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Special Event 2001: Experts on the Future

January 17, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

More than 150 industry leaders gathered at a special luncheon on Thursday to discuss the concerns and changes facing the special events industry. Called “Future Vision: Event Industry Leadership Forum,” the event included a panel of industry experts Jerry Edwards, president of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE); Lisa Hurley, editor of Special Events magazine; Robert Sivek, president of the International Special Events Society; Paul Stratton, group show director of Intertec Exhibitions; and Lisa Vested, publisher of Special Events magazine. Richard Aaron, BiZBash's president, served as M.C. for the luncheon, which was hosted by BiZBash and held at the Mansion Ballroom in Harrah's Casino.

After lunch, guests received a chocolate dessert with an odd surprise: Packed inside the dessert was a touch pad response devise. This gave attendees a chance to respond to a series of survey questions about the state of the special events industry. Industry leaders showed concern for how their businesses will react to a shaky U.S. economy. While optimism still reigned for a robust year, many felt that the industry should emphasize marketing, technology and sales, with less effort on employee training and expansion.

Sivek also spoke of growing respect for the industry, and the increase in qualifications required to do business. “The time is over that anyone with a phone can be called an event planner and anyone with an oven a caterer,” Sivek said. He also gave his predictions for the industry: “The big will get bigger, provoking a big shake out in the industry. Certification will become more important and strategic alliances will become the big thing.” He also mentioned that the Internet is revolutionizing the event industry by connecting buyers and sellers regardless of their locations. Vendors will be able to sell anywhere.

Edwards also mentioned the importance of the Internet's influence. “Technology and people are what the future of the catering business is all about,” he said. “The Internet is changing how the catering business is being done. Either we will be on the train or under the train. Our job is to get our industry on the train.”

He also brought up a concern planners everywhere can probably relate to: “There is a need to balance lifestyles of the workers in the industry,” Edwards said. “The hours are becoming unmanageable.”

Posted 01.17.01

More about the Special Event 2001:
Special Event 2001: Who Showed Up...
Special Event 2001: The Opening Party
Special Event 2001: Trade Show & Seminars
Special Event 2001: Search's Cabaret Night
Special Event 2001: The Gala Awards
Special Event 2001: Gala Winners

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