Planning companies are consolidating, as are hotels, ground transportation, audiovisual and every other industry sector. Keep communication lines open so you aren’t surprised when clients, vendors and your own company acquires competitors—or is acquired.

Some vendors may be focusing more on the bottom line, seen in Marriott’s recent commission cut and United’s changes in baggage fees. Consider more client- and planner-friendly vendors whenever possible.

Clients assume that planners do logistics well. Success is measured by how well an event meets the business goals set by the client. Planners need more business acumen, more audience and client research and more professional training.

Hurricanes have had an enormous impact on destinations in the Caribbean and other areas. Planners and clients must know the state of rebuilding before beginning any substantive discussions about venues. Consider islands such as Aruba or nearby destinations such as Mexico that were less affected. And be sure the client understands what is at stake under their relevant force majeure contract provisions.

Customize, customize, customize. Neither clients nor attendees are willing to settle for an event that looks like anything else they have ever experienced. Keep abreast of trends, comb industry magazines for ideas, talk with other planners and get inspiration from people and places outside the industry.

Changes in technology will continue to accelerate. Planners who can’t keep up will lose a competitive edge.