The speaking industry in 2018 showed an increase in the number of meetings that would require speakers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently posted that between 2016-2026 the meeting and event industry would grow an average of 11%. The fastest growth in meetings and events is in the 101-500 attendee range.  More bureau statistics show that 85% of meeting and event planners are optimistic about the future.

But that doesn’t mean meeting planners don’t have challenges. The number one challenge on their list, according to Event Manager Blog, is budgets. So, although the meeting industry continues to grow, and the economy remains strong, that also means their prices are going up and they have to deal with rising costs of venues, etc. It’s expected to increase an average of 2.2% globally.

The great news for you as a speaker is that there are simply more jobs out there, paid ones and free ones. But even as the number of meetings increases, unfortunately meeting planners’ budgets will remain relatively flat. According to American Express Meetings and Events North American, the change from 2018 to 2019 is only +0.8%.

Also, according to American Express Meetings, airfares are increasing 2.11% in North America and an average of 2.63% globally. As a speaker your odds of booking a local or regional event are much better. As a speaker, if you must travel, try and book more than one event in a location to save on those expenses, use frequent flyer miles or get sponsorship to help out if the expenses aren’t covered by a job. More than once I’ve booked a job because I was able to get creative with travel and sponsorship.

Because of rising venue costs, meeting planners are having to book further out than before when hotels were struggling. Now many hotels don’t even respond to requests for proposals. So as a speaker, be prepared for meeting planners to also book talent further in advance.

Here’s more good news for speakers. According to CWT Meetings and Events, “Booking a speaker based on their celebrity status will be a thing of the past in 2019, as the importance, business insight, and emotional connection to the audience comes first.”

Technology use will continue to increase for meeting planners as events become more and more interactive and experiential. Event management tools like multi-use apps will become more popular as meeting planners are looking for ways to increase productivity and decrease costs.

According to the International Association of Conference Centers, “80% of event planners say that their jobs involve more experience creation than they did 2-5 years ago.” Their audiences want fresh concepts and purposeful meetings.

Mindfulness and wellness continue to play a big part in the design of meetings, and that includes speakers who can tap into that area of work/life balance.

With unemployment rates at historically low records, employees are having a hard time finding and retaining good talent, so the topic of employee retention will continue to be needed for the near future.

If you happened to take the Speaker Sponsorship 101 webinar you know that trade shows are a good way to break in as a speaker with sponsorship. The Center for Exhibition Industry research noted that the trade show industry is also growing, but not as fast. I’m sure they would love to have good, qualified speakers, but probably can’t pay them, so they would be open to them having their own sponsorship. This is a good way to get into an area where other speakers haven’t thought of going and carving out a niche for yourself with sponsorship.

This is all good news for speakers who can bring value and expertise to the table in 2019.

 


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