What is Your Top On-the-Job Challenge?

Author: Convene Editors       

“Sanity.” That was the — tongue-in-cheek, we hope — response from one participant in Convene’s 28th Annual Meetings Market Survey to the question, “What is your No. 1 on-the-job challenge?”

But the combined answers to the question give a clear sense that many meeting professionals are feeling crunched by a lack of resources — of money, staff, time, or all three — in the face of their jobs’ demands.

Client politics, controlling costs for space and services, and contract negotiations were top of mind for some respondents, as was finding diverse speakers. But in addition to navigating the strategic and logistical aspects of your jobs, the assertion that there is too much to do and too few resources cropped up more frequently and with more urgency than in years past. If that describes you, you are not alone.

Here are the responses, in alphabetical order. Visit Meetings Market Survey for more results.

  • Anticipating troublesome issues and reacting quickly with solutions.
  • Attrition and room rates.
  • AV and F&B costs.
  • AV and F&B costs.We go to 1st-tier cities, and it is getting very expensive, making it very difficult to keep cost of event under control.
  • AV costs, F&B costs, union labor costs.
  • Availability of big-box hotels.
  • Balancing expectations with budget. How do we continue to deliver an event with excellence while maintaining the critical balance between what is enough and what is needed. (primarily AV and decor come to mind)
  • Being resourceful and an absolute resource to our association members with a limited staff.
  • Budget. (6 mentions)
  • Budget — hotel and F&B costs.
  • Budget cuts and not having enough staff for events, which makes for long and demanding hours.
  • Budget time and membership.
  • BUDGET!!!!!! Increasing prices from hotels is killing me!!!
  • Change. We have an older staff that resists change.
  • Client politics.
  • Collaborating with partners with whom we hold our joint meeting.
  • Commitment from leadership to stay the course and not ask for last-minute changes.
  • Communication.
  • Containing costs so we can contain fees for attendees.
  • Continuing to grow membership especially in the retired ranks.
  • Contract negotiation when dealing with India hotels. Travel budget has been significantly cut off.
  • Contracting. (3 mentions)
  • Current sellers-market thus providing value to our customers.
  • Data-driven change.
  • Dealing with multiple priorities and projects.
  • Difficult volunteers.
  • Doing a lot with not much money and with a small staff.
  • Doing more w/less staff and budget.
  • Doing more with the same amount of money.
  • Email.
  • Event planning within a fundraising not for profit organization.
  • Executive indecision.
  • Figuring out how to reach the individuals in our industry who we aren’t currently reaching. Finding and engaging new audiences.
  • Financial.
  • Find the time to do everything.
  • Finding adequate hotel available to accommodate large groups.
  • Finding diversity in speakers.
  • Finding quality speakers.
  • Finding the best quote.
  • Gaining respect and trust from leadership and the board of directors.
  • Getting attendees to stay at the host/event hotel.
  • Getting my staff promoted.
  • Getting our international delegates into many countries like the UK, Canada and the USA. Visa denials are real and unjustified for scientists and medical professionals.
  • Getting paid by hotels.
  • Getting those with no or little meetings experience to understand the daily grind and challenges of my job.
  • Guaranteed rate protection/integrity.
  • Helping my new team grow and elevate their conferences by improving the attendee experience and modernizing our meeting approach.
  • Higher hotel prices.
  • Honestly, just managing so many moving parts with so many different clients.
  • Hotels not responding.
  • Human resources management.
  • I’ve been asked to decrease my budget and do things with less.
  • Increased demand for hotel rooms and meeting space.
  • Increasing attendance.
  • Internal clients.
  • Internal processes bogging us down.
  • Juggling two major job responsibilities, including meeting planning.
  • Keeping costs down, particularly food and beverage and audiovisual for meetings.
  • Keeping costs low for attendees since 65% + are self-pay.
  • Keeping people interested.
  • Keeping staff motivated and happy.
  • Keeping up with the pace of change, member expectations and technology.
  • Keeping up with the volume of work, and trying to keep an in-house team.
  • Lack of money.
  • Lack of time and competing priorities.
  • Logistics and safety.
  • Lower membership.
  • Maintaining budgets in light to flat revenue and increasing expenses.
  • Making things work with a shrinking budget.
  • Managing expenses.
  • Managing internal pressures between competing clients.
  • Marketing. (2 mentions)
  • Multi-tasking in one day.
  • My director.
  • Not enough staffing for all program needs.
  • Not enough resources/help.
  • Not enough staff resources since positions were cut from the budget.
  • Not enough time for everything that needs to be done and everything changing at the last minute.
  • Not enough time in each day to accomplish all that I need to get done.
  • People who think they can easily do my job because they think it’s fun and don’t appreciate the amount of work. A manager who doesn’t appreciate event design that meets strategic goals and learning outcomes.
  • Program development.
  • Respect for the role of meeting planners.
  • Rising cost of meeting facilities and services.
  • Sanity.
  • Security and tech savings vs. offerings.
  • Selling sponsorships; getting exhibitors is easy; turning them into sponsors is difficult.
  • Short staffed; expected to do more with less; find more efficiencies.
  • Shrinking budgets.
  • Space! Demand is so large and constant, we can’t accommodate all who want to attend.
  • Space. Hotels are not building larger full-service hotels so the competition is becoming tougher.
  • Staff turnover in the organization. And in the case of hotels, attrition impact on our meetings.
  • Staffing. (2 mentions)
  • Stakeholder engagement. I still find that in a large organization, the meetings and events team/division is neglected for the better part of the year. Even though our convention in February is the single opportunity to reach 10 percent of our associates, from March through October is virtually impossible to have C-level engagement and partnership.
  • Technology.
  • The number 1 on-the-job challenge is staff management.
  • Tight timelines.
  • Time … need more than 24 hours in my day. Budget — always asked to do more with less money.
  • Time and budget. Sorry, can’t pick between the two.
  • Time and resources.
  • Time management!
  • Time management and budgets.
  • Time management and wanting to do so much in a limited time as well as increasingly rising costs.
  • Time management/employee resources/lack of defined roles.
  • Timely response from vendors and clients.
  • Too little time.
  • Too much to do, too little time to do it all.
  • Too much travel.
  • Visas.
  • Volunteer management.
  • We are a small staff and I am a one-woman show for planning events.
  • We are a small team.
  • When the real estate industry starts to decline, we find it incredibly difficult to attract people to our events.
  • Working with hotels to make sure they have what my group needs.
  • Working with many moving parts.
  • Working within a small budget.