Shannon Gardner is the president of Accent on Indianapolis and an event management industry veteran. The company was founded locally more than two decades ago and remains committed to providing a comprehensive range of customized services to the association, corporate and incentive markets. She is a member of the Association of Destination Management Executives.
Q. Why should a business work with an event management firm?
Many businesses today are facing cutbacks while combining job responsibilities, forcing employees to perform a multitude of job duties, many of which are outside their normal areas of expertise. By contracting out event and meeting planning services, companies can focus on specific meeting content and day-to-day business while relying on the experts to manage the event. I’d like to think a company wouldn’t rely on an administration or human resources executive to perform plumbing or electrical duties, so why ask them to manage meetings and events without any experience?
Q. What important values and assets can a firm provide for a business?
An event management firm’s expertise and vendor relationships are key when planning and executing events. Good event planners are prepared for Plan A, B, C and so on. We plan for the worst to happen and are prepared if it does. We have relationships and contacts with vendors and individuals that enable us to call on favors that a one-time planner or business executive wouldn’t have access to use.
Q. What are some of the newer services and products a firm can provide for businesses?
In today’s economy, the perception of hosting meetings and events can appear lavish and excessive to the general public. Businesses can utilize event firms to negotiate and plan on the business’s behalf without the vendors ever knowing the end client. The need for ‘generic’ meeting services is now more popular than the previous years of over-the-top branding. Businesses are looking for creative but budget-conscious ways to introduce internal branding strategies and define new internal infrastructures due to cutbacks. Businesses are looking for ways to market to not only their customers but employees, as well. We’re seeing a need for team-building activities to help boost employee morale.