The name is, in fact, in the title: Meeting PLANNER; an expert professional who is relied upon by their meeting stakeholders to “plan” at every level of the event, including the unforeseen and unimaginable. Meeting and event professionals scrutinize the routine and expected problems and issues that will inevitably occur during the course of their event, and then they must look to what could happen only in the worst of circumstances.
Many meeting planners are accustom to looking to their CVB destination experts for advice on the how to’s and what to do’s when planning a meeting. You should also look to the same source for your contingency planning and crisis planning, as well. What occurs outside the norm requires a backup plan and team of experts who represent government and city officials, law enforcement, first responders, and management and security officials of the destination’s hotels and venues. You can feel confident no entity has stronger contacts within the community than the CVB, pulling everyone to work together to protect and inform your attendees during an emergency.
Dealing with the Unimaginable – Coping with a Real Crisis
This is when the CVB shines, using all its resources, connections and expertise to relay up-to-the-minute information, roll out on-the-ground support, and find solutions to the ways your group is impacted by the crisis.
When a crisis actually occurs during a meeting, the CVB is a conduit to both the group and the facilities, dispensing accurate information and status reports to each, and pitching in with an on-site response team.
Communication from the Trusted Source
Since times of crisis often fuel media frenzies, precise, accurate information can get lost in translation; all events are subject to interpretation and interpretation leads to confusion, even before spin and political objectives get layered on top of reporting. You need to be able to separate fact from fiction. The most accurate, firsthand information – information that you can feel confident passing on to your attendees — comes from the CVB, not the media.
What do you do when a disaster, either natural or manmade, hits a destination which your group is scheduled to visit in the near future? That’s when the CVB kicks into high communication mode to keep the public and its meeting planner customers informed of the destination’s status on a minute-by-minute basis.
An Ounce of Prevention
As a planner responsible for the safety of the attendees and staff, you probably routinely ask your hotels for a copy of their emergency plan. The convention and visitors bureau also has an emergency plan with a clear delineation of the actions and communications to be instituted in the case of a crisis situation, so ask to see that plan as well.
Whether you’re developing a contingency Plan B or dealing with the effects of an emergency situation, look to the expertise of the CVB. Remember, no entity has stronger contacts within the local government, education, business, and hospitality communities than the CVB. Whatever the roadblock, the CVB can be called upon to assist in finding real solutions and organizing the many different sources you may need to call upon in the destination in times of crisis or concern.