As You Plan Your Event, Don’t Forget the Forest

As You Plan Your Event, Don’t Forget the Forest

by Rossi Ralenkotter

Event planners have countless things to plan and execute to produce a successful show. Venues, hotels, exhibitors, attendees are all part of the equation that need to be solved, and these details are, of course, critical. But there is another part of the equation that show producers cannot forget–the big picture of our industry as a whole.

We all spend our days focusing on our event or company, working hard to make sure that every detail is in order–crossing our “t”s and dotting our “i”s as the saying goes. But there is another saying that we should all heed as well–“don’t miss the forest for the trees.”

Travel and tourism is among the top five industries in nearly every state in the nation, and the exhibition and meeting industry is a core part of that industry. So, it’s incumbent upon all of us to be advocates and supporters of travel and tourism as a whole. All the planning and details in the world will not ensure success if people can’t get to your event.

Your opening general session could be pretty quiet if traffic and poor roads keep drive-in delegates from attending. Your international program can’t grow if certain air carriers are limited on flying to our country or if exhibitors can’t get their travel visas in time for the show. You may have to search harder for expert presenters if government experts aren’t allowed to travel to conventions. All of these are current, real examples of issues that could impact your show if we don’t have a voice.

From Congress all the way down to local governments, we all need to make sure government bodies are not implementing policies that could harm our industry. Industry associations like IAEE, MPI, U.S. Travel and more work hard to promote our industry, but we all need to play our part and use our voice to show our strength. Elected officials meet with industry organizations, but they truly listen when it’s their own constituents who reach out to express their opinions.

So, keep your eyes on the details and develop the best possible event for your exhibitors and delegates, but make sure that you are also stepping back to keep an eye on issues impacting our industry as well so you don’t miss the forest for the trees.

Rossi Ralenkotter is President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Opinions are his own. He can be reached at through his website at

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