Monday, June 25, 2018

Winning a Millennial Over in The Event Industry

As a millennial, I grew up with technology right at my fingertips. I had the latest gaming systems when I was little, then came middle school where I was always eager to tell people what I was doing on the weekend by updating my Facebook status or even better, the ridiculous pictures my friends and I would post. So many kids had a cell phone at that age, and typically we would text, make and receive calls. Anyways, by having access to technology at such a young age, it made us millennials capable of growing into tech-savvy individuals, having a more convenient way to be more in the loop, more access to learn and be more modernized as well as dealing with new advancements that come so quickly in just about every field. Writing from a millennial perspective, the event planning industry is changing due to future generations skyrocketing and becoming more up to date on what us millennials want from an event.

I am a student at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in public relations, hoping to get into the event planning side of this field. Currently, I am interning for the company FIRE Light Group, and so far I have helped with putting contracts together for venues and clients, planning group travel incentives such as finding locations for companies to visit and hold conferences, and I even got to attend a networking event at an exclusive screening of a documentary!

In event planning, I think it is important to have great multitasking skills and even get distracted by social media. If you didn’t already know, millennials are huge social media fans. Too many people see the distraction of social media as a negative trait, however, staying connected and updating people on things you are working on is a great way to get your name out there. I also want to be updated on new ideas for creating a perfect event as well as getting input on what worked at an event and what didn’t. This is important for the future of event planning, gaining these connections will gain you business and using social media is great for measuring data on what made a lasting impression and what impacts the attendees got from attending an event you created. I get distracted easily as you can tell I am jumping from one thing to the next, but distractions are good in event planning. If I am working on one thing for to long, I am going to want to work on something new because I will get bored of it. It is important to work on multiple tasks at once so you can get things done for an event and millennials love overloading themselves with work. In this industry you will get phone calls on the daily with situations that have to be fixed, the list can go on and on, but things happen unexpectedly and you have to be prepared to drop what you are doing and deal with it.

For people that know me, staying connected with people has always been my downfall, I hate phone calls or even texting but when it comes to business, I think it is something I really need to work on. I won’t gain anything from not reaching out to people and figuring out when the catering company is coming or if we can fit everyone into one room. When I was looking for a summer internship, I wasn’t getting any responses to emails and applications I had sent out, so then I had an idea of looking in Madison even though I have never lived here before. So I reached out to local companies that were in the event planning industry and FIRE Light Group was just a perfect fit for me to gain experience with events and learning the steps of making events work. If I wouldn’t have reached out to them, I would not be gaining any experience for my future and millennials adore hands on experience.

Which brings me to my next point, we have a desire for creating new ideas on our own but we also love to collaborate. I have a passion for both of these, I want to gain input from others but love creating refreshing ideas. Along with this, millennials love short and interactive, so if any event can incorporate these things, we are there. For the future of event planning I see events being cut short and more engaging for the audience of my generation. Millennials are interactive learners and appreciate getting out of the office or classroom and explore through internships, field trips and being in the environment.

Another random idea that we love (or maybe just me and other environmental freaks) is sustainability and giving back to a cause. The world has been changing environmentally and will continue to change but if we use our resources in a smart way millennials and the future can work to improve that by being sustainable. We value the idea of smart buildings, so if we can incorporate that into our venue of choice that is awesome. Catering is huge in event planning, everyone loves food and usually there is food at events, and there are many companies that have sustainable food and products that try to reduce the damage on the environment. Designing an eco-conscious event can impact the environment in a positive way and millennials are for it. I also mentioned giving back to a cause, people in general adore this idea. When it comes to non-profit events or charity events, we love having a good meaningful experience and then you gain a potential partnerships with these companies that are hosting the event. Which will lead to donations and giving back to the cause you are supporting, I see more of these kind of events in the future.

I really think millennials are changing the game for event planning. This list could go on and on with everything that millennials could do in the future, and I know some of you are thinking “why should I care about event planning?” well, if you think about it, we save you time, we make things happen that you potentially couldn’t do on your own as well as making sure your event runs smoothly and how you want it to!

-Amanda Prusak

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Campfire Stories Part 6 - Coming Home

Mary Zinn is a long-time consultant for FIRE Light Group and Wisconsin Meetings and Events. She is traveling with her family this summer in an RV named Loretta and will be blogging for us from the road. She and her family will share their photos, stories, and travel tips as they adventure their way from Wisconsin to San Francisco and back on a 10 week journey.

