Technology and the Event Industry: Bridging the Gap

By Talia Mashiach, CEO and Founder, Eved

Technology and the event industry have never gone hand in hand. In fact, the industry is recognized as being 15 years behind on the adoption of modern technology. One of the biggest areas of inefficiencies in the industry is the communication between meeting planners and the multiple suppliers they work with for an event. This communication is currently managed with multiple phone calls, back and forth emails, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and faxes. This manual and highly fragmented process is not only inefficient, but it also absorbs time and costs.

In 2000, the retail industry first began transitioning to online shopping and utilizing e-commerce. Brick-and-mortar store owners were faced with a decision to open an online store. Would it hurt their current business? How would the shift from brick and mortar to online affect their company? What is the difference between online selling and what we are familiar with today? These are the same yet very unfamiliar questions event suppliers are asking today as we introduce technology to the event industry for the very first time.

My first encounter with the event industry was working with my husband when he was a band leader. I saw an industry that not only sparked personal interest but also had huge growth potential. I loved that this industry had large corporations working with small businesses across the globe and the dynamic this created. But the industry was missing the technology to bridge this supply chain and reduce significant labor costs that came from the use of manual processes. I wanted to be a part of transforming the industry by bringing the entire supply chain online, utilizing the Internet to create efficiencies and to help businesses grow.

In order to provide a technology solution around communicating and transacting with suppliers and clients, I started a local event services and destination management company. The technology's impact grew the company into a $9 million company in four years. With six years of deep industry experience, my case study for how technology can impact this industry was complete. I was ready to introduce a global solution for the event industry supply chain.

In 2010, I launched Eved as an online meeting and event marketplace that would provide event professionals with a complete solution to sourcing, marketing and e-commerce. Similar to the retail industry, it challenges event industry professionals to move from their familiar manual processes to adopt new and innovative technology.

I strongly believe the industry will change for the better based on our case studies on the industries that have successfully expanded on the Internet. It will help the event industry grow and facilitate business in a new and different way. Let's embrace it as other industries have done before us, closing the 15-year gap and creating a new reputation as an innovative and transformative industry.

ISES and Eved have established a strategic relationship to benefit ISES members worldwide. For details on the program and how to participate, please visit www.ises.com and click on the “ISES and Eved” box on the home page.

Name: Talia Mashiach

Title: CEO and Founder

Company: Eved

Address: 4811 Oakton St., Suite 250

Skokie, IL 60077 USA

Website: www.eved.com

Next: The ISES Esprit Awards--Why Should You Enter?

The ISES Esprit Awards--Why Should You Enter?

By Gwen Helbush, CWC

It is my privilege to serve as Chair of the ISES Esprit Awards Committee again this year. It shouldn't be a surprise that I think you should all enter your work in the competition, but the question is, why?

Since 1995, ISES has acknowledged the outstanding work of its members through the ISES Esprit Awards program. The ISES Esprit Awards program was developed to showcase, acknowledge and honor the special events industry's finest examples of creativity, planning, strategic management, resourcefulness and successful solutions.

A recent survey showed that 65 percent of Esprit Award nominees said being nominated for an ISES Esprit Award helped their business in some way — and that was just for being nominated. Winners and nominees alike used their nominations and wins for marketing, to impress clients, improve staff morale, attract media and boost their professional confidence.

In other words, being affiliated with the ISES Esprit Awards provides an invaluable differentiator. It shows that you are good at what you do and can prove it. Now more than ever, proving your worth to a client is the difference between a signed contract and a going-out-of-business sign.

An award is a tangible item that clients can understand. Telling current and potential clients that you were nominated for or won an ISES Esprit Award is another way to say you are an elite in the industry and they should say yes to your proposal.

Another benefit of the Esprit Awards is that a motivated, energized staff can make a huge difference in the success of any business, and the Esprit Award process can be a team-building and education tool for your staff.

Awards also have glamour, and people like glamour — they understand it, they value it and our friends in the media beg for it. Anything you can provide to shine light on your business is worth its weight in gold.

Most of us work in a bubble. We concentrate on our clients and our businesses, we think we are good at what we do, but how do we know for sure? Having your peers recognize that you are among the best in what you do gives you confidence that nothing else can.

The Esprit of the Year category changes annually and is based on current industry conditions, needs and/or trends. This year, in celebration of ISES' 25th Anniversary, the Esprit of The Year Award will be presented to an individual ISES member, company, team of ISES members or an event that has inspired, influenced or guided you in your special events career. The entrant is writing the submission on behalf of others. If you have been inspired, thank that person by entering them in this category.

Entering for an ISES Esprit Award is simple: ISES' online entry system eliminates the need for binders, printing and postage. Follow the instructions, answer the questions completely, upload collateral — and that's it. You do need to plan your entry, collect your materials and execute with style, but isn't that what you do every day?

The 2012 Esprit Award Call for Entries is open now, and you can't afford to ignore it!

Log on and enter today at http://isesew.vtcus.com/Awards/ISESEspritAwards/home.aspx.

