• Laura Harris

PIVOT

COVID-19 hit and the Business Events Industry busted out webinars, resources, case studies...you name it! In the early months, I attended free virtual meetings to get a taste of what it would look like and feel like as an attendee. As a meeting planner, I went from baking banana bread and watching webinars on force majeure to making pumpkin bread and reading case studies on successful virtual meetings. I had only been versed in planning traditional in-person meetings and events before quickly moving into a future of virtual and hybrid everything. For months I was researching and learning how to pivot to virtual. As a result, my own personal experiences and resources have taught me new skills and ideas that will change the way I, and many others in the industry plan meetings moving forward.

Here are some of the resources I’ve been taking advantage of:

Meetings Today: This magazine is a monthly issue with updates on people, places, and events. The past two issues have covered the “best of” and “trending” in the Midwest, East, South, and West. Meetings Today covered the Savannah Convention Center expansion and a sustainability best practices check-list. I also have to give a shoutout to their podcast, “Dare to Interrupt” hosted by Courtney Stanley.

PCMA Convene: The magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association has always covered the biggest meeting industry trends. In their July/August/September 2020 Issue Convene covers what matters now. The articles I thought were most interesting for future planning were online marketing lessons and the 2021 playbook. I enjoyed reading about the successes of ACAMS24+ and the virtual Girls Inc. fundraiser. I loved how the CMP Series brought in different voices within the industry. It was great to end the magazine with the recovery efforts of some meeting locations.

The HIP Network: A B2B digital media company composed of hospitality industry professionals. I subscribe to their Market in a Minute Newsletter which I receive every MWF. This e-newsletter links the top stories related to group business travel, live events, and hospitality. I really appreciate their team finding the best articles from multiple publications such as Smart Meetings, BTN, HospitalityNet, EventMB, Travel Weekly, and more. Some of my favorite articles have been crazy updates surrounding the airline industry.

Other noteworthy resources: The Condé Nast Traveler’s October 2020 Issue that addresses the new standard for international locations. BizBash’s articles on production & strategy and style & decor.

Several different sides of the hospitality industry are sharing their downfalls, improvements, creative ideas, success stories, and more. It’s inspiring to see the abundance of communication and support we have for one another. I’m thrilled to see where my industry goes from here, let’s see what my next magazine brings!

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