We've been interviewing expert event professionals in our industry, and sharing their insights, advice, and unique experiences. This week we spoke with Pat Ahaesy, who has over 25 years of experience planning and implementing corporate and non-profit conferences and special events.
1) You've got an extensive background in travel and events, including more that two decades of running your own event production agency, P & V Enterprises. Over the course of your career, what one or two aspects of the events space have changed the most? And what concepts or characteristics, if any, have remained constant?
What's changed the most is the lead time is much shorter and therefore doesn't allow for much discussion between a new client and my company. That means it's very important to communicate clearly.
A concept that has remained constant is the critical need to develop good communication with our client about the event.
2) What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
The biggest challenge is that in many cases, potential clients have barely any budget for what they request.
3) What types of event-related technology do you use or interact with?
We use the appropriate technology for the client and the event.
- Enterprise-level event management platforms for online and on-site event registration
- Crowd Compass for the event app
- On Arrival for checking in
- Webcasting and Hybrid - using Wirecast
- We also can use Webex or Bluejeans
4) What do you see as the biggest trend(s) in events this year, particularly in relation to event technology?
The biggest trends this year are experiential meetings & events and hybrid events. All are very important.
Execute on your experiential events:
5) If you could give event planners / marketers one piece of advice, what would that be?
This is more than one piece of advice, but here goes:
- Plan carefully and be sure that you are meeting the needs of the meeting or event.
- Make sure to develop a reliable, talented and professional team, whether in-house or outsourced.
- Don't use a technology just because it's the newest shiny object. Use the appropriate technology for the situation. Be sure that it is the best and that your team is qualified to use it.
- Plan for contingencies, such as equipment breakdown. And in today's environment, plan for emergency response to terrorist or terrorist-like behavior.
- Instruct your servers and bartenders to limit the number of alcoholic drinks a guest may have.
- If the event is high profile, a good security company on site is crucial.
- Have enough on-site staff.