Name: Gwen Helbush, CWC

Company: Where To Start Inc. Wedding and

Event Management

Address: P.O. Box 43

Newark, CA 94560 USA

Phone: 510/795-9072, ext. 101

Website: www.wtsevents.com

Next: You Can't Strut if You Don't Enter

You Can't Strut if You Don't Enter

By Lisa Marie Borchert, CSPE

ISES peeps, I know you love a good party, so take advantage of a great opportunity to celebrate: Enter the Spirit of Excellence (SOE) awards! Much like the Esprits recognize individual achievement, the SOEs recognize chapter achievement. The chapter categories that require application are Communication, Programming & Education, Special Project(s) and Chapter of the Year. Winning an SOE can be used to promote your chapter, build engagement for retention and assist with recruitment. Everyone wants to be a member of a winning group!

My personal experience with the SOEs comes from having the privilege of serving the ISES Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter on the Board of Directors for six years. Because of my involvement, I was able to be a key contributor to the chapter's submissions and subsequent awards, including three-time Chapter of the Year. I remember the board retreat when then ISES MSP President Jodi Collen, CSEP, set a chapter goal to submit in every category. We had some previous success, but that leadership decision really propelled our momentum. To enter is now part of our chapter's standard operating procedures. Our collective achievement really was a result of a “spirit” or attitude of excellence.

You might be reading this thinking, sounds great for next year. But it's not too late! Entries are not due until Friday, July 6, 2012. So where do you start?

  1. Read the entry rules at www.ises.com, Esprit & SOE Awards tab.

  2. Set a goal to submit for the SOE Awards — at least in one category.

  3. Decide who will oversee the process, assign a chair and recruit a committee.

  4. Work on your entry throughout the rest of the year.

All the answers for what to do are in the Award Rules/Application Form. For additional tips, see the accompanying Guide to Success document on the website. Based on the Award Rules, create an outline or award category template with “placeholders” for the information that won't be available until later. Do not wait until the last minute, as it will inevitably show in your entry.

This year, I am privileged to be the International Chair working with four other ISES peers representing each region and the affiliates. It is very inspiring to see what is going on in chapters across the world.

Winning will take work, but it will also be rewarding. My advice is to set your chapter up for success with the little things: File your reports with headquarters by the monthly deadline, repeat the question and then answer it directly on your entry. To quote Colin Powell, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

Leadership is constantly redefined by results. ISES Rhode Island earned Chapter of the Year in 2010-2011, and I look forward to seeing who will be strutting the Eventworld stage to pick up the award in 2012.

Name: Lisa Marie Borchert, CSEP

Company: Allianz Life Insurance Company

of North America

Phone: 763/765-6986, ext. 36986

Email: lisa.borchert@allianzlife.com


Next: Those Letters After your Name Say More than You Think

Those Letters After your Name Say More than You Think

By Sara Hunt, CSEP

When you hire an accountant, you find a CPA. In court, you are represented by an Esq., and when you go to the doctor, you look for a licensed MD. So if you are planning an event or hiring a new staff member, don't you want to see a few letters behind that person's name to verify his or her professionalism and expertise?

The CSEP is an industry designation that recognizes those in the industry who have demonstrated the ability, knowledge and skills to produce all components of a special event at the highest level. The certification was established in 1993 and is now becoming more widely recognized within the industry. The CSEP exam measures a candidate's ability in all aspects of event planning (catering, insurance, AV, risk assessment, marketing, etc.), thereby establishing each CSEP as a versatile and capable member of the events industry.

The certification process was once viewed as a daunting undertaking: A portfolio had to be created, a certain number of “points” were required and the exam itself was difficult to access. Candidates still need to study and be well versed within the breadth of information that the exam covers, but recent changes to the exam structure have made the application procedures and testing process much more accessible.

There are many intangible benefits associated with having your CSEP. Just by preparing for the exam, I became more knowledgeable in various event-planning disciplines, learned new vocabulary, gained a better understanding of suppliers' roles and brushed up on risk assessment techniques. With those four little letters on my business card, I now stand out in the crowd when applying for jobs or when being vetted by potential clients. CSEPs are also helping to further the industry by leading their peers as a certified, professional planner and establishing the standards to which event professionals are held.

Most people outside of our industry think we are all just “party planners.” But we know we are much more than that. We are professionals who are highly skilled in our respective disciplines. We are entrusted with the safety and well-being of people at every event we produce, cater, design or supply. We are constantly adapting to advancements in technology, various cultural practices and clients' whims. We should be recognized for our expertise and we should hold our colleagues to the highest of standards. Making the CSEP an industry standard can help us accomplish that goal … and it will make our business cards look a lot cooler.

If you are interested in learning more about the CSEP designation, please contact Education Coordinator Lauren Rini at lrini@smithbucklin.com.

Name: Sara Hunt, CSEP

Company: Giants Enterprises

Address: 24 Willie Mays Plaza

San Francisco, CA 94107 USA

Phone: 415/972-2429

Next: The Credits

The Credits

Caroline Sewell
Volunteer Editor
Encore Events Inc.
caroline@encore-events.net

Kelly Rehan
Editor/Coordinator
krehan@smithbucklin.com

Kevin Hacke
Executive Director
khacke@smithbucklin.com

Kristin Prine
Operations Manager
kprine@smithbucklin.com

Lauren Rini
Education Coordinator
lrini@smithbucklin.com

Meghan Miller
Chapter Services Sr. Associate
memiller@smithbucklin.com

Tom McCurrie
Membership Services Associate
tmccurrie@smithbucklin.com

401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611 USA

T: 800/688-4737

T: 312/321-6853

F: 312/673-6953

E: info@ises.com

W: www.ises.com