The Role of Event Service Professional Evolves During Recovery
Recreating Guest Experience in Post-COVID Hotels
By Julie Brakenbury Director of Destination Services, Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau | April 11, 2021
Like most meeting planners, Diane Haggerty, CMP, has questions about her first event that will include in-person attendees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She is planning a hybrid event in June for the Metal Powder Industries Federation.
"Things look good on paper, but how do they look when they are implemented," said Haggerty, who is the director of events, exhibits and advertising at the trade group. "Meeting rooms, elevators, bars, restaurants…What are the cleaning protocols? How do you make attendees feel welcome and comfortable with all of these protocols in place?"
Jamie Huckleberry, who is past president of the Event Service Professionals Association, foresees more in-person attendees in the second half of 2021, along with a closer relationship between meeting planners and hotel CSMs.
"Just like after 9/11, security and safety for attendees have become a large component to the planning process," said Huckleberry, who is also the director of event services at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. "And following COVID, event service professionals now have to also work towards making sure those health-safety protocols are practiced, while helping to guide the meeting planner towards meeting those goals."
Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM, destination services manager at Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau in Arlington, Texas, was a driving force behind the groundbreaking ESPA Recovery Roadmap for Convention Services, which is a working document that helps service professionals navigate the evolving event space for hotels, convention centers and CVBs amid the pandemic.