What will be the role of the meeting planner of the future? Meeting planners will have to understand the overall strategy and goals of the organization and incorporate those ideas into meetings, or they will play a diminishing role three to five years down the road, said Ed Simeone, CMM, CMP, executive producer of meetings and events at Fusion Productions, Webster, N.Y. He moderated a session of the Professional Convention Management Association’s New England Chapter in Cambridge, Mass.
The concern is that a lot of planners don’t have the business acumen to focus on bottom-line objectives. "Planners need to focus on the business of meetings, not just the meetings business," said Simeone. In doing so, they should look develop content with strategic goals of the customers or organization in mind, and explain the return on investment of the meeting.
Planners will also have to be flexible and nimble because the way of doing business is continually changing as organizations look to do things "faster, better, cheaper," said Simeone.
Business models are also evolving asbecomes more and more prevalent. Therefore, the model planner of the future will have to be adept at supply chain management, added Simeone. Functions that were previously handled in-house are being farmed out, so planners will have to know how to administer third-party suppliers. "The key is trusting partners within the supply chain," said Simeone. "Make sure that each of you (within the supply chain) meets your objectives. That’s a partnership." The bellwethers for change in the meetings industry can often be found by analyzing what’s happening on the macro-level, said Simeone. By examining the bigger picture—the economy, technology, environment, terrorism, trade, politics—planners will have a better perspective on the future direction of the business of meetings.