Coronavirus and Meetings
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Updated May 13, 2020, 9:18 a.m. EDT
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt in every area of the meetings industry, many industry organizations have been working overtime to provide resources to meeting professionals. These offerings range from basic facts about COVID-19 and its impact on events, to virtual upskilling and networking opportunities, to expert insights about the legal and medical issues at play, as well as advice on laying the groundwork for recovery. Here, in one place, we are rounding up the latest insights and offerings from the wide range of organizations and associations serving the meeting professionals to help them respond to the current crisis and prepare for a successful recovery.
The latest: ASAE announces virtual event in place of live 2020 Annual Meeting & Exposition; IBTM Events launches IBTM Meets; U.S. Travel Association releases "Travel in the New Normal" guidelines. Full details below.
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American Hotel & Lodging Association
AHLA's Facts About Coronavirus page includes downloadable infographics and safety tips for members.
On April 27, AHLA launched the "Stay Safe" cleaning and safety standards for the hotel industry. Based on input from public health experts, medical professionals and leaders of the hotel industry, the standards cover points such as social distancing practices, enhanced cleaning standards for guest rooms and meeting spaces and improved cleaning products with greater concentration of bacteria-killing ingredients.
American Society of Association Executives
ASAE has cancelled its 2020 Annual Meeting & Exposition (which would have been the organization's 100th annual meeting), which was scheduled to take place Aug. 8-11, 2020, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The organizers announced that they would be holding a virtual event the week of Aug. 10, 2020; more details will be announced the first week of June.
On April 3, ASAE applauded Congress' $2.2 trillion emergency coronavirus relief package, while calling on policymakers to include more association-specific relief in a fourth relief package currently taking shape.“Many associations are already experiencing extreme financial losses directly tied to the coronavirus pandemic, and more difficult decisions for these groups are on the horizon,” said ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE. "ASAE calls on Congress to include association-specific relief in the next legislative relief package that is negotiated.”
The association also posted an Issue Roundup on coronavirus, including FAQs and link to webcast on "Coronavirus: Community Conversation on Association Impact."
Association of Destination Management Executives International
ADMEI is offering a series of free webcasts to its members to help its DMO members navigate the challenging landscape. These included "Navigating Through the Uncertainty from Contracts to Conversations" with 360 Destination Group General Counsel Paul Cataudella on April 2 and "Build Meaningful (and Profitable) Relationships in an On-Screen World" with innovation expert Julie Holmes on April 7.
On April 10, ADMEI released a video connected to Global Meetings Industry Day, featuring its president, Alaina Tobar, DMCP, urging members to “not lose that passion that makes this industry so special” and describing how the crisis has “highlighted now, more than ever that you cannot replace face-to-face interactions to connect with those around us.”
The association for the Chicagoland association industry is hosting a series of webcasts and events for how associations can respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including a town hall discussion with Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi on April 28 to discuss COVID-19 relief.
Cruise Lines International Association
On April 10, in response to the CDC's extension of its No Sail Order for another 100 days, CLIA released the statement that, "we very much value our relationship with the U.S. authorities, and will continue to work with these important agencies in our shared commitment for the health and safety of passengers and crew, which is the industry’s number one priority. We are, however, concerned about the unintended consequences the No Sail Order issued on April 9 has in singling out the cruise industry, which has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols and was one of the first industries to announce a voluntary suspension of operations."
Previously, the organization announced a set of enhanced screening measures for all member cruise operators.
The organization of CVBs and DMOs has launched a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Travel Industry Resource Page, with information and resources, as well as known cancellations and a form where members can submit cancelled meetings. It also hosted a coronavirus update webcast, now available on demand. DI's CEO Summit, scheduled to take place April 6-8 in Palm Springs, Calif., has been moved to December 14-16 and its CMO Summit, scheduled to take place in Seattle on April 26-28, has been postponed to Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
Events Industry Council
EIC created a fact sheet of key messages and FAQs for members and has posted a number of COVID-relevant webinars, available on demand. These include topics such as "Moving online: How to transition your live event to an engaging virtual experience" and "Discussion of Critical Insurance and Legal Considerations for Event Professionals."
On March 24, EIC CEO Amy Calvert sent a letter to members asking they contact elected officials and key decision makers about providing relief to the industry.
Event Service Professionals Association
ESPA is hosting a two-part webinar series on what convention services will look like after COVID-19. Part 1 features a dedicated venue panel as well as a CVB panel, while part 2 features meeting planners discussing their challenges moving forward with face-to-face meetings post-COVID19.
Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals
In a statement released Feb. 29, FICP Chair Michael Burke, CMP, wrote, "As the rapid spread of misinformation and panic grows, uncertainty and fear trickles into our daily decision-making. Always focused on strengthening our members and amplifying your positive impact on your organizations as well as the meetings and events industry, the FICP Board of Directors, in partnership with industry leaders, is focused on arming you with valuable resources and the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis to help you navigate the effects on your business."
