Looking for your next beach read? (We see you, passionate event planners who consider reading about work to be a fun beach read!) Covering topics from the future of event technology and customer service, to strategies for creating engaging corporate events and memorable tabletop decor, these books are the new must-reads all event planners should add to their reading lists.
To understand the impact of technology:
In March, Bizzabo co-founders Alon Alroy, Boaz Katz, and Eran Ben-Shushan released a new book that dives into how data, audience engagement, and technology can impact events of all types. Event Success: Maximizing the Business Impact of In-Person, Virtual and Hybrid Experiences, which was published by Wiley and runs 272 pages, offers actionable insights into how to identify data maturity, engage hybrid audiences, choose the right tech vendors, and more.
“As event software providers, our job is to develop technology that encourages and supports creativity. Too often, its limitations stifle creativity and inhibit event experience leaders from executing their ideas," said Katz, the company's chief data officer. "In this book, we celebrate how we are building solutions to overcome these limits—together. We want to empower today’s and tomorrow’s event experience leaders by providing a roadmap for utilizing current technology to innovate and drive event success.”
To improve your customer service game:
Renowned event planner and interior designer Colin Cowie released his latest book—The Gold Standard: Giving Your Customers What They Didn’t Know They Wanted—in Sept. 2021. Through compelling anecdotal-style stories, the 288-page hardcover is a must-read to make sure your business stands out in this ever-changing world, diving into smart ways to up your game to think about the intangibles that separate you from your competition. Cowie also traces his inspiring personal journey, explaining how he immigrated from South Africa with just $400 in his pocket and built his highly successful company from the ground up. As an added bonus, anyone who buys the book gets access to an exclusive video series where Cowie dives further into his approach.
Related: Check out Cowie’s recent interview on BizBash’s GatherGeeks podcast, where he talks about the book and how event thinking and proactive customer service can separate businesses from their competition.
For the foodies:
Pauline Parry, who founded the popular Los Angeles-based catering firm Good Gracious! Events in 1983, released her first memoir, My Culinary Love Story, in June. Chronicling her journey from a small English town to her current success—along with her romance with her husband, Dennis—the fun, engaging book chronicles her love affair with food and comes complete with 60 recipes and watercolor illustrations. Parry also recently re-released her first book, Food, Fun, Love: Party Styles, which serves as an insider’s guide to some of LA’s top events—complete with menus, recipes, and notes on design inspiration.
For hospitality professionals:
The Adapters: How the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Industry Is Adapting and Innovating to Connect the World was released in February 2021. Written by hospitality veteran Seán Worker along with Glenn Haussman, the host of popular hospitality podcast No Vacancy, the 362-page book highlights podcast-style interviews with industry professionals who the authors playfully refer to as “gutsy genius thinkers." These sources share their stories and insights on entrepreneurship and management, while Worker and Haussman weave in trends, patterns, and historical context that offers tangible takeaways for anyone in the travel and hospitality industry.
Related: Check out Haussman’s recent interview on BizBash's GatherGeeks podcast, where he dives further into the book and shares insider details on what he’s hearing from hotel organizers about the future, including labor shortages and automation tools.
To get inspired:
In her new book Relentless: Homeless Teen to Achieving the Entrepreneur Dream, released in March, Natasha Miller of San Francisco-based Entire Productions chronicles her journey from an abusive childhood to multimillion-dollar entertainment production company owner—all while raising her daughter as a single parent. Buying a copy gets readers access to bonus features like courses on entrepreneurship, and the audiobook version features original music by Miller, who is also a classically trained violinist. Partial proceeds of each sale are donated to Covenant House, a nonprofit that supports youth facing homelessness.
To create more engaging corporate events:
Doug Binder, the senior creative director of creativity agency InVision Communications, released his book Gather: The Business of Coming Together in February. Binder describes the 205-page book as “equal parts how-to, manifesto, and memoir,” where he explores ways that corporate events can cater to audiences that are emotional, empathetic, complicated, and evolving. He shares inspiration and tactics to make business events more engaging through experiential design, storytelling, and collaboration.
To understand the future of hybrid events:
Emmy-winning broadcaster Karin M. Reed and meeting scientist Joseph A. Allen released Suddenly Hybrid: Managing the Modern Meeting in February. A follow-up to 2021’s Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work, the new 288-page book, which was released by publisher Wiley, discusses best practices based on research from the height of the pandemic and the resulting paradigm shifts, the challenges and opportunities presented by the trend toward hybrid meetings, and much more. The authors draw from their own experience in research and business, as well as firsthand stories and case studies, to create tangible tools like checklists, bulleted lists, and reflection activities. There’s also a companion website offering supplementary resources and digital copies of many of the tools included in the book.
For venue inspiration:
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ new art book, Grand By Nature, is a treasure trove highlighting the history, tales, and notable guests of the brand’s hotels. Released in March, the gorgeous 323-page coffee table tome, published by Skira, features over 500 illustrations and photographs of iconic properties like The Plaza in New York, Fairmont Banff Springs, Chateau Lake Louise, and Montreal’s Château Frontenac.
“Grand By Nature tells the story of Fairmont in the most beautiful way possible—by weaving together the stories, images, and archival material collected over the past 135 years," said Mansi Vagt, global brand leader & vice president, Fairmont Brand, in a statement. "Within these pages are the fascinating tales of moments that defined our culture, celebrated pivotal occasions, and even changed the course of history."
Related: See inside the book’s design-forward NYC launch party in April.
To enhance your year-round event strategy:
Denzil Rankine, founder of AMR International, and Marco Giberti, founder of Vesuvio Ventures, teamed up to write Reinventing Live: The Always-On Future of Live Events, which debuted in December 2020 from Anthem Press. The quick, 174-page read explains why event organizers should no longer see themselves as pure organizers—instead, their role is to facilitate business, connections, education, and advocacy, and approach events as catalysts for building communities and nurturing customer relationships all year round. Based on dozens of their interviews with senior executives, entrepreneurs, and investors, the book is filled with practical case studies that offer strategies, tools, and insights for event professionals of all types.
Related: Check out Rankine and Giberti’s recent interview on BizBash’s GatherGeeks podcast, where they discuss the book as well as ways to turn events into year-round marketing strategies.
For tabletop design ideas:
Planning your winter reading list? Renowned event designer David Stark has teamed up with Jane Schulak, the founder and creative director of nonprofit Culture Lab Detroit, to create At the Artisan’s Table, a hardcover art book being released on Nov. 1, 2022. The 280-page book from Vendome Press showcases contemporary tabletop designs inspired by historical objects from iconic museums. For each chapter, Schulak and Stark choose a museum object as a muse, and then create table settings that incorporate the artist’s handmade wares. The upcoming book is available for preorder now.