How the pandemic has changed corporate meetings

Part of delivering the right solutions for our clients is curating expertise across a variety of professions, functions, and specialties. MCI USA took the same approach with a panel discussion we recently hosted to discuss “How the Pandemic Has Changed the Corporate Meetings Landscape.”

Moderated by Agnès Canonica, CMP, CMM, vice president of corporate meetings and events for MCI USA, the panel featured expert speakers from across hospitality and events: Meghan Braswell, national account sales manager for MUY; Jason Cohen, director of global accounts for Accor; Hans Kung, manager of pharma for MCI Canada; and Jason Miller, managing partner of Tallen Technology Rentals.

The wide-ranging conversation — the latest in MCI USA’s ongoing series of programs addressing how COVID is continuing to alter live meetings and events — covered everything from increasingly stringent health and safety protocols, digital and virtual options, and broader planning windows, to limits on international attendees, serving as a trusted resource for clients, and being forced to adapt, improvise, and innovate.

The entire session is worth a watch, but here are four key takeaways for meeting and event professionals working with third parties:

  1. Be upfront:“Let us know what your expectations are,” Braswell said, “so we can let you know if we’re a good fit and help you come up with a solution.”
  2. Be patient:“ You’re not going to get an answer within 24 hours sometimes, and it’s not because people are ignoring you,it’s because we have one salesperson now where we used to have four,” Kung said. “It’s really trying to promote an understanding between all of us that we just want our clients to be able to meet in person again, and we need to work together to make that possible.”

3.Be flexible:“ Especially for 2022 and even 2023, there’s been so much shift in programs that availability in key markets or key hotels or for very large groups is going to be tough, ”Cohen said. “High seasons in most places are already full, so having that flexibility and explaining to your internal stakeholders that we can’t just work with one set of dates.”

  1. Be adaptive:“We’ve found multiple different ways to have events, and it’s really important that we continue to do that,” Miller said. “The clients we have that are doing that—that are finding ways to meet, regardlessif it’s live, hybrid, or virtual — are the ones that are accelerating through this.”