How The "Gig Economy" Benefits the Meetings & Events Industry
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How The "Gig Economy" Benefits the Meetings & Events Industry

By Tracy Judge, MS, CMP | May 30, 2019

During "Embracing the Gig Economy in Meetings & Events," 8-9 a.m. on June 18 at the 2019 MPI World Education Congress (WEC) in Toronto, Tracy Judge will present on the evolution of the freelance economy and the drivers that are influencing this shift. In addition, we will discuss the 4th Industrial Revolution and how it will change all jobs in the future. The session will include a panel of freelancers, companies that hire freelancers and an industry expert in the technology space to discuss their experiences, successes and challenges.

In case you haven’t heard, the gig economy is here to stay. Small businesses and freelancers alike are reaping the benefits of a modern-day labor market that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit. In a recent LinkedIn study, 70 percent of small businesses surveyed had hired freelancers in the past. Of those companies, 81 percent plan to hire freelancers again in the future.

Innovative small businesses are discovering myriad ways to leverage the freelancer talent pool. This is great news for the meetings and events industry in which seasonal peaks in business require supplemental staffing. The availability of freelancers is greater than ever, which allows small businesses to remain lean and agile while maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with amazing talent.

Meetings and events industry experts understand that business ebbs and flows based on customer demand. By capitalizing on the expertise of specialized freelancers, small business owners are redefining what staffing looks like and meetings and events professionals are taking notice.

Leverage the Freelancer Talent Pool to Supplement Your Internal Workforce

In the world of meetings and events, digital platforms like Cvent and Aventri have made it possible for multiple team members to plan events from locations all around the country. The days of having to work in the same building, or even the same city, are gone.

Gig-Economy-in-Events

Skilled, diverse and highly-specialized freelancers will supplement your full-time team by bringing specific expertise and thoughtful solutions to the table, while reducing overhead costs. Web builders, registration managers and planners can work together to manage every aspect of events regardless of their geographical location.

Experienced freelancers will step into contract roles ready to collaborate. Unlike your full-time team, freelancers will not require training, benefits or taxes. Savvy small business owners take advantage of the freelance economy by strategically building teams mixed with full-time staffers and expert, yet temporary, freelancers. Thus, they create a “blended workforce."

Stay Lean and Agile

Small business owners are used to a certain degree of uncertainty. To save on staffing costs, many opt to minimize full-time employees. This strategy will free up funds for other areas of the business, like tech or marketing. Freelance contractors with high hourly rates still tend to be more cost-effective to small businesses than one too many full-time employees.

With the recent reduction in commissions by big brand hotels, meeting planning agencies need to find new ways to drive revenue to their bottom lines.

A 30% profit loss on sourcing may be the equivalent of a full-time salary or more for small agencies.
As negotiation practices shift, small business owners need to consider how staying lean can significantly offset the rising costs and fees associated with doing business.

 

A small business needs to be ready to act on opportunities that can affect the bottom line. By establishing well-defined, non-overlapping roles for yourself and your team, you will see the spaces where freelancers can fit in, and you will maximize your team’s unique talents. This staffing strategy will allow you to preserve your core team, while capitalizing on the contributions of skilled freelancers.

Get Variable Talent and Expertise--But Only When You Need It.

Freelancers offer a great deal of flexibility, which is exactly what you’re looking for. The needs of clients are always changing in the meetings and events business. You need to meet demands, but you also need to be smart about managing time and resources. When you need to supplement your resources, an external contractor with specialized expertise and insider knowledge can step in and flourish.

Access to a network of specialized freelancers means that you can confidently offer a wide array of services that potential clients are looking for on their RFP’s. Freelancers will make it possible for you to elevate your small business to the next level. The fact that talented freelancers are readily available is a game-changer that is greatly beneficial to all parties.

As Millennials and post-Millennials continue to populate the workforce, their tech-savvy perspective and demand for remote positions are reshaping industries, including meetings and events. As millennials intermix with industry veterans who know every trick of the trade, meetings and events are evolving to a new and exciting place.

Related Articles:
Millennial-Friendly Meetings
How Event Organizers Are Implementing Millennial-Focused Programs

The best and brightest teams in the industry are strategically comprised of those who have a pulse on the latest trends, insight about what’s working and what’s not, and longstanding industry mavericks who have invaluable experience. 

Now you can bring in the best talent for your annual meeting or the hottest consultant to elevate your next incentive trip, as necessary. Small businesses will save on costs by hiring freelancers that are there when they’re needed, but not when they’re not.

Conclusion

Small businesses who embrace the freelance economy are redefining what it means to attract the very best talent. Technology has made it possible for small business owners to build their dream teams from scratch, regardless of geography.

The possibilities for collaboration and innovation continue to present themselves. Small business owners are saying yes to the solutions that the freelancer economy is presenting. In effect, small business owners have embraced the freelancer pool and it’s changing the ways in which people do business.

At WEC19

Tracy Judge, MS, CMP will be speaking at the following WEC sessions this year:

  • Sunday, June 16th: Mastering Meeting & Event Management
  • Monday, June 17th: Data Driven Event Design
  • Tuesday, June 18th: Embracing the Gig Economy in Meetings & Events
  • Tuesday, June 18th: Pricing for Profitability and Trust
  • Tuesday, June 18th: Mastering Meeting & Event Management

Click here to see more sessions.

 

Author

Tracy Judge
Tracy Judge, MS, CMP

Tracy Judge is the Founder & Chief Connector of Soundings Connect, an innovative company that is reshaping the way Meetings & Events strategy meets implementation. She also is a member of MPI’s Independent and Small Business Owner community. When she’s not busy traveling or building the industry’s foremost network of freelance talent, she’s giving back by mentoring, educating and advocating for the many Meetings & Events professionals she knows and loves.