Dennis Edwards Honored by ESPA

The Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) announced that an executive at the Greater Raleigh CVB was recognized with a prestigious national award along with other industry professionals at its annual conference.

Dennis Edwards, who is president and CEO at Greater Raleigh CVB/Visit Raleigh, was honored with the Executive Excellence Award at ESPA’s annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri, which was held January 21-23. The event incorporated carefully planned safety measures, including a mask mandate and an attendee requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Read More at Exhibit City News.

Event Service Professionals Association Takes “Big Step” with Annual Conference

Taking what organizational officials called “a big step forward,” the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) held its annual conference January 21-23 at Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.

The 162 in attendance represented roughly half of what event typically attracts, with ESPA getting back to business by electing Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM, Destination Services Manager, Arlington (Texas) CVB as President. Dennis Edwards, President & CEO, Greater Raleigh CVB was bestowed the Executive Excellence Award.

Read More at USAe.

What Keeps Attendees Safe in a Pandemic and What Doesn’t

There is no magic elixir to absolutely protect attendees from fast-spreading novel coronaviruses. But strategic measures executed professionally are a lot more effective than some of the most common solutions being promoted right now. That is the real talk delivered by Robert Bronstein and John Harris, partners behind Prevent, a Lynchburg, Virginia, risk mitigation company created to help meeting professionals cross the unknown to return to meeting responsibly. What does work, they say, is layering safety measures based on the time, place and type of group. What doesn’t work might surprise you.=

Read More at Smart Meetings.

Learn COVID-19 Protocol Best Practices Gleaned from ESPA’s Annual Conference

When it comes to executing a robust COVID-19 health and safety protocol regimen for an in-person meeting, what better group model than the annual meeting for the association that represents convention and event service professionals?

ESPA, the Event Service Professionals Association, held its 2022 Annual Conference January 21-23 in Kansas City, Missouri, after a two-year pandemic hiatus, and organizers knew that even though the gathering was relatively small, the fact that its members were on the front lines of communication and facilitation between meeting and event planners and facilities meant that the conference would be a protocol laboratory of sorts as the industry awakens.

Read More at Meetings Today.

Need a Meeting Planning Stress-Buster? Tap Into an Event Service Prof

Tina Lynn Mercardo knows how to reduce stress on the job.

As a meeting planner for NAFA Fleet Management Association, she makes sure to leverage the expertise of an event service professional, or CSM (convention service manager), from the planning stages all the way to the event.

“I was less stressed every step of the way,” said Mercardo, about teaming up with a few event service professionals for a recent national conference in late August.

Event service professionals, who work at a hotel venue, convention center or CVB/DMO, may work quietly behind the scenes, but they can dramatically impact the