EVENT MARKETING: What does 2011 hold for the events industry?

Over the past few years, marketing event planners have learned the hard way  - to expect the unexpected, as Lilah Walker, international director of events, Marketing Options International finds out

In 2009 for example, we faced the most serious economic downturn in recent decades, resulting in our industry being hit hard with corporate budgets being slashed, redundancies in marketing teams and agencies closing their doors.

In 2010 - as marketers began to work smarter and maximise measurable ROI from their events - the industry was hit by one of the most unexpected natural phenomena - the Icelandic ash cloud. I'm certain that anyone running international events or domestic events with an international audience was affected in one way or another and had to think intelligently and swiftly in order to overcome the resulting on/off travel chaos. I clearly recall that at the time, the Marketing Options International team was scattered across the globe, with some stranded in the US unable to get back to the UK, others unable to get to the US and the rest road-tripping around Europe! However, the plus side of the ash cloud was that it taught us the value of thinking smartly and always having a contingency plan.