Perspective from an industry icon

Degree opens door to events article from Goldblatt-001Professor Joe Goldblatt has been around the industry longer than me. Yes, I know that’s a bit difficult to comprehend. He taught at George Washington University and relocated a few years ago to Scotland where he now teaches at Queen Margaret University and serves as executive director of the International Centre for the Study of Planned Events. My students may recognize his name as the author of at least one of our textbooks. Goldblatt truly is an industry icon. So I was thrilled when his office forwarded me a reprint of his recent article: Degree opens doors to events.

U.S. employers increasingly echo Goldblatt’s statements. The conference and event industry has become so competitive that employers are mitigating hazards in our high-cost and high-risk business by demanding individuals with a targeted education. Students in DCTC’s Meeting and Event Management degree program who are already experienced in the field are finding a two-year degree that specializes in conference and events to be their doorway to a successful future. And, thanks to the loyal industry experts we partner with, students who have been managing events for years are always surprised at what they didn’t know. Things change when you aren’t looking. It seems that’s especially true of conferences and events.

Contact me if you want to backfill your education to further your own career, brush up on a specific topic or explore customized training for your staff. CMP clock hours have already been approved by the Convention and Industry Council. If you are looking for new hires or interns, DO list your needs at DCTC Leadership and Hospitality Network LinkedIn Group.

Boom and Challenge Expected

As the U.S. lodging industry booms ahead of the world, and meetings, conventions and events increase, buyer and seller relationships will share challenges that require sustainable relationships and strategic negotiation skills. CNBC just reported the U.S. hotel industry is booming ahead of the rest of the world. Americas Lodging Investment Summit delegates (98%) expect positive RevPAR gain in 2013 for the U.S. with drastically lower growth in Asia and Europe.

All indicators are that the meeting, convention and event planning occupation is also in a boom; with 44% growth projected by 2020 by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Meeting, convention and events are one of the major drivers of business in hotels, so the puzzle fits nicely together. In many organizations marketing and meeting personnel work together. It’s therefore no surprise that many marketing occupations are also slated for faster than average growth.

When people meet, business happens.

Meetings, conventions, and events serve as a gateway to other hospitality industries. A major percentage of hospitality venues and service providers target meetings, events, conventions and tradeshows as their primary market. The “then and now” perspective of these symbiotic industries were addressed in my article, Evolution of a Profession awhile back.

As we recover from our economic doldrums, it’s pretty clear that it takes less time to implement a meeting, convention, or event than it takes to build a new venue. Financing for a new hotel today requires about 40% down payment. Financing for a refurb is at about 20%. So for the time being we will see few new properties built and many tired properties given a face lift with a new flag.

Veterans in our industry have witnessed this pendulum swing back and forth over the decades. We are now officially in a time period where the supply does not quite meet demand and according to Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality, a hotel property-research firm, this trend is expected to continue into 2016. In the CNBC release, Woodworth stated: “Growing demand in the face of very limited new supply sets the stage for very attractive room rate increases and therefore profit growth.” In fact, he likened the market’s position to the good times of the mid-1970’s. “Key fundamentals, including demand growth, average daily rate growth, revenue growth and profit growth are several times their long-run averages, while new construction is well below average.”

The margin of demand and supply will continue to narrow over the next several years. It’s a fact of life and business. Cautionary tales of abusive buyer-seller relationships from the past several years will be good to remember during this new pendulum swing. Why? We can all bet that the pendulum will swing back around by 2020 and that buyers and sellers in our industry have a long memory.

Administrative Professionals can become their bosses’ hero!

It’s a well-known fact that administrative professionals manage the vast majority of meetings and events in our country. Those events typically host 100 or fewer people and are pivotal to the organization’s success. Administrative professionals do all of this while they juggle people and projects. They are, in essence, the backbone of good business. Yet in most cases, these dedicated staff members are not formally trained to implement the meetings and events we depend on for success of sales, marketing, customer and employee retention, and more!

