What’s In and Out for Operations Management in 2024

In 2024, I want you to throw away everything you think you know about operations.

Seriously. Get rid of the old-school playbook. The one that prioritizes a means to an end. The one that thinks, “If you build it, they will come.” The one that says “If people are talking about the operations of our event, we were unsuccessful.” (There was a time this was the goal of all operational leaders because if people were talking that means they saw the operation happening and likely experienced a failure. Therefore, talking about it.)

I’ve understood for a while that these traditional approaches don’t work, but now I’m not alone. In an era of social media, hyper-personalization, increasing inflation, and fierce competition, the stakes are high.

You’re being watched, and those watching are savvy. They’re choosing to spend their dollars wisely. They’re choosing value. They’re choosing something that will resonate with them and reverberate in their memory long after they leave.

Those people are your guests. And if there is one key takeaway from this article, it’s that they matter more than ever.

With guest experience at the forefront, there are some non-negotiables in operations management and others that need to go – aka the “ins” and the “outs”. Here’s what I’ve identified for the year ahead.

What’s “In” for Operations in 2024

Here’s what gets a big thumbs up.

Tell a Story

Operations aren’t just about efficiency anymore; they’re about telling a compelling story. The story is what cultivates connection and makes guests feel like they are part of something bigger — something beyond a single event.

Your guests want to know the behind-the-scenes journey; they want a peek at the lead up to the big day. The who, what, where, why, and how of it all. They deserve that. Be the storyteller of your operations and write your guests into the narrative.

Be Authentic

In a skeptical market, authenticity will set you apart, strengthen your bonds and your reputation, and build trust.

When your narrative aligns with your values, genuine connections will form, as will loyalty. Not to mention, people just start to like you for keeping it real. (Trust first, likability second: I talk about this more here).

Treat Your Guests as Valued Stakeholders

You’ve maybe figured this out by now, but just in case: your guests are stakeholders, not just consumers. Taylor Swift gets this. Treating guests as stakeholders by prioritizing fan feedback has undoubtedly contributed to her remarkable success.

Swift’s team excels in engaging fans through social media, surprise gifts, and exclusive content. And her shows go beyond the “typical” concert experiences; instead, they’re immersive and foster connection and community.

Experiential Programming

Say buh-bye to blah events. You have to ‘wow’ your audience if you want to make an impact. Think: immersive experiences, including an element of surprise, and giving people more than what they paid for in value.

It goes back to this: people will talk, and they will share. How do you want to be remembered? It was once only about failures, not anymore. If you want to orchestrate encore-worthy results in your operations and enterprise planning, think big and get creative.

Premium Experiences

Premium experiences are no longer “taboo” or reserved for a select elite – everyday guests are seeking out elevated service and personalized experiences. They’re already getting them everywhere – from Spotify curating tailor-made playlists to getting a free drink at Starbucks on their birthday.

Every business needs customer loyalty, and they get it by making people feel special.

What’s “Out” for Operations in 2024

Those were the yays, now for the nays.

A Transactional Mindset

Forget the idea that operations are just a series of calculated inputs and outputs, and of only thinking in terms of “one-time events”. Keeping things transactional prevents you from building loyalty and legacy. Don’t think only about the to-do list of today; think about the one a year from now, too.

Ignoring Guest Needs

Forget about your guests and you can forget about success. Every interaction with your audience carries weight. Remember that your guests are at the heart of everything you do — anticipate their needs, make them feel seen and heard, and address them directly.

Taking an Ego-driven Approach

Shift your mindset from “my event” to “your event”. Because it’s Not. About. You. An out-of-control ego mindset will kill even the most meticulously thought out operations, so listen to your stakeholders and think holistically.

Being Boring

The status quo won’t cut it. Your operations must be agile, responsive, and continuously striving for improvement. Embracing creativity and innovation ensures your operations planning remains relevant, engaging, and capable of driving meaningful outcomes — plus, it gives your guests something (exciting) to talk about.


Premium, in, VIP, out. Why? Because every person is a very important person. The old-school, white glove, exclusive-and-untouchable VIP service is still there, but not the only option. Augment your offerings to include the premium experience. Note: the exceptional service should be on the table for everyone, across the pricing structure, not a select few.

The Showpiece Difference

Listing a year’s “ins” and “outs” might be a social media trend, but the thing about this list is that we’re not following any trends at all.

Storytelling, authenticity, prioritizing guests, experiential programming, and premium experiences have always been part of the Showpiece Solutions standard.

Now, thankfully, the world is catching up, and we have the opportunity to introduce more businesses to our unique approach to operations consulting.

Want to learn more about how we do it, and how we can help you make your operations “in” in 2024? Fill out the form below to get in touch.

Ins and Outs of Operations in 2024