caused needless uncertainty.”
Howard Givner, founder and executive director, Event Leadership Institute

“Not enough time in day.”
Valerie Rojas, meeting manager, MIM Meetings & Events

“Misusing celebrities to drive sales.”
Rehan Choudhry, founder, Life Is Beautiful Festival

“When clients request balloon arches.”
Vivian Campbell, director of food and beverage, the Line Hotel

“Incorrect categorization of ‘parties’’ excessiveness.”
Tina Volz-Bongar, creative and marketing events director, corporate entertaining and shows, Bongarbiz

“Short timeframes to create amazing.”
Tahira Endean, director of creative and production, Cantrav

“Procurement, inexperience, competition, in house.”
Andrea Michaels, president, Extraordinary Events

“Budget scrutiny stalled industry growth.”
Kendra McMurray, senior meeting and event manager, International Association of Culinary Professionals

“Chiavaris. Logos. Credentials. Taxis. Favors.”
Natalie McAdams, owner, Namevents

“Closing of the Gibson Amphitheatre.”
Karen Wood, president and founder, Backstage Creations

“Keeping up with social media.”
Jaime Geffen, co-owner, YourBash

“Disappearance of boutiques, industry consolidation.”
Jacques Geoffrion, founder and president, F2F Strategic

“Sustainability taking backseat to elegance.”
Jessica McCarthy, special events manager, Amfar

“Smaller budget equals less work.”
Yolanda Caldwell, senior strategist and owner, Titus Enterprises

“Losing power at Super Bowl.”
Cara Kleinhaut, owner, Caravents

” A million ideas; one event.”
Koranda Banks, director, Universal Studios Hollywood Special Events

“A banner year is ending.”
Kim Weedmark, vice president of group and special event sales, Universal Studios Hollywood

“Blatant slip in customer service.”
Yvonne Wolf, owner, Yvonne Wolf Events

“Corporate-sponsored advertising without creativity”
Blume Bauer, owner and partner, Siren Song Productions

Editor's note: Some of these comments were shared by readers on our social media networks. Join our discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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