The future of face-to-face Meetings and Events…according to One10

Jun 25, 2020 | Event Management

One10’s Take on What is Next

2020 is a year we will never forget. A year when face-to-face meetings and events went away. We have watched our suppliers and clients wrestle with tough business decisions. Yet, through these difficult times, we have continued to strengthen relationships and uncover what it means to be true partners. Like many, this hiatus in travel has given us a time to re-focus and re-align on what is most important to our business and how we can better serve you, our clients.

Since the start of this pandemic, One10 has been in on-going communication with our industry partners, including hotels, DMCs, DMOs, airlines, and cruise lines. In working with best-in-class partners, we can work together to stay current on protocols in this rapidly changing environment.

By its very nature, the Hospitality Industry is defined by the welcoming of guests warmly and genuinely. Our industry partners have a challenging responsibility to provide a safe and comforting environment when our guests return to travel. Protocols for cleaning and sanitation were already in place—yet, now they are enhanced and are shared publicly with customers. We are encouraged by the standards adopted by our partners and know they will do everything in their power to ensure the best customer experience.  

You might not know this about us, but we have been around the block. We often say we are an 80-year-old start-up. We have led our travel clients through the horrors of the 9/11 attack and terrorism, The Great Recession, natural disasters, and many other crises. Our experience indicates humans have a fundamental need to explore. We believe the travel Industry will once again rebound. Leisure travel is already beginning to show signs of recovery, with many partners reporting healthy future booking levels. Once there is a comfort level with leisure travel, we anticipate that companies will bring back individual business travel. Group Meetings and Events will follow.

We will encourage our clients to re-engage in travel but with full awareness and at the right time, place, and manner.

Hybrid (Face-to-face and Virtual) will become the new normal

Virtual meetings and events are evolving and becoming more effective. We are currently working with our clients to facilitate their meetings virtually – and will continue to do so. Virtual meetings can range from simple 1-2 hour TEAMS, ZOOM, or WebEx meetings – all the way to a fully immersive virtual meeting that takes place over a series of days. An immersive virtual conference can include both live and prerecorded content along with activations to promote interaction and engagement from the attendees. Once face-to-face meetings are back, we do not anticipate virtual experiences just to be replaced by the in-person option. We believe virtual components are going to be an expectation going forward. Many companies are seeing a rise in attendance for virtual conferences as these are experiences available to all – not just those who can travel (even after the pandemic). As you begin considering event budgets for 2021 and beyond, we will be helping you embrace this new “Phygital” approach to expanding the impact of your events and earning a higher level of engagement.  

Incentive Travel

Outside of incentive travel experiences, you have additional options for rewarding top performers. In lieu of incentive travel use a technology platform with a points-based system that allows participants to select from merchandise, individual travel experiences, events, charity donations, and gift cards. While this reward option has always been available, many companies have selected this as a replacement for a canceled incentive trip. Companies are providing enough points for winners that would be equivalent to the trip value while at times offsetting any cancellation fees they may have incurred. Another option is to offer specific Individual Incentive Travel Packages to your winners that are customized to that group’s demographics and interests. Once attendees are comfortable traveling, group incentives will be back.

Our Promise to Clients

We understand the pent-up desire to travel, as individuals are excited to get back to it – we get it – so are we! With the proper protocols, the need for social connectivity has not been lost. Humans always have and will always have the desire to connect face-to-face.

That said, face-to-face experiences will be highly controlled and smaller in size. Some considerations would include:

  • Attendee home base (domestic or international with border crossing) – Right now, depending on the state a person is traveling from, there may be guidelines or mandates in place attendees will need to follow when returning to their home.
  • State-specific mandates – Regulations will significantly affect how meetings are planned, components that can be included, and how we are allowed to work to deliver the need. Examples could consist of group size, movement control regarding the size that is moving, group food & beverage experience, etc.
  • Nature of the event and how social distancing will affect all elements – We are experiencing a constant change in our personal lives right now – how we live, work, and interact with others. Of course, all of these changes will have a direct effect on any meetings and events as well. We acknowledge standards will continue to evolve, and we will be ready to adjust our planning as things change on a daily, weekly, or monthly timeframe.  

We anticipate engaging with your Legal and/or Risk Management teams to determine your specific requirements. We have a moral responsibility to ensure your attendees’ safe travel. We will be working with our industry partners to guarantee terms and conditions are in your best interest while being fair to each supplier.  

Specific cleaning and safety protocols

We will ensure that we communicate necessary protocols to your attendees via website registration and/or mobile app. Some protocol and social distancing considerations would include:

  • Airport
  • Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Event Signage
  • Food and Beverage
  • Meeting Space – Room Sets
  • People Movement
  • Registration
  • Room Gifts
  • Transportation
  • Onsite Staffing

At One10, we are committed to giving you, our clients, the best experience paired with the best business results. We continue to believe in the power of face-to-face travel and cannot wait to be designing and delivering unforgettable events for some of the world’s leading brands.

To learn more about our travel and event solutions, visit our following pages:  

Barb Ward

Barb Ward

Barb is known in the events industry for her tenacity and passion to continually exceed client expectations by assembling and coaching teams that are the “best in the business”. Barb has over 24 years in the industry and has held leadership positions with One10 and our predecessors for more than a decade and brings previous sales and leadership expertise with a number of travel and event companies. Barb holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Sociology from the University of North Dakota.
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