Wedding MBA: A sea of open minds, searching for nuggets

Wedding MBASince early 2008, the business of conferences has been in a funk (that’s a technical term). In the hospitality industry. Generally, when speaking with conference producers, one hears that the norm is being down about 20% from the prior year. Have flat attendance, plus or minus 5%, is considered great.

In the face of these statistics, Wedding MBA, in its second decade, has grown by leaps and bounds. Approximate attendance has tracked a consistent upswing in the last few years.

The conference’s final year in Phoenix, ten years ago, hosted about 350 people. This year, the Las Vegas conference should see about 4000.00

There are many reasons for this consistent climb in attendance, but it does contrast to other hospitality and wedding industry conferences. Industry-specific content on Monday has been a major factor in the last couple of years.

Wedding MBA: ANALYSIS AND OPINION

Moderate conference price, good airline access to Las Vegas, and rock bottom hotel prices are all helpful. A great assortment of national speakers and enticing session topics are of great importance. However, there is still the nasty business of committing 4-5 days away from one’s own business that asks for a strong belief that there is value in making the trip.

I assert the vast majority of attendees, no matter how successful, bring an open mind. They bring the desire to acquire at least one new, significant strategy, a piece of information, or technique that will provide fresh perspective or skill to vault their business to a higher level.

Having a standard of looking for one new bit of knowledge is NOT a matter of low expectations. The more success and experience one has, less presented information is new. Much of it feels recycled and unsatisfying.

Yet, sometimes that recycled idea, with a fresh approach, may set off sparks. An absolutely new technology, strategy, product, service or marketing avenue, properly applied, can open entirely new vistas for a business.

It is a privilege to make presentations to a sea of open minds at Wedding MBA. Along with my fellow presenters, exhibitors, and attendees, I’m certain we can move-the-meter toward immediate wedding prosperity for industry businesses.

If you’re not already registered, change your plans, and be at Wedding MBA. We’ll make room.

FYI: I will be making two short, WedTalk presentations on Wednesday morning, October 4th.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Government Shutdown

government shutdown wedding industryNews, Analysis & Opinion: Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Blog

The Law of Unintended Consequences has struck the Wedding Industry, as a sidebar of this week’s government shutdown. This ongoing political dispute shows no obvious conclusion, in the foreseeable future.

For those of us who may not read the daily paper, follow the news online, or watch network or cable TV news, it’s too easy to think, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me.”

On October 1st, as this political gridlock entered its first official day, more than 2000+ attendees, rolled into the nation’s largest wedding conference, Wedding MBA. For me, like many others, this meant 16 hour days and complete focus on the conference. Only late yesterday, and today, did I start to see news reports on the sudden effect on weddings, public events and tourism.

Your wedding has been postponed!

Vast numbers of wedding couples scheduled ceremonies, receptions, or both, at government parks, venues, and the like. The engaged couple, their families, wedding party, and guests have made plans, weeks and months in advance. Suddenly, it’s up for grabs.

Businesses are caught in limbo, too. Should an event be postponed, it’s not as simple as applying a deposit to a future date. Employees and contractors are obligated a specific date. They expect to work, and get paid, in the present tense, not some-date-in-the-future.

There will be inevitable business disputes among these parties, through no fault of their own.

Our Government Should Govern!

Lest any reader think I have a particular party affiliation to support, please understand that I don’t. The whole lot of federal representatives, Senators and Congressman of all parties have kicked the can down the road. We have a representative government, and I expect those who elected to do the business of the people.

There are more critical issues than the postponement or cancellation of weddings and receptions. I understand and appreciate that.  This weekend, if I were a bride or groom, I would be focused on my own situation.

The annoyance factor is this: Many citizens dependent on the flow of funds for all kinds of government services are paralyzed by federal inaction. If you would, take a couple of minutes to send an email to your Senators and Congressman and light a fire under them.

My opinion on how the issue should be resolved may be different than yours… and I’m OK with that. What I suggest is governmental paralysis is not an option.

End of rant…

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

No Respect! Why so many wedding businesses don’t get any

no respectFor decades, I’ve considered the quandary of many wedding industry business owners who feel (in the vernacular) ‘disrespected.’

As a mobile disc jockey, many years ago, I often found myself answering the always-annoying question, “So, what’s your day job?”

