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Planners You Should Know - Petra Keller, Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association

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November 21, 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: Petra Keller

Company Name: Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association

Job Title: Executive Director

Years of Experience: 9

How did you get your start in the events industry? What made you pursue this role?
 
I started as an entry-level admin while assisting on events. The association duties started to grow as did the events where I was able to move into the event planning role full time. I love putting on an event and seeing the end product where people are pleased beyond belief. I'm a people pleaser!
 
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?

I feel as though I never skipped a beat! I was able to put on in-person events throughout the pandemic on a smaller scale, while following safety protocols of course. When coming back in full force though, it was amazing to see how grateful people were to be in human contact again.
 
What was your number one challenge in hosting your first in-person event(s) and how did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge was trying to bring people together safely while following protocols. Individuals who did not agree with government regulations wanted to protest the event, which made some attendees nervous. I had to assure them that all attendees would be safe and free of harm. Not knowing who would attend that day was stressful but it ended up being a sold out event! Chin up and be strong!
 
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?)
 
People are just happy to be together again. No tips or tricks just pure fact that people need human contact.
 
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?
 
Be patient and get more than one RFP as back up.
 
Are you approaching contracting with hotels differently, post-pandemic?
 
Not really. I find hotels are more flexible now then ever as they realize it will take awhile for everyone to get back on board.
 
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?
 
Providing extensions on cut-off dates and being flexible with attrition, especially if you are a repeat client.
 
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?
 
Nothing has really changed here except that if there is something to purchase at an event such as raffle tickets, not a lot of people carry cash anymore so it's necessary to have some sort of POS system in place.
 
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?
 
Keep up on the latest trends. Join forums for advice. Learn from other planners.
 
 

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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