Chaplin School Offers New Online Masters in Mega-Event Planning and Execution | FIU News
The Miami International Boat Show. Art Basel. Olympic Games. Coachelle. The scale, production and, in most cases, extravagance of these mega events can create technical and logistical nightmares.
Thus, the national ranking Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management launched a new fully online master’s degree in hospitality management with a specialization in mega-event planning, the first of its kind in the world.
The size of events has increased by more than 22% over the last 10 years and are now defined as mega-events, meaning events that attract more than 10,000 attendees. Advancements in technology, the fast pace of communications, and the ability to deliver a multi-layered experience have fueled this increase. The new technology gives audiences the wow factor, which includes personalization and an unparalleled group experience like that of Beyoncé’s recent concerts. The singer’s concerts feature an innovative app to sell merchandise, along with perfectly timed fireworks and coordinated visual displays. Mega Events evolve with many “smart” features limited only by imagination and digital infusion shapes future events from start to finish.
Failures of events of this magnitude can be overwhelming for investors and stakeholders. The Fyre Festival which should have been a “luxury music festival” on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma has been a disaster for security, food supplies, accommodation and medical services. The 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been plagued by technical difficulties. And while it’s nearly impossible to plan the deranged intentions of a psychopath like with the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, the need for management and planning training—for the expected as well as the unexpected— couldn’t be clearer. .
“We offer something unique,” said Dan Cormany, assistant professor of meeting, trade show and event management at the Chaplin School. “We created the degree for two reasons: it is not offered anywhere else and there is a great need for education.
CRF students currently have a small advantage. The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE provides over a thousand students with hands-on experience and invaluable networking opportunities each year. National, star-studded, five-day event with over 60,000 guests showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities – in partnership with our Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and Glazer’s Southern Wines and Spirits.
The master’s program
Larger events, ranging from entertainment and trade shows to parades and political demonstrations, are inherently more complicated, require additional security and installation issues, and present greater budgetary and marketing pressures. These considerations are not typically addressed in most event management training programs, but are central to the fully online master’s program.
The Mega-Events specialization is for students who have mastered the basics of event management and are now looking to prepare for the next stage of their career development. Classes focus on festivals, trade shows, major conventions, sporting events and concerts.
“There are a lot of things that go into mega-events, from coordinating staff, volunteers and risk management to sponsorships, money and security. Today, planners must also carefully consider the feasibility of a mega event, the logistical and infrastructural capacity as well as the technology,” explained Cormany.
“We provide students with the skills and knowledge of industry professionals who will teach from experience — they’ve been doing it for 15 to 20 years — so it’s not just about teaching from a textbook,” said added Cormany.
The ability to get information from those who have had first-hand experience in the mega-event industry is crucial. This couldn’t be more evident with recent event debacles, like the Ultra Music Festival on Miami’s Virginia Key, in FIU’s backyard. This event illustrated how transportation, when not well planned, can go wrong. Stranded spectators had to walk miles back into town as empty buses passed.
Another example is the recent poppy bloom in Lake Elsinore, California, a mega event fueled by social media influencers. A steady stream of 150,000 nature-destroying, selfie-taking poppy enthusiasts made their way to Walker Canyon one weekend in March. This mega nature event illustrates the need to understand digital marketing, sustainability and conservation.
As trends drive the customer experience of mega-events, whether entertainment, trade shows, art festivals, parades, demonstrations, nature or sporting events, the concerns and challenges increase. For its online students, the Chaplin School, which has many partnerships around the world, facilitates many volunteer and paid opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Although not required or part of the new online curriculum, the school’s global influence provides opportunities for students to work at events to learn more about these challenges, Cormany said, who sees security as the most troubling aspect of mega events.
“After Las Vegas, everyone swallowed hard and said, ‘We have to figure out how to do this better,'” Cormany said. “This program bridges the gap between planning and preparations for the event.”
-Monica Smith contributed to this report.