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Planners Moving Forward Series- Mary Altemus, Travel Leader's Corporate

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June 24, 2022
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Reading time: 2 min

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 


 

Name: Mary Altemus

Company Name: Travel Leader's Corporate

Job Title: Project Manager, Corporate Meetings & Events Management

Years of Experience: 20

How do you think you are positioned, after months of persevering with the pandemic, to take advantage of our new and disrupted meetings/events landscape?
 
Travel Leaders, LLC is well-positioned for the new global events landscape because the most important thing we learned during the pandemic was how valuable it is to meet face-to-face. I am lucky to be on an incredibly supportive team of women and able to assist our clients with creating more meaningful human connections.
 
As our community moves forward with planning in-person meetings, what new technologies or processes are you implementing that you may have not looked at before?
 
The downtime forced event planners to review their processes and procedures to streamline, be more efficient, and be cost-effective. At the same time, clients were also focused more on reviewing their objectives and outcomes for meetings and events. A thorough understanding of the objectives and priorities are before getting too far into the planning process allows better communication between the client, venues, and vendors. I think we will start seeing mobile technology playing a pivotal role in smaller meetings. Before the pandemic, event apps were primarily used for larger events, conferences, or tradeshows. Now they are a critical piece for communicating with attendees for any size meeting or event.
 
As we see virtual meetings transition back to face to face, hybrid meetings are beginning to be the vehicle to return to normalcy. What are your thoughts on hybrid meetings versus traditional fully in-person meetings?
 
I don't see hybrid meetings going away, especially in the global environment. Companies can now include teams located internationally while allowing the in-person component to take place simultaneously. However, I strongly believe you have to plan the hybrid event as two completely separate events in order to fully engage both attendee types.
 
In your opinion, what do you think the biggest value for your attendees is in regards to returning to live events?
 
Face-to-face human interaction. Having the experience of being in an in-person setting and enjoying those experiences are invaluable. With the pandemic having a major effect on peoples mental health, the opportunity for in-person networking and building a support team is crucial to our own personal and professional growth now.
 
As the pandemic fades away and we return to face-to-face events what do you hope changes, either for planners or hoteliers, in the traditional RFP and proposal process as a result of all of the learnings from the last 20+ months?
 
Everyone will need more understanding and flexibility with the Force Majeure clause. Pre-Covid, Force Majeure clauses had a generic "Act of God" statement. Now it's specific language relating to a pandemic or a triggered pandemic event. It would be nice to see hotels, and event spaces, be more flexible if participants test positive last-minute and need re-book
 

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 

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