I’ve been joking with many about how I’ve been looking at ways to change my market mix to some extent, because sadly my primary customer, the US Federal Government, has gone out of business!  It’s a little bit hyperbole and a little bit reality.  With the way that lawmakers have instituted hurdles for federal agencies to hold meetings, they’ve made it sufficiently inefficient or impractical to hold them.  Certainly when these agencies fail to meet, they also fail to spend money and this cost savings is going to surely be seen as an artificial success story.  If all is able to function without holding these expensive meetings, why hold them at all?  While the government spends money on studies considering this rhetorical question, those of us in the periphery of the marketplace who depend on government meetings for our livelihood ought to find it prudent to seek other markets to supplement this rather significant lost revenue stream.  For me, it’s meant a little bit of reinvention.I’ve had to dig deep into my sales training and do my homework, do my research, and properly solicit new accounts who I feel could benefit from my firm’s services.   Diversifying isn’t something that can be done terribly quickly – I should have been doing this since day one.  But when times were tough on the corporate side, and my expertise was on the government side, who could have foreseen a time when government meetings would dry up?  Would they be less appealing to hotels?  Surely.  But dry up?  Hardly!  So while I had a certain percentage of my business derived from the non-profit and the association market, it was never more than one-third or so.  And corporate?  Maybe one account.

Times are changing and so I must change with them.  Corporate meetings are back – or at least they’re meeting.  The AIG effect is still relevant but it’s not squashed all corporations ability to plan meetings.  And since there have been layoffs for sure, a firm like mine can provide some real added values to companies who don’t have full time meeting planners any longer!  And how about weddings!  This January Hotel Lobbyists exhibited at the Washington Bridal Expo in an effort to supplement with room blocks for weddings.  And it’s been a wonderful success!  They’re keeping me busy!  The great thing about brides is that weddings will happen every year, regardless of the economy.  The less than idea thing – only in the rarest cases do brides become repeat clients.  😉

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