Jun 08, 2021
Water station, pads, pens, candies.... hand sanitizer? Meeting planner “specs” are looking a whole lot different these days. I’m honored to have reentered the workforce after being furloughed and laid off for over a year. I am now spearheading the event management department at the DoubleTree by SeaWorld Orlando convention resort. The enthusiasm that our operations team has to push forward with rebuilding and preparing the property to welcome meeting planners and convention attendees back is incredibly contagious. It’s exciting to be a part of the momentum.  However, I have officially found… more
Jun 01, 2021
As of late May, the U.S. adult population was inching toward herd immunity, with an abundance of vaccines available in all 50 states. However, it’s estimated that roughly 45% of the population is still not vaccinated, and there were 22,500 new COVID-19 cases just before Memorial Day. The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated people (1-2 doses, depending on the shot, plus an additional 14 days) can return to pre-pandemic activities, including hugging. Now comes the potentially hard part for meeting planners. How do you know who has received their shots, and without knowing this… more
May 28, 2021
With the advent of COVID-19, 2020 was definitely “the year of virtual events.” Not only did it evolve the event industry as a whole, but also opened up options of carrying out events in different ways. Now that people have gotten used to virtual events, 2021 should be spent on making them better. For event production companies, the transition from in-person to online requires them to understand how they can measure their success or ROI. It won’t be the exact same way that success was measured in 2020. Therefore, virtual event companies must ensure how they make virtual events a success.… more
May 19, 2021
Last year brought us the COVID Pandemic, but it was also the year that America confronted racism head-on. After the murder of George Floyd, I reached out to my colleague Derrick Johnson, director of diversity programs with Talley Management Group. We decided that event planners should be empowered to affect real change in the business of events, so we founded “Events: From Black to White,” a free weekly (now monthly) open online discussion on all things equity in the meetings industry. We felt that by giving the events community a safe space to come together to talk, listen, learn, educate… more
May 14, 2021
In my last blog post, I discussed how several virtual platforms and standalone matchmaking services tout the promise of highly effective matching between attendees to attendees as well as attendees to exhibitors. In reference to the data that is available to any matchmaking system and the subsequent value that’s likely to be output, I dug up that age-old saying “garbage in, garbage out.”   There are also more than a few vendors out there that love to put the ”AI” label on their process as if to assure event organizers that just because artificial intelligence is being used that highly… more
May 07, 2021
Throughout the last year, the events industry has completely changed from how we knew it. In-person events are happening on a much smaller scale, travel has been restricted and venues closed down, limiting the number of corporate events. Over a year into the pandemic, we are finally starting to see some positive changes happening. Every day, more and more people are being vaccinated against COVID-19 and states are beginning to re-open, showing a promising future for in-person events once again. While the world tries its best to get back to normal, corporate events are navigating right… more
Apr 29, 2021
Bleisure is combining business travel with leisure activities. Given the 14 months we have been through, there is a pent-up demand for local and regional business travel. And the family has the same need. Bleisure could be your perfect solution!  According to the Global Business Travel Association, 67% of business travelers state it is essential to build extra free time into their trips.  Working on incorporating leisure time before or after your meeting will help staff relax, improve their morale and provide them with a better understanding of the region they just spent several hours… more
Apr 23, 2021
Last year put life into perspective for a lot of us. In a previous blog, I talked about being an agent of change. Now I want to discuss how fast change can bring positive results within your business events models. Whether you dealt with navigating through chaos, strengthening your resiliency muscles or just survived, we all did one thing together and that was change. As much as we changed personally, it goes without saying that the events and hospitality industries also changed significantly. In what may be an unpopular opinion, I believe that this forced change has a silver lining. We all… more
Apr 16, 2021
Whether caused by taking part in a series of daylong video conference calls, catching up with loved ones from afar, or attending an event or meeting via an online platform (or a combination of all of these), virtual fatigue is a very real thing. Now a year since the pandemic began, it’s clear that certain brands and organizations are coming out on top — those paying attention and addressing virtual fatigue by placing both their audiences and storytelling at the heart, thinking creatively and embracing new yet equally relevant technologies to enhance the virtual attendee experience. Let’s… more
Apr 08, 2021
In a time when the travel industry has turned upside down and is striving to survive, destinations have evolved — and evolved again and again — to encourage traveling safely when the time is right. While general leisure travel is gradually increasing, meetings and convention travel is still widely uncertain in most areas of the country and will be a more gradual progression back to fully in-person. Destination marketing organizations have been forced to think creatively to better serve meeting planners as they plan for virtual, hybrid and in-person meetings. For example, I helped expand Gulf… more