Traditional Event Planning is Declining

February 28, 2017

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There’s no denying the state of event planning has drastically changed in the last 20 years – 10 years – even 5 years. Whether it’s the change and necessity of event technology or it’s the expectations of event attendees – the state of events and event planning – has completely changed.

What does that mean for an event planner? A lot.

Event Planning in the early 2000’s was a different ball game.

Today, according to, the average event planner makes $44,447 a year. However, after 20 years of experience the typical event planner doesn’t increase their salary – they move onto different positions. Thus, what would attract any new potential event planner to field – knowing their range of income is sub par and the amount of experience and expectations, while great, doesn’t guarantee any quantitative pay raise?

Automation of Event Planning

There’s no denying that the tasks of an event planner in yesteryear are far different than today. Yesteryear, the typical event planner with a budget was required to find a venue, sponsors and exhibitors, print agendas, create a seating diagram, find an event audio/visual vendor, catering, and many other tasks. In the ‘not quite olden days’ an event planner may keep track of all of their event’s providers in an excel spreadsheet. But prior to even excel, the duty and tasks of an event planner have been historically tedious and manual. Fast forward to 2016 – with nearly every aspect of event planning that can be automated, it seems it’s almost unnecessary to have an actual event planner. From online registration, having an event app instead of a paper agenda or map, virtual seating designs, and more, there event planning job has certainly changed from paper and excel to 2016.

There’s an App for That

As prefaced in the prior section, there seems to be a way to if not automate, at least simplify and drastically cut down on the time – when it comes to event planning. Hitting a few key examples prior, let’s dive in:

Online Registration

Once upon a time the invention of a the facsimile machine completely revolutionized how event registration took place. Long gone were the days of needing to mail announcements and advertisements of events – as well as the need to receive registrations through that thing we called ‘postal mail’. The invention of fax machines truly transformed the event planning industry in ways no one saw coming. 2016 brought a whole new ball game – online registration. Any search in Google will tell you how readily available multiple solutions for ‘online registration for events’ are. No longer is a matter of who has the solution – but more specifically who is capable of catering to the custom needs and goals of events within an event planner’s budget.

Virtual Seat Diagrams

Remember the day when you had to sit down with the largest of artistry papers – pulling out your protractor and ruler and decide whether you would choose classroom style seating or theater style seating? Numerous cups of coffee by their side, event planners would begin the daunting task of drawing out the way in which seating arrangements would be for their next event.

Today that daunting task seems not only daunting but nearly incomprehensible. With the advancement of technology came the advancement and ease of event seating solutions.

Mobile Event Apps 

From replacing the need for paper agendas or paper maps, to helping manage the process of event engagement and networking, to even real time reporting – the world of events has changed drastically with the invention of mobile event apps. The fact that one single app, available at the hands of all your attendees, can provide information, resources, and even showcase your speaker’s presentation – is a complete game changer for the way in which event planners plan, execute and measure the success of their events.

Calling All College Grad’s!

In the past, who became an event planner? Typically, it was someone who received a bachelor’s degree as well as specific certifications such as Certified Event Planner, Certified Meeting Planner, etc. Today however, it seems less and less common that the ‘average’ meeting planner or event planner holds the same certifications or degrees that an event or meeting planner from times past did. Whether it’s due to the average income of an entry level event planner and the cost of receiving a degree and certifications today – or because the world wide web has provided an influx of information and knowledge that wasn’t available in yesteryears- defining who the ‘typical event planner is’ has drastically changed. This adjusting definition of requirements for the ‘typical’ event planner has thus changed the requirements of today’s event planners.

The Drastic Change in Event A/V

A/V – the acronym representing ‘Audio/Visual’, in times past once meant if your event had it – you were ‘the cat’s pajamas’ and way ahead of times. Whether it was showing a speaker’s presentation via a slide show or via an overhead projector, or even having a microphone – A/V of yesteryear is quite different than today – especially when it comes to who and how it’s done.

In 2016, A/V is an assumption of any event attendee. Once the cutting edge, technological factor that separated your event from the next – today A/V is an assumption. Yet that doesn’t mean customization and ‘wow’ factors stopped. With the advancement of companies such as Endless Entertainment that have taken the event industry by storm through custom, unique experiences with the usage of A/V techniques – where once upon a time the typical event planner would be in charge of switching slides during a speaker’s presentation – today A/V companies provide countless opportunities to ‘WOW’ event attendees from truly unique and customized event production and entertainment.

In Conclusion

Okay, you’re right. It doesn’t. Event planning is still an intricate and important part of event planning and something that regardless of how it’s planned, every event will still need. However, the way in which we plan events in 2016 is drastically different than how events were planned once upon a time – and that is something we as event professionals, simply cannot ignore. The ever-changing world of technology proves that even what is expected today at an event – will be drastically different just a few moments down the road from now. And while we may be able to utilize tools such as mobile event apps, or WOW our attendees with amazing event entertainment and production – what both today and tomorrow indicate for event planners – is the importance of never getting ‘stuck in the times past’.  

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