Working with lean budgets will be the No. 1 challenge facing special event professionals in 2010, according to the latest survey from Special Events.

Some 71 percent of in-house special event professionals say that "having reduced budgets to work with" will be one of their greatest professional challenges in the new year. A whopping 78 percent of independents agree, though this figure is down slightly from the 2009 survey, when 81 percent of independents bemoaned tight event budgets.

Both in-house and independent event pros list the "uncertain economy" as their No. 2 challenge in 2010. Interestingly, event pros seem more positive about the economy in 2010 than they did at this time last year. Some 69 percent of in-house event pros say the uncertain economy will be one of their biggest challenges next year, down from 78 percent last year. Eighty-eight percent of independents were worried about the uncertain economy at this time last year, but that number has decreased to 77 percent this year.

LEAD TIMES TIGHTER STILL

In a painful change, both in-house and independents cite "shorter lead times" as an issue—it ranks as the No. 3 challenge. The percentage of in-house event pros concerned with shorter lead times jumped from 19 percent last year to 34 percent this year. For independents, the figure rose from 20 percent in last year's survey to 30 percent this year.

And after sharp declines for the past two years, the problem of "labor shortage/lack of skilled labor" showed a 5 percent increase in both in-house and independent sectors, likely the fallout from staff layoffs throughout the business world.

For the full story, see the January-February issue of Special Events; this issue will also feature the annual Party Rental Forecast.

Photo by iStockphoto.com / © Murat Giray Kaya

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