Burke urged that members access the Meetings Mean Business Coronavirus resource page for professional communications about the impact of the crisis.
Global DMC Partners
Global DMC Partners has launched a "Together at Home" weekly webcast series. It includes topics such as “5 Ways to Increase your Physical and Mental Immunity During a Crisis” and "Happy at Home: Shelter In a Place You Love." As part of this initiative, the organization also rolled out a Destination Download series, focused on connecting meeting and event professionals with DMC experts from around the globe. Each hour-long event covers several destinations and their culture, "secrets" and steps they've taken to manage the current crisis. The first session covers India, Nashville and Norway and is available here.
The DMC organization launched a #MeetWithConfidence initiative, including a talk series taking place May 28–June 25, covering topics such as the future of event design and how to reinvent the F&B experience. Each event will include planning checklists and other resources for attendees. The effort also includes revised protocols and service standards for each destination, understanding that "not all groups will require the same level of security measures, but we’re establishing a vetted baseline to help guide our clients on vendor stability, pre-event communications, attendee health safety, design, entertainment, tours, data privacy and hybrid meetings (virtual and in-person experiences)."
The organization launched a Global Coronavirus Resources page featuring deep dives such as "What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on the Hospitality Industry?" and "A Revenue Leader's Response & Best Practice in a Crisis."
IBTM Events launched IBTM Connect, an online resource hub for business events professionals to help navigate the current crisis. It includes an "Inspire Blog" of the latest news and insights from industry thought leaders, an on-demand library of industry speakers and more. "The launch is part of a three-step plan to keep exhibitors, hosted buyers and the wider industry connected as collectively we navigate the impact of COVID-19," the organization wrote in a statement. "Content will be refreshed regularly, including with weekly webinars from industry experts covering topics, including motivational keynote speaker Gary Bradt delivering a session on ‘how to cope during times of unprecedented change’ and Helen Moon, Founder and MD of Eventwell, talking about ‘mental health and wellbeing’."
On May 12, the organization unveiled IBTM Meets, a series of interviews with industry thought leaders, covering a wide range of topics. The events will be hosted on IBTM Connect; release dates for the sessions will be announced there soon. Announced speakers include Panos Tzivanidis, director of corporate events and services for the International Olympic Committee; Neil Brownlee, head of business events for VisitScotland; Oscar Cerezales, executive vice president of MCI Asia Pacific; and Christoph Tessmar, CEO of the Barcelona Convention Bureau.
Though the organizers of the IMEX Frankfurt meetings industry trade show had to cancel this year's gathering, on April 20, the organization announced the launch of PlanetIMEX, a new virtual learning and networking experience, that will take place on May 6. Online visitors will be granted unlimited free access to a variety of content and activities on the beach-themed Community Island; the forest-inspired Education Island, and the Networking Island, which is outfitted with canyons, mountains and valleys.
IACC Americas Connect, originally planned to be held in Texas, has been postponed to 2021. The organization has announced the launch of IACC Americas Virtual Connect, which will take place online May 18-21, 2020, "featuring 4 days of 15+ hours of learning, idea exchange and collaboration with experts in their field and the global IACC member community." Register here.
International Association of Exhibitions and Events
IAEE President and CEO David DuBois and Chairperson Robert McLean shared the statement that "IAEE continues to monitor the developments of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on exhibitions and events. We are gathering information as this crisis evolves in order to understand the extent of its impact and how we may be of service. We are also gathering resources as quickly as they become available to us, in an effort to help navigate the difficulties presented by these circumstances."
The organization has created a Coronavirus Resources page where it is posting regular updates and developments. IAEE also hosted a webcast with experts who addressed legal considerations when considering canceling an event, which can be viewed on demand here.
International Association of Venue Managers
IAVM offers an on-demand webcast on "Venue Industry Update on the Coronavirus" as well as a roundup of the latest updates and blog posts on the topic.
ICCA's research division, drawing on its Association Database, released findings on meetings affected in Asia-Pacific (7.8 percent of tracked events were affected) and Europe (0.9 percent of tracked events were affected), as well as which months were seeing the greatest proportion of meetings affected by COVID-19.
The organization previously posted a detailed COVID-19 resource guide with the latest statements as well as those from individual association members.
"We encourage our member-suppliers and associations to be pragmatic in these challenging times but to also share positive messages where possible," ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath said in a statement. "Big events are continuing to take place in their destinations, despite worries and complications brought from the COVID-19 outbreak. To boost the meetings industry during this difficult period, we should send out encouraging messages to show we are united, resilient and confident as an industry."
International Exhibition Logistics Association
On March 5, IELA launched the "Together Strong" campaign in an effort to support every exhibition and event industry in this time of uncertainty, urging industry members to share on social media images of themselves being "strong" along with the hashtags #GED2020 #togetherstrong. It offers a resource page with campaign images, logos and promotions for the upcoming Global Exhibitions Day on June 5, 2020.
