One of the challenges for those of us in the event entertainment industry is what has recently come to be referred to as the "AIG effect". Corporations have cut back on many of their meetings, conferences, and other events, not only because of tightened budgets during the economic crunch, but also because of the public perception that these types of corporate events are excessive or frivolous.
Unfortunately, this trend has had a negative effect on business for those in the event, travel, and hospitality industries. Conferences and other events are still very valuable, but it's become politically incorrect to be seen as spending money on wining and dining corporate executives.
In a new article in Conference & Incentive Travel magazine, Ben McKee of American Express is quoted as saying, "Events should pass a ‘red face test’ to see if the company would be embarrassed by external coverage of the event."
While there are some indications that the impact of this trend is beginning to reverse itself somewhat, it's still a factor in our industry, and one that those of us serving the corporate event market can and should address.
As an entertainer and speaker, I strive to offer real value not only with my programs themselves, but also in assisting clients to communicate what that value is in concrete terms. In my view it's necessary to "go the extra mile" in this way so that clients can have a clear conscience about choosing to hire top notch speakers, entertainers, and other vendors for their events.
Morale, team building, and keeping employees on the right track are key to the bottom line of any company, and of course, that's what I offer for corporate events.
If you've been effected by the "AIG effect" in your business, I'd love to hear about your experiences, and would be happy to share my thoughts about how to address these challenges in ways that can be of benefit to all of us.