On My Agenda: Let's Get Back to the Future

State guidelines are loosening as vaccination rates rise, but we as an industry still need to make our point.

Let's Get Back to the Future

Life is starting to feel "normal" again. For thousands of event professionals, IMEX America was a giant reunion in Las Vegas, just like old times. Many of us might like to push a cosmic reset button and pick up where we left off in 2019.

That would be a big mistake. What did we learn while grounded? How should our collective experience inform our behavior going forward? The imperative to reinvent meetings and events has been a common thread in my recent conversations with industry leaders.

Instead of resuming the patterns of the past, let's think about what meetings would look like if we could fast-forward to 2024. Here's what I'd like to see:

  • Digital learning options where appropriate, and smoother integration of online audiences;
  • Carbon-neutral practices, with a goal toward net-zero operations;
  • More diverse, inclusive and welcoming experiences for all participants;
  • Agenda items that serve the local communities in which we meet; and
  • Irrefutable evidence of the value of in-person meetings to individuals, businesses and economies. 

Returning to old form shouldn't be an option. The pandemic was (and is) a critical global concern that has necessitated rapid change. We're late in addressing the climate crisis. How can we reinvent meetings and events to withstand the next major blow and grow toward a sustainable future?

We're entering a necessary time of transition, and it won't be easy for anybody. The challenges and opportunities ahead require creative thinking, risk-taking and hard work. For our part, Northstar's content team will be closely covering the evolution of our industry — and bringing you the insight and resources you need to succeed.

A Stellar Celebration

It's officially awards season in film and a number of other industries — including ours. Northstar's Stella Awards, established in 2017, recognize hotels, venues, airlines, cruise lines, CVBs and DMCs that meeting and event planners consider the best in the business.

We don't choose the winners in this contest — you do. Finalists are determined by buyers during an open voting period, and decisions are made by a panel of judges. For this year's big reveal, I had the pleasure of cohosting the virtual Stella Awards Showcase with Shalise DeMott, Northstar's vice president of sales, and veteran planner Brett Sterenson, president of Hotel Lobbyists, who served on the judging panel. Watch this feel-good video on demand and read more about the winners.

Are we missing your favorite suppliers? Nominate them now for the 2022 Stella Awards. There's no better way to salute the stars who help your meetings and events shine.