It wasn’t so long ago that event planners would often higher local companies to help them source out local suppliers for their successful events. These local experts, commonly referred to as destination management companies or DMC’s, would assist the event planner in finding the perfect venue or suppliers. And then came the Internet. Event planning online has become a rapidly growing Internet community for meeting and event planners. A lot of traditional DMC’s migrated their services and began offering online searches to help these meeting and event planners.
Event Planning Online Has Changed the Way the Industry Sources Suppliers
When I first started in the meeting planning business I was with a full-service destination management company. In those days it was our job to know all of the top venues and suppliers in my area and then to be able to make recommendations, or proposals to my potential clients. Then, the company that had the best options and often the best price won the peace of business. Today unless those companies have adjusted their business models to accommodate event planning online than they are most likely suffering with less revenue. I started to see that happening in my own company in the late 1990s. It started slowly, basically from providing full event details (such as facility rental, transportation, caterer and entertainment) to all of a sudden only providing transportation for the event as the meeting and event planner found the other services directly online. For my company we saw the writing on the wall. We either adjust our business model or quite frankly we would become a dinosaur in the industry. We decided that we would revamp our business model completely. Instead of taking supplier quotes and marking them up to present them to our client we now were in a situation where we would provide a selection of suppliers and allow the client to search and make their own selection. So our business model went from marking up wholesale prices from suppliers to a model that was more in tune with today’s web businesses. We needed to get our revenue from supplier listings and advertising on our website. More about the challenges with that business model in a later post.
What has now happened is that meeting and event planners are getting exposed to great venues and suppliers without having to pay additional marked up costs. It’s a win-win for planners. For the service industries that service meeting and event planners it still is an adjustment period. What this means for planners is that they can now do their event planning online.
For those planners looking for sites that offer event planning online what they should be looking for is variety. A planner should not be penalized for doing event planning online and only being able to see suppliers that have paid to be listed on a particular site. A seasoned planner will soon realize that they are perhaps not getting the best selection of suppliers available. They’ll soon look for another site with event planning online.
I’m going to list a few sites here that you may want to consider for event planning online. The criteria for the sites has no scientific formula applied. Basically the sites are known as leaders of information within the meeting and events industry.
Welcome To The City, or WTTC.com is a great site that breaks down its suppliers by the various categories that a meeting or event planner would be searching. Planner accounts are free and you can set up as many events as you would like. Right now the company is focused in North America and has listings for 24 cities.
Cvent is known as one of the biggest in the industry. Cvent started in the industry as the leader in registration software and has expanded to include supplier listings. Cvent has supplier information for hundreds of cities were meetings and events occur.
Meetingplanner.com is another website for event planning online. This site offers supplier information in hundreds of locations as well. It also allows for suppliers to bid for certain events that planners are posting. It is also a free to use website.
Event planning online does help those that need to find venues and suppliers for their upcoming meetings or events. You can easily get bogged down by only Googling for venues and suppliers. Instead of doing generic Google searches why not try a site that is tailored to event planning online. Make sure the sites you are looking at do not preclude vendors that are only paying to be on those sites. By using a site that is specific to event planning online you’re sure to receive the best of the best for possible suppliers.