How Will Events Change Post-COVID-19? Experts Chime In On #MeetingsChat

Mutual support and optimism was trending during a joint #MeetingsChat Twitter Chat discussion on Thursday moderated by Smart Meetings and Meetings Mean Business. Industry professionals showed the true definition of #HospitalityStrong in 280 characters or less to continue the #GMID20 conversation started on Tuesday. Here are the highlights.

#GivingBack

You’d be hard pressed to find a community within the hospitality industry that hasn’t been impacted by the virus in some form, but organizations are stepping up in creative ways to help. When asked if they are taking action to support communities impacted by COVID-19, the response was a resounding “yes.” Some are putting their diverse skills to use, such as those at Conference Care Package, who have been planting tomatoes to give to those in need.

Others donated unused supplies. “Early on, as events canceled last minute, we donated food and centerpieces to places that could use them. We also donated a ball pit to a local animal shelter to give the fun a second life to a completely new group! #meetingschat,” said Courtney Lohmann, CMP.

NYC & Company said all five of New York’s boroughs are benefiting from “donation of supplies, logistical talent & space by the meeting community.” And the city is giving back.

#KeepTheHopeAlive

A proper resource is vital in times like this, whether it’s being there for clients or looking for resources yourself. Lohmann said she’s been “flipping to virtual for clients’ needs. But then also the team internally and those externally to brainstorm on what we need to do next to help events come back to face-to-face and what it will look like when we do.”

Shannon Byck, CMP, regional director for Meeting Encore and managing partner for Intuitive CE, says her focus is two-fold. “[Our company is] staying educated on pivoting events to virtual for our clients that are shifting to on-line and staying connected with clients and industry partners, as we are all in this together!”

One word has been used repeatedly through this pandemic: unprecedented. The extent of this crisis is beyond what most could have imagined. But the response has been just as emphatic. “You’ve got this,” was echoed in a number of posts. “There is no event scenario or project plan to help anyone navigate through this so it is OK to not have all the answers or know what to do next.  It is important to stay connected and surround yourself with things that are positive,” Byck said.

Those at Chatham County CVB counseled: “try not to get bogged down.”

#AfterTheStorm

The light at the end of the tunnel will reveal a meetings industry that looks much different than before, with an emphasis on safety, food servicing and contract clauses. Byck remains optimistic. “I am hopeful that #recovery will mean that we are back to face-to-face this fall, but only if safe. I think how we meet will change—changes in food service/hybrid events/contract clauses/venues and cleaning parameters…” she tweeted.

Chatham County CVB believes there will be “more in-depth inquiries about behind-the-scenes before booking in regards to cleaning/sanitizing practices. More boxed instead of buffet meals. Closer to home, smaller mtgs. 2021: New and improved practices.”