The organization also posted a resource page about COVID-19, including infographics and FAQs
International Live Events Association
ILEA President Jennifer Trethewey, CSEP released a statement on March 2 that, "In Australia, live events have been rescheduled and cancelled — delegates understandably are anxious about traveling to other countries. In talking with many of my ILEA friends and business owners, I am learning that events are also being cancelled within USA, Canada and UK. So, it’s important we provide you with some guidelines to be able to monitor the current status in your areas." To that end, the organization has created a resource page that includes a live tracker of the spread of the disease, and links to organizations including the EIC, CDC and WHO.
Meetings Mean Business Coalition
MMBC is running a "commit2community" initiative, asking industry members to share what they are doing for their communities.
The organization is offering a Coronavirus Resources toolkit that includes downloadable industry talking points, a holding statement template, template for sending letters to the editor and infographics for social posts. It also launched a poll asking planners about their opinions and concerns.
Meeting Professionals International
MPI has rescheduled its World Education Congress to Nov. 3-6, 2020 in Grapevine, Texas. The four-day event had originally been scheduled for June 6-9, 2020, but MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer emphasized that with the new dates, "The desire to meet, reconcile business opportunities, assist in the economic rebound and learn from peers and experts on COVID-19 response, among dozens of other topics, has been building. Historically, our industry has been the platform to accelerate economic recovery and our focus is to aid in pushing our global community and society forward."
MPI Academy has launched a series of webinars and educational offerings to help planners ensure business continuity and make business decisions at the right time.
MPI hosted Global Meetings Industry Day: Virtual on April 14. Taking place over 12 hours, it included sessions on stress management, leading in a crisis, safeguarding your small business and staying agile. More information here.
National Association for Catering & Events
The NACE has launched a COVID-19 resources page complete with the latest news, resources for members and upcoming educational events. The organization also launched a member survey, currently open through March 25, to help identify and quantify the financial and employment impacts of the coronavirus on the catering and events business.
Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA's resource page offers a link to its comprehensive Crisis Management and Recovery Plan, as well as regular news updates and FAQs. On April 14, it hosted as webcast on "China: From Crisis to Recovery," currently available on demand.
Society of Government Meeting Professionals
SGMP is posting the latest COVID-19 updates and statements on its blog here. It is offering an extensive library of on-demand webinars and on April 28 will be holding a webinar on "Conversations that Convert: Strategies to Influence and Persuade." The organization had to cancel its annual National Education Conference this year, but will be rolling over the registration fee to next year's NEC, May 18-20, 2021.
Society of Independent Show Organizers and UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
The organizations launched "This Show Will Open For Business," a campaign aimed at helping their members make the case to follow through with event plans, while following the guidance of health authorities and the interests of their customers. As part of the initiative, UFI and SISO will provide materials, downloadable at www.supportingevents.org, that highlight the value of trade shows and reinforce the fact that many shows are taking place successfully around the world — despite the negative headlines to the contrary. Visuals available for download include web and email banners, posters and flyers featuring the slogan "This Show Will Open for Business." More info and updates can be found at SISO"s dedicated resource page.
Society of Incentive Travel Executives
Posted a Flipboard with updated information and articles on COVID-19. It also posted a Coronavirus Update.
Sports Events & Tourism Association
Sports ETA announced that it will postpone its Women’s Summit, scheduled for April 1-3 in New Orleans, to later this year.
U.S. Travel Association
On May 4, the USTA released a series of guidelines aimed at helping travel-related businesses return to operating while keeping employees and customers safe. Titled "Travel in the New Normal," the guidelines were developed in consultation with public health experts and cover areas including enhanced sanitation procedures, health-screening measures and more.
On April 10, U.S. Travel Association submitted a fresh list of urgent policy requests to Congress to protect the Americans working in the hospitality industry. This included a request for $600 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program and expanding eligibility to small businesses that were previously left out; and ensuring loan forgiveness can cover both payroll and other operating expenses during the shutdown.
The industry group has also launched a Coronavirus Emergency Preparedness and Response page, with the latest news updates and specific guidance for travelers, as well as a page dedicated to the latest research on COVID-19's impact on the travel industry.
The organization cancelled IPW 2020. The international inbound travel trade show, expected to connect travel exhibitors with travel buyers and media from more than 70 countries, was halted, "Following a thorough decision-making process whereby we explored every viable option to proceed this year, IPW 2020 is cancelled," according to an April 15 statement.
World Travel & Tourism Council
The WTTC launched a new marketing campaign, #TogetherinTravel, aimed at "keeping wanderlust alive" and reminding them how vital travel is to their lives. The campaign includes an emotional video (downloadable here), the #TogetherinTravel hashtag and a TogetherInTravel.com microsite, hosting the video and user-generated testimonials about their travel.