Many people want to start a business of their own, some do, and some succeed. In the business events sector I would argue that it must be one of the hardest industries in which to maintain a viable enterprise.

With events like 9/11, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, competition generally, the GFC, discounting, and now the rise of social media, the internet, webcasting, and a move by many companies to reduce travel expenses, this business is not for the feint hearted.

In this edition (pages 8-9) we highlight a number of companies who have stood the test of time despite the ongoing challenges thrown at them, and give them a big thumbs up for their efforts.

It certainly can’t be easy keeping things ticking over when so much has changed. In looking around his PCO business, Bryan Holliday in his column this edition (see page 21), asks whether “being in a conference auditorium is indeed the best method of sharing information” when he takes into account how his younger staff members are embracing mobile technology.

“It’s become clear to me that in order for us to reach out to potential conference delegates from younger generations we need to better understand when and how they receive content and indeed the power of information that is available at their fingertips,” he says.

And of course he’s right. I look at my two sons – 16 and 11 and note with amusement and perhaps even some confusion, that the 16-year-old’s television habits are far different from what mine were at his age. He watches soccer on the TV but everything else is downloaded online or “borrowed” from friends. My 11-year-old watches some television but has his own Instagram account with close to 100 followers. Facebook and Skype for the older one is a daily ritual.

Despite their social media habits (or perhaps because of them) they still know what Nike shoes they want, what cricket bat is best, what clothes are in fashion, and what car they want when they’re a little bit older.
The challenge for meeting and event planners is in remaining relevant and necessary, especially to the younger generations.

If you think things haven’t changed and you’re in business for yourself, good luck to you remaining so. And if you really want to understand how far we’ve come in such a short time then make sure you read Mark Taylor’s column (pages 102-4) on some of the more cutting edge methods for audience engagement in the event space. It’ll make your head spin!

I welcome your feedback.

 

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Annabel Norris Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DG3 • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian L&R Contract Business Services • Ros McLeod arinex • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited • Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd • Jeremy Garling Fourth Wall Events

NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD

Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Anna Guillan Hayman & Mulpha Hotels Australia • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane MCI • David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS • Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives