What You Told Us About Your Biggest Challenge Surprised Us

Author: Michelle Russell       

Controlling F&B costs was mentioned by survey respondents as a top challenge.

When we receive the results to our annual Meetings Market Survey every year, we turn first to the responses to open-ended questions. Often, the comments give us as much or more insight than other metrics in terms of what’s on event organizers’ minds. For example, when asked to identify their No. 1 on-the-job challenge in last year’s survey, planners’ responses fell into more than a dozen buckets. (My favorite response, “Big Personalities,” defies categorization, but boy, can’t we all relate?) 

In no particular order, here’s what they had to say:

  1. Choosing the right event technology without blowing the budget.
  2. Work/life balance. 
  3. Budgetary constraints, especially keeping a lid on F&B expenses.
  4. Competition from other industries and associations.
  5. Content design.
  6. Time management.
  7. Growing attendance.
  8. Getting recognized by upper management.
  9. Finding the intel needed to plan events in other countries.
  10. Upping the ante without more funding. (“I like to say that I am frequently tasked with delivering a steak dinner on a fast-food budget. We are expected every year to increase our attendance and improve our meeting, but without any budget increases.”)
  11. Making revenue goals.
  12. Managing staff and volunteers.
  13. Recruiting speakers.
  14. Negotiating with hotels in a seller’s market.
  15. Lack of staff. 

What was cited more often than any other challenge? No. 15 — 10 times. Here’s how one respondent put it: “I work way too much compared to three years ago. If anyone leaves the company, they don’t seem keen on replacing them, just giving the work to one or more employees without any promotions.”

Is staffing your foremost challenge, or is there something else not listed here that keeps you up at night? Speak your mind by participating in the 2017 Meetings Market Survey. We’ll publish the results in the March 2018 issue of Convene. Not only will you be entered into a random drawing to win a $250 American Express gift card, you’ll have the chance to vent anonymously — and still make your voice heard.


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