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Planners You Should Know In 2022 Series- Ali Miller, Precision Metalforming Association

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November 2, 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: Ali Miller

Company Name: Precision Metalforming Association

Job Title: Meetings and Events Manager

Years of Experience: 7

How did you get your start in the events industry? What made you pursue this role?
 
An internship I had in college led me to the events world.
 
How do you compare planning your first in-person event post-pandemic, to planning meetings/events pre- Covid? What was different and unique? What was similar?

Our events have always brought people together and fostered networking. The main differences were spacing people out the best we could, providing a way for people to attend virtually and providing plenty of hand sanitizer! We also noted in our beginning announcements to please fist bump instead of handshake.
 
What was your number one challenge in hosting your first in-person event(s) and how did you overcome it?

I had never managed a hybrid event before. That was a sizeable obstacle to overcome with trying to determine how much to charge virtually attendees and the logistics behind it. With the help of our AV team and the hotel, we were able to come up with an affordable solution that worked flawlessly.
 
 
What is the top learning that you uncovered from the last two years that you’re implementing in your planning process today? (any other tips or tricks you want to share?)
 
We now include a pandemic protection clause in all of our hotel contracts.
 
 
With hotels short-staffed, and RFP lead time shortening, what is your advice to other planners to overcome these obstacles when requesting hotels for proposals?
 
Don't be afraid to follow up, ask for other team members or even pick up the phone.
 
Are you approaching contracting with hotels differently, post-pandemic?
 
Yes, we always try to get the pandemic protection clause added in.
 
What is the biggest area of improvement that you think hotels can make when either responding to your RFPs or during the contract phase of your event?
 
Be as detailed as possible. Always include F&B menus, diagrams of proposed meeting space and full meeting space layouts/maps.
 
Due to the pandemic, our events community had to evolve, adapt, and grow. Many planners started to embrace new technologies as a result of the pandemic. What new tech are you using today in your planning process as a result?
 
We host most of our events as hybrid events, meaning people can attend either in person or virtually. I have learned a lot about Zoom, GoTo and Microsoft Teams.
 
Since education and relationships are two major pillars in the meetings and events industry, any suggestions on how other planners can learn and network with their peers across the industry?
 
I do not have any suggestions, but I would love to learn and network with others who do the same job as me.
 
 

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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