Top future challenges for event planners


Over the past decade, the event industry landscape has greatly evolved—and planners have had to adapt to many different changes that are transforming the very essence of their jobs.

Naturally, each event comes with its challenges and uncertainties; however, as I talk to planners who manage conferences and conventions, I noticed the same challenges come back time and again—a testament to the major shifts in our industry.

Here are the top challenges event planners may be facing in 2019 and beyond.  

  • 1

    Shorter lead times

    In the past, planners used to have more time to organize events; we’re talking months if not years in advance. However, due to the changing profile of attendees and increased competition for their time, many associations, organizations and businesses are rethinking their event strategies and formats. As a result, the lead times to organize events have become significantly shorter, squeezing all stakeholders in the event value chain. Event planners must therefore be extremely agile in order to address this new reality.

  • 2

    Booking the right venue

    Because of the shorter lead times, event planners are in stiff competition to booking great venues for their conferences and conventions as well as off-site activities. Oftentimes, event planners are hard-pressed to find an opening at any of the most renowned and the trendiest venues in a host city just a few months before an event.  The same holds true for accommodations, particularly for large groups or delegates that wish to get in some bleisure time before or after an event.

  • 3

    Safety and security

    Industry professionals, now more than ever before, must be focused on risk assessments and management to address a wide variety of geo-political situations, natural disasters and other threats.

    No matter where a convention or conference is to take place, the right security protocols and procedures have to be put into place to ensure attendees and staff are safe. This includes working with local representatives and authorities to hone out the appropriate course of action should something arise. What’s more, event planners need to consider insurance and other legal aspects in order to mitigate liability for any damages and potential litigation.

  • 4

    Tech savviness

    Innovations in technology, new legislation and up-and-coming online trends means that planners must now learn new skills and take on an even bigger role in the success of their events. For example, many new solutions are now available to facilitate event logistics, such as online registration tools and mobile apps.

    To help boost attendance levels and encourage engagement, event planners are leveraging the power of social media. Still others are using customer relationship management tools, paid search, retargeting and email marketing campaigns to stoke interest in both the specific event and its subject manner. In other words, event planners are juggling more tech tools than ever before.


    Adaptation is a key skill that all event planners need to have—and are part and parcel of the job. As a community, event organizers need to continue to come together, exchange ideas and identify best practices to overcome a new generation of hurdles that will likely affect the profession for years to come.

Susan Prophet

Based in Toronto, Susan Prophet is Director, Business Development, for Québec City Business Destination. Her extensive experience and knowledge is a great addition to the team.

- MPI Global Board of Trustee member 2012
- MPI Canadian Foundation Council Chair 2011
- M & IT, Hall of Fame Inductee, Industry Volunteer 2011
- Past Site Canada President 2009
- Past MPI Toronto Chapter President 2005

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