The 1990’s were a great time in the event planning industry…sort of the champagne years. It was pre-recession, pre-war, pre- 9/11. Life wasn’t perfect but the financial climate was strong and companies had the money to spend and few concerns about spending it. Incentives, team building, conferences, seminars. The industry was hot and we all rode that wave.

But times have changed. Companies often don’t have the money to spend. Or are extremely conscious of public perception and don’t want to appear frivolous or wasteful. While conferences and seminars continue, incentive and bonus programs have decreased and will take some time to rebound.

Corporate Event Planner – A Rose by Any Other Name…

Many companies still have full time event planners on staff, but planning may not be their only responsibility. The recession has everyone tightening their belts. Often, as companies have been downsized, jobs have been amalgamated and one person will now wear several hats.

Administrative positions often have the responsibility of planning meetings and travel. Some portions of the job can also fall under the marketing department’s responsibility with a concentration on conferences, seminars and networking.

Corporate Event Planner – Industries to Consider

But take heart! There is still a place for the corporate event planner. Certain industries are actually increasing in meetings and events. City planning conferences are a growing segment of the industry. And medical research meetings were one of the few constants post 9/11, when no one else was traveling or spending money. There is obviously a big future in sustainability and pharmaceuticals!

Charities are another growing segment of the industry. While smaller organizations are forced to rely solely on volunteer labor, larger national and international charities often have a several planners to assist with the numerous fund raisers required to attract your dollar. And while working for a charity may not be quite as lucrative as the corporate world, it can actually be more satisfying.

Corporate Event Planner – Freelance vs Corporate

From a corporation’s point of view there are advantages to both options.

Using a freelance event planner is generally more cost effective. Some companies prefer a hired gun brought in for a specific contract, working on a piece by piece basis.

But a full time employee may understand the needs and climate of your company better. They are available to work on your schedule, and are generally just a phone call or email away.

Although the recession forced many companies to downsize and cut back, as the economy continues to grow, so will full time, corporate opportunities.

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