Campfire Stories Part 6

From Zion to Wisconsin

The drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion was less than 3 hours and we only had the following day to see the area, so we picked The Narrows hike which is considered one of the premier hikes on the Colorado Plateau. The shuttles to the trailhead were overflowing and the number of people of all ages was astounding. They recommended walking sticks which we rented and I can’t imagine attempting it without one, but people did—both young and old!

It had rained the night before so the typically clear rushing water was instead murky and brown like chocolate milk. This just made it more of an adventure because you couldn’t see the rocks under the water. The hike is slow going, and we only made the first part of the hike but it still took about 2 hours.

The following day, we were on our way to Mesa Verde when our RV started having acceleration problems. Yes, yet again, we had to change our plans. Rather than making it to Mesa Verde, we literally spent the night in the desert on an Indian Reservation on Highway 160 between Red Mesa and Teec Nos Pos, AZ. on Indian Route 5043. At this point, the boys (and all of us) were great about rolling with the changes. Most of the local folks didn’t bat an eyelash at our hard-to-miss presence, but one friendly gentleman stopped to chat. He told us that “his people” would not bother us nor be bothered by our presence. It was an interesting experience that we’ll always remember and ended with a beautiful sunset as the air cooled down.

The tow truck picked us up at 5:30am and actually kept us in the RV during the hour long tow! Once we got to Cortez, CO we were told by the service station that they couldn’t handle an RV so we had to find another place (yes, we told them we had a 24ft RV before we had it towed there). Thankfully, we did find another place and rather than another tow, we took our chances and drove 1.7 slow miles to the next place where she was eventually repaired.

Again, another rental car and motel were required. We stayed at The Retro Inn which was not bad (they had a great breakfast and even shipped my glasses to me after I left them behind). While in Cortez we were able to stick with our plan to visit Mesa Verde where we did the amazing Balcony House Tour. The tour is known as  the “adventurous cliff dwelling tour” and is a one hour ranger-lead tour that involves climbing a 32 foot ladder, crawling through at 12 foot long tunnel that is only 18 inches wide, and climbing up a 60 foot open rock face with two 10 foot ladders in order to exit the site! Yes, it was adventurous and very unique.

Since we had broken down and were unable to drive through Four Corners on the way to Mesa
Verde, we took the opportunity to drive there while staying in Cortez. It was obviously super touristy—surrounded by booths selling trinkets and jewelry, but it still makes for a fun picture and a great memory!

Unfortunately, the fuel pump problem kept us in Cortez for a couple extra days and prevented us from our next stop at Dead Horse Point State Park where we planned to visit the Moab area and do a bike ride. We just had to let that go and went on a day early to Rocky Mountain National Park—our last national park stop of the journey!

After a beautiful, but long and treacherous drive all the way through the park to our campsite at Glacier Basic Campground, we settled in for dinner and a campfire. The next day, we had planned a hike, but after taking the shuttle to the trailhead, my son and I both felt ill and after trying to start the hike, thought it would be best to skip it and take the day to adjust to the altitude. So we had a quiet day at the campground and tried a new hike the following day. Success! We enjoyed a hike to Emerald Lake and on the way passed Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. It was chilly when we got to Emerald Lake but the return trip was quick as more of it was downhill.

On the way home from Colorado, we had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with cousins in Lawrence, KS. We all had a great time and when we left, we planned to head to Dubuque, IA for one last night of camping when, you guessed it; change of plans. The fuel pump was acting up (or something seemingly related) so we decided to scratch that plan and make a B-line for HOME!
We were determined to get home and made it despite horrible weather that followed us most of the way. We all felt strange walking into the house after so long. It was immaculate (the renters had left it as I had for them) and quiet (Charlie the Beagle was still on the farm). The kids were super excited to be home and had huge smiles the entire night as they walked around in awe of each room in the house.

Oh, and guess what the final surprise was? The next morning we were unable to unlock Loretta! The lock was broken and we now have to get in and out with a ladder through the emergency exit window. Sheesh! We still love her (our RV) and had a great time, but boy, I tell you…to do it again, I think I’d find new wheels!

I personally have mixed feelings about being home. Things are pretty much as they were before we left, yet nothing will ever be the same again. We all have seen and experienced and grown so much. More on that in another blog maybe! Peace

FLG Note: This wraps up Mary's Campfire Stories blog series. If you'd like to follow her blog for any more updates on Loretta, you can find her here. We hope you enjoyed her storytelling adventure as much as we did!