Eagan Minnesota “gets” it. And they‘ve partnered with Dakota County Technical College’s Meeting and Event Management degree program to offer the Plan What?? seminar that targets the success of administrative professionals in this critical role. Plan What?? will maximize attendee meeting and event planning skills and turn your organization’s buying power into negotiating power. Administrative professionals will be credited for taking the pressure off the volunteer planning committee while saving money for their organization.

I’m honored to help with this seminar and am looking forward to future seminars. The Plan What?? Seminar on Serious Site Inspections is on January 24, 1-4 pm at the Eagan, MN Community Center. Thanks to the support of the Eagan Convention and Visitors Bureau, registration is reduced to $40.00 per person (payable to DCTC). Get full details and register!

Evolution of a Profession

It is moving day for the site.  This post, originally published in spring, 2012, deserves another day in the sun!

Evolution of a Profession

It’s pretty rare that the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) recognizes a new profession by adding it to its official list of accepted occupations. So meeting, convention and event planners cheered when their profession was added to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook in 2005. In the ensuing years, our profession has met global and economic challenges. We faced bad press and found our “voice”. We learned to measure and report project outcomes and have increasingly earned a seat at the corporate “table”. The importance of meetings, conventions and events as drivers of success and profitability for hosting organizations has become a pivotal business focus. We’ve always known, and now our stakeholders are aware that –

When people meet, business happens!

One of the Fastest Growing Professions
We’re cheering again In 2012! The BLS projects 44% growth for our profession over the next decade. Indeed, they report that meeting, convention and event planners are among the top 20 fastest growing occupations. In the complete BLS report on this profession, BLS cites that “meetings and events bring people together for a common purpose . . . to ensure that this purpose is achieved seamlessly.”

In many organizations marketing and meeting personnel work together, so it’s no surprise that our close “relative”, market research analysts and marketing specialists, also earned a place in BLS’ top 20 fastest growing occupations with 41% growth projection over the next decade.

One of the Best 25 of ALL Jobs in 2012
U.S. News selected meeting, convention and event planners as #16 on their list of The Best 25 Jobs of 2012. (Jobs ranked #1 thru #15 are not in the business sector.) In their report, U.S. News states, “All of the occupations on our Best Jobs of 2012 list are outstanding, but the top 25 make for a particularly great career choice.”

#1 Business Job in 2012
But we work in the business sector. Right? So, (this one is more than a cheer – it deserves a drum roll, please) check out our ranking in U.S. News’ Best Business Jobs of 2012We’re #1! Their report cites, “The Department of Labor predicts that this sector (business) is just behind healthcare and social services in gaining the most jobs this decade, with nearly 3.8 million expected openings.”

Then and Now
In the middle of the 20th century the meeting, convention and event industry was well underway, contributing substantially to our gross national product, but not yet recognized as an industry. Neither the industry nor the profession was acknowledged as “real”. Individuals employed in the industry gravitated to their “non-profession” jobs in the “non-industry” by chance. There were no formal educational programs, standards, guidelines, or even formal expectations in place.

Today, this same industry is a gateway to other hospitality industries. A major percentage of hospitality venues and service providers target meetings, events, conventions and tradeshows as their primary market. As an employer, I hit the jackpot when I can hire someone trained in both my AND my customers’ business. As a result, many of DCTC’s Meeting and Event Management graduates elect to work at venues and destinations. They can be found working in venues such as hotels, theme parks, country clubs, casinos and more. Many graduates are also employed by service organizations. This sector includes a wide range of services such as props, tradeshows, catering, design, production and more. Many graduates opt for the planning end of our business. Whether they work in the corporate, government, religious, sports, non-profit, wedding, festival or one of the many other markets, they know that the training they have received provides fluidity to later transitions into venues and service organizations.

In fact, the symbiotic relationship of the many hospitality careers stimulated the need for DCTC’s Spa and Resort Management as well as the Hospitality Lodging Management programs. The many facets of hospitality all lead to the same destination –

The Guest.

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