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David Bruce, President, Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals

An Insider’s View of 2021: Independent Planners

AIMP’s David Bruce predicts that the loss of so much hotel staff with practical meeting knowledge will make independent planners more important than ever.

MeetingsNet asked 21 events-industry thought leaders to weigh in with their predictions and perspectives for 2021. Find all the commentary here.

David Bruce


Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals

The loss of business throughout 2021 will be significant to the independent planner. Once a vaccine is widely distributed, the desire of groups to come back to traditional settings will surely rise. But I think that the independent planner must focus on late 2021 as well as 2022 and 2023 when they discuss business with clients.  

Independents must continue to adapt their skills and grow their knowledge to assist with virtual and hybrid events. But the value of people discussing things face to face before, during, and after sessions will again become very important. As in-person meetings return, independent planners will be valued for a few reasons. First, the loss of so much hotel staff will lead to many problems; lots of practical knowledge and creativity for events will be gone. And food-and-beverage service is just one area where costs are going to increase because of new safety protocols; we are already seeing service-charge percentages rise to new levels, and experienced planners are needed to handle these issues. Lastly, think of all the in-house planners who have been laid off. As a result, independent planners might find a good amount of new business once the industry gets going again.

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