Some common challenges facing members of Prevue’s Editorial Advisory Board, shared during last week’s annual meeting—and some smart solutions.
Prevue’s 2022 Editorial Advisory Board met last week before IMEX. As we went around the room, several common themes emerged. Among them were these 5 challenges:
Not everyone is ready to travel
At Alation, Dave Stevens, PMED, Director, Events, will be doing this year’s incentive event online, and moving to a live event in 2022. “It was scheduled to be in September, but we have a fairly young executive team, in the sense that they have kids that are mostly all under 12. A few of the key people couldn’t attend. So we gave people AMEX travel vouchers and did an online experience. And then we booked a 500-person in-person, company-wide global kickoff at MGM Grand in February.”
Some are canceling, some are not
Lisa Coakley, Co-owner, Paramount Planners, spoke of two entirely different clients and approaches to their events in the same city, New York. “We had what was a one-night event. It was a welcome back reunion party for a corporate client out of New York, at the Central Park Zoo. They canceled it in August, when it was scheduled for September, and they were fine with paying all the cancelation fees. We have another one coming up, for a different corporate client, their holiday party at the Museum of Natural History. They have already send out the invite and they did say last week that they’re definitely moving forward.”
Hotel staffing and service issues
Libby Horne, Manager, Customer Programs, Haines, spoke of inconsistent staffing and services at the hotels they have been using. “Obviously, we all know staffing is a problem, and it makes everything we do 10 times harder when you’ve got overworked people and not enough who are properly trained. And the restaurants aren’t all open, the same with room service.
“The attendees aren’t understanding that the experience is not going to be the same—but they’re paying the same. So that’s, a challenge, and it reflects on us, even though it’s not us.”
Masking and vaccinations
Josh Adams, CMP, Industry Relations Strategist, streamlinevents, asked the question everyone is wondering: What is it going to look like when we do go back to live meetings? His company’s first ’22 meetings will be in the 1,000 to 5,000 range, and there’s a 15,000- person meeting for the end of the year on the books.
“So those numbers are coming back. Let’s hope they hold,” he said. “But the next conversation is how do we manage the expectations and the well being of the attendees when they come?
“In the tech industry, vaccination mandates are strong, and they probably will continue to be. So how do you then work with folks who are not comfortable or not vaccinated? Are you going to make the accommodation for them in some sort of hybrid fashion? What I’ve found is that most companies, when they talk about the hybrid, are not willing to talk about the corresponding costs which go along with developing two meetings. That’s not only more work on their part, but also more work on our part, meaning that we need really to have two teams that are developing it.”
Intentional meeting design
Sherri K. Lindenberg, Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications, Crump Life Insurance Services, spoke about how her company has taken this time to re-engineer, from realizing that a big portion of the business can be run remotely and closing multiple offices, to re-evaluating which meetings need to be live.
“We’re being intentional and we’re redesigning, and out of that, we realize that there are other small pockets that need to get together, and not just the sales teams. Operations people need to get together. Finance people. I think that we’ll actually end up with more meetings,” she said. “They’re just going to be very different than what we had before. And when we do get together, they will be more intentional about activities, and food and beverage, and things that create networking, because that’s the value of bringing us together.”
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