In the upcoming issue of our sister magazine, Special Events, three corporate event planners discuss how they are being faced with more demands from clients than ever before.

Veteran event producer Andrea Michaels, head of Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Extraordinary Events, notes that clients expect “fully fleshed-out proposals delivered with very little or sometimes no information; they expect that proposals that take a great deal of research and preparation can be turned around in too little time--sometimes in a matter of hours. They expect that you can be accurate as well as creative, but will not allow the time or money for a site inspection. And then they expect that they can take whatever time they need—or want—to review the proposal, ask for renderings, floor plans, revisions, etc., with no guarantee that you have the job. And finally, they expect that you will produce the job without a deposit—because it’s now too late to generate payment—and oftentimes ask you to wait for 30 to 90 days for payment. Want me to go on?"

Mark Baltazar, CEO and managing partner of New York-based Broadstreet, notes that many categories of special events have fallen by the wayside nowadays. "Programs that cannot be tied directly to revenue are gone," he says. Overall, event programs are "smaller, scaled-down and business-focused," he says.

Nancy Shaffer, owner of Washington-based Bravo Events by Design, says the change in the business climate means her company has changed the way it does business. "Before 2008, it was more the exception than the rule that as an industry we were asked to participate in the strategic planning. We were the ones who made an event exciting, tasty, visual, engaging and logistically effective. Now we’re asked more often to participate in the process before the decision to hold a live experience is made. We know that we are integral to the success of an event and the earlier we are involved in the process, the better the impact. We are not just 'party planners.' We are the producers of the live elements of a company’s marketing and communications campaign."

For more, see the May/June issue of Special Events.

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