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Planning for post-COVID careers and events

Professionals weigh in on what the future of the event planning and attraction industries look like
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 12:39 AM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year, especially for those whose careers and coursework were put on hold.

Swathi Ravichandran, the professor and founding director of Bowling Green State University’s Cedar Fair Resort & Attraction Management program says her students have been able to experience a variety of positions and challenges to overcome in the workplace due to COVID-19.

“They tell me ‘We are the only ones who get to say when we go on interviews that we were part of a huge business opening in the middle of the pandemic,’ they are the only ones to have that experience,” says Ravichandran.

In addition, she advises her students to be flexible, and in the meantime, gain skills in areas related to their dream job.

“There are no events without accommodations or food and beverage or transportation or entertainment components and none of these are in isolation all of these work together, “ adds Ravichandran. “So it’s definitely important for our students to have that well-rounded experience.”

Gabrielle Wilson, who owns Social Events Co., started her event planning business in early 2020, which came along with canceling or rescheduling 22 events on her calendar.

“Our company is about bringing people together and celebrating social events so when events essentially became illegal, we had to shift our focus,” said Wilson, who explains that instead, the company began offering party-at-home boxes and more outdoor backyard options while also paying extra attention to state guidelines.

“Just two weeks ago a venue canceled 48 hours before the wedding. The governor’s new restrictions came out and the venue was like ‘oh, we have to cancel’ so I think just to be that calming force, reassure that everything’s going to be okay,” she advises those heading into the industry.

Both Ravichandran and Wilson are optimistic about their industry after seeing a vaccine is in sight.

“2021 is so competitive just to find a space because you have all the reschedules and the people who are just getting engaged,” adds Wilson. The field will come back and I think it’s going to come back stronger and bigger than ever.”

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