Re-visiting Business Development for Event Planners

Last week, in A Career by Any Other Name, fellow Cvent blogger, Alan Kleinfeld, provided career tips and observed that:

”It's no longer news that when the economy took a beating, our meetings and hospitality community took a beating, too.”

This is particularly true for event planning firms catering to the corporate market. Many companies put incentive travel, employee events, and even Christmas parties “on hold”. Even though the economy is recovering, companies are slow to resume spending. So, where is the business to come from?

In preparation for this blog entry, I posted a question in LinkedIn Q&A a few weeks ago.

”Quick Question for Event Planners: How did you get your last 3 pieces of business?”

The intention wasn't to conduct a statistically significant but to guide our community in a process of brainstorming. The perspective of colleagues about what is actually working can be enlightening.

Seventeen event industry professionals responded. The number one source of new business was repeat business from a former or existing client. The second highest source of business was referrals from past clients and friends. Trade shows catering to industries other than the event industry, were also mentioned frequently. In spite of the hype, social media was rarely mentioned but one respondent, had obtained 2 of his last 3 pieces of business from companies that found him on Facebook.

So what’s the take-away?

  • Re-connect: Re-connect with former clients, colleagues, past co-workers and friends. Stay in touch with client contacts when they move to other organizations. Ensure that you update all your contacts about your firm's new offerings and services. As companies begin to slowly unfreeze their budgets, make sure that your firm is at top of mind awareness.
  • Branch Out: Expand your network beyond your own industry.

There are no magic answers but these strategies could make a big difference as the economy continues to recover.

Where did YOUR last 3 pieces of business come from?

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