For all of the meeting managers, planners, organizers, and strategist out there, I do not have to tell you how eye-opening 2018 has been thus far. Change management and the status quo may have you feeling as though you are treading water, sometimes going under, and you are not alone. Recent hotel commission cuts for third-party planners have hit hard for thousands of planners in the U.S. Many are rethinking ways to bridge the gap in income as well as ways to prepare for the next round of cuts and potential changes.
Add to the mix the explosion of technological advances like artificial intelligence, bots replacing human intervention, and blockchain technology that creates more direct financial relationships by-passing third-party interventions, and how all of it is changing the way businesses and business relationships operate.
On top of all that, there are also more external demands on your current role, including the need for Duty of Care risk management planning for all events (not just global events) and data privacy requirements as a result of the General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect May 25.
So how are you dealing with everything? Overwhelmed? Angry? Feeling helpless? All of the above? There’s a reason why event planning is consistently ranked as one of the top-five most stressful jobs, and what I just detailed contributes to it.
So, what do I advise my friends in the industry when they are having anxiety attacks? Hopefully what I share here will help reduce your stress levels.
First thing is to focus on what you can control, not what you cannot. For example, commission cuts were a carefully deliberated business decision made by hospitality conglomerates, and it’s highly unlikely they’re coming back. This change is beyond your control.
What is in your control?
· Support hospitality companies that don’t reduce commission levels.
· Review your current business model if it’s reliant on commissions. Changes could include eliminating commission sharing with clients and creating transactional fees for services that no longer are covered due to the reduction in commissions.
· Focus on developing your personal brand, you must make time to do this. If you want tips and guidelines, you can find them in my book, Your Personal Brand via Amazon. Start marketing yourself and your personal brand outside current geographic boundaries. With social media at your fingertips, you can expand your client list.
· Stay current on what’s happening with technology and keep an open mind. Today’s technology platforms and the latest enhancements can positively impact your business model, work efficiencies, and productivity.
· Review security and Duty of Care requirements with companies like iJET that offer free resources online. It’s likely your clients have an agreement with global risk mitigation firms like iSOS and iJET; ask if you can leverage their corporate agreements to help your planning efforts.
· Educate yourself on the European Union’s GDPR initiative. (MeetingsNet has a useful GDPR resource site here.) Remember, even if you don’t plan events in the EU and UK, you may have EU/UK residents and citizens attending your events. If that’s the case, you will have to comply with the new requirements.
In summary, be pro-active, and focus on yourself and the things you can control. Change management is a constant part of our professional and personal lives. Accept this fact and it will give you a renewed perspective that will, I hope, reduce your stress levels and anxiety. Help and resources are available, so use them!