Some time back, I posted a couple of animations about the feelings of Wedding Planners toward Bands, and Bands toward Wedding Planners. Each, taking the quintessential negative view of the other (as a class). The scenarios were stereotypical, and very funny. However, if you are a true professional, you might find them incredibly offensive, personally.

There is THAT word, professional. By dictionary definition, a professional is one who earns their living in a given line of work (paraphrasing, from several variations).

On the flip side, there are wedding industry people who work part-time, but  do a ‘professional quality job.’

There are those who aspire to become a wedding professional, are learning their craft, and practicing it at some level.

And then there are ‘nonprofessionals.’  And that may simply mean they are untrained or inexperienced. Or, in the long run, may lack the necessary skill set or ambition to fully succeed in the wedding industry.

Jumping to the answer that this post asks:

OPINION: It appears in many wedding industry categories, that far too high a percentage of the wedding industry businesses (i.e. people doing the work) ply their craft on a part-time basis, without the current skills, or full-time aspirations.

Let’s be clear… if someone has a full-time career, and is doing ‘professional quality wedding industry work‘ as a part-time passion, good for them. My concern is with the vast number of people who dabble in mediocrity, or worse.

I have this discussion with various people, in assorted industry classifications, and, while the numbers may vary, the same points seem to come up.

  • Barriers to starting a business and calling oneself ‘a professional’ are quite low.
  • Brides are usually first-time, one-time, customer (for the most part) and are often overwhelmed by the planning process, and easily fooled into hiring substandard businesses… often when seeking the ‘best deal’ aka ‘the lowest price’.
  • Collective industry ethics and understanding ‘what the other business does’ is an area of weakness. We often overlook issues such as : licensing, proper insurance, back up equipment, and the like.

The question you can answer is this: There seem to be a vast number of businesses, in the part-time group, that lack the aspiration to ‘take the plunge’ into full-time self-employment. I’m curious to understand why.

There are always issues about insurance or ‘security’. For me, those sound more like excuses, and not solid issues. Ask anyone who has been laid off from a large company about ‘security.’ They’ll tell you they had the illusion of security.

Is it the absence of the ‘entrepreneurial gene’? Or something else?

The temporary excuse is the economy. Weak!

I’ve answered my premise: Wedding industry businesses do not get proper respect, in the main, because to few of them are professionals or part-timers doing professional work.

  • Do you see this situation, similarly, or perhaps another way?
  • What will it take to motivate quality people to leap into the full-time arena?

Your answers, ideas, opinions, and musings would be appreciated.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding Industry Council: First steps taken to organize

Wedding Industry CouncilWhen I was a National Board Member with NACE (National Association for Catering and Events), I became aware of the CIC (Convention Industry Council).

CIC is an ‘association of associations‘ – “Advancing the Meetings, Conventions, Exhibitions, and Events Industry.”

A visit to the CIC website gives you a crash course in the ongoing projects and initiatives derived from member organization collaboration. These actions better unify the industry and serve its customers. The CIC  list of member organizations has grown, dramatically, since its inception.

The ABC 20/20 Wedding Confidential has served as a catalyst for industry outrage. Wedding Industry voices have been heard from far and wide on blogs, websites and social media. However, they are a cacophony of disparate voices, not a unified voice, with one messages.

“I believe, for many reasons, it is time for the wedding industry to form a similar body to CIC, representing the collective interests of the wedding industry.”

Public Relations is a top priority. Generating other industry-wide issues and projects will not be a problem. Sorting them out, and acting on them will is the challenge.

An umbrella organization, such as this, will have members with overlapping/competing constituencies, viewpoints and priorities. That challenge that is a reality, to be met met. An organization such as this should inclusive throughout the wedding industry to have maximum impact.

As part of an outreach process, I registered the domains, WeddingIndustryCouncil.org and WeddingIndustryCouncil.com. 

My goal is reach out to wedding industry leaders, membership organizations, and trade associations to gauge the interest in building a collective body. I hope to be overrun with ideas from others. We shall see what develops.

Stay tuned, and help spread the world.

There will be more announcements appearing… and soon!

In the meantime: Organize@WeddingIndustryCouncil.org

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

 

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert