A hobbit-style crepe station was the hit of the opening reception party at Prevue’s recent Global Meeting & Incentive Planning Summit, sponsored exclusively by Tourism New Zealand.
But the insights on global planning—everything from international site selection to navigating visa snags—were the cream of the crop at the two-day event, held this past July in Pasadena, California. Here, we highlight the role that global perceptions have in making or breaking international events.
Hyperbolic Perceptions Influence Planning
Didier Scaillet, CEO of SITE, kicked off the Summit with an overview on how misinformation and perceptions of global issues not only limit and/or negatively impact global planning, but offer a hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world. Scaillet referenced a TED Talk by psychologist Steven Pinker that speaks to an overall decline in global violence. In fact, says Pinker, “We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.” Despite incidences of terrorism in Europe in 2016, programs in Western Europe increased by 4 percent in 2017; same goes for Caribbean programs that rose above the buzz of Zika and South American programs that overcame fears of political instability.
Hyperbolic dialogue around global affairs increases the need for fact-based communication on required safety strategies.
That said, safety is still a concern for international attendees and planners who book international events. Headlines may not always reflect trend lines, but global safety still remains a top concern for attendees who are embarking on international meetings and incentives. Misconceptions about travel warnings vs. travel alerts (i.e. a general overview vs. a specific area of caution stemming from a recent event), also fan the flames of hyperbolic dialogue. There are a plethora of travel warnings for non-Americans who enter the United States—gun violence to wildfires—for example. If you happen to be an American citizen, this may or may not be surprising, but if you’re an attendee coming to the US for this first time, it could certainly raise a red flag. The point: hyperbolic dialogue around global affairs increases the need for fact-based communication on required safety strategies, especially when a familiarization experience is still the most effective way to learn about a destination.
Scaillet offered a few tips for getting ahead of any safety issues that may arise including:
- Having a documented safety and security plan
- Completing a risk register with in-depth descriptions on how it can impact your event
- Adjusting Force Majeure language to include the words “impracticable,” impossible,” or “commercially not feasible” and/or a reciprocal clause for emergencies that prevent at least 25 percent of a group from attending
The good news? Despite perceptions on global travel safety, incentive travel is on the rise—and growing faster than any other segment in the meetings industry. Like 15 million annual attendees and $22 billion in spend kind of growth, making the extra effort you put into creating peace of mind for your attendees worth it.