Attendees Coming From Europe? Keep These 5 Things In Mind

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EuropePlanners with attendees coming from Europe have a special set of concerns, from visa delays to ensuring GDPR compliance.

Prevue spoke with Virginie Raimondi, Global Optimization Director at Egg Events, about 5 of the biggest concerns for meeting planners with attendees who are coming from Europe:

Visa Requirements

Depending on their country of origin and purpose of travel, European corporate event travelers may need to obtain a visa before entering the US. This can be a time-consuming and complex process, and event planners must ensure that travelers have the necessary documentation according to not only their country of residence, but also their citizenship.

Understanding the audience, knowing the rules and processing times and being able to assist the participants is part of the challenging role of the event planning agency.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

European corporate event travelers may need to obtain an ESTA approval prior to traveling to the US. This requires providing personal and travel information, and event planners must ensure that travelers are aware of this requirement.

Planners can assist the participants but most of the time they are required to do it on their own due to the sensitivity of the data required/collected.

General Data Protection Regulation

The GDPR is a European data privacy regulation that applies to any organization processing the personal data of EU citizens. Event planners must ensure that they comply with GDPR requirements when collecting and managing attendee data and that the platforms they use/suppliers are also compliant.

Some data can’t be requested and must not be disclosed, and it can make it difficult for delegate managers to keep track of people preferences and requests. Some countries are stricter than others and the event planners must make sure all their suppliers, partners have the same level of compliance than them.

Health and Safety Protocols

Event planners must ensure that they have adequate health and safety protocols in place, emergency response plans, and accessibility measures. This is a top concern for corporate event travelers, and non-compliance can result in legal and reputational consequences.

Providing the appropriate international insurance and guidance about destinations is a very important part of the planning process.

Knowing the customer’s internal rules and policies around this matter is very important before sourcing, recommending a destination.

Customs and Border Protection

European corporate event travelers must comply with CBP regulations when bringing equipment, materials, or gifts into the U.S. Failure to comply can result in delays, fines, or even confiscation of goods.

Planning  ahead of time and being aware of the local regulations makes it logistically more challenging. Delays can occur, customs can block a shipment, so a backup plan needs to be made ahead of time and well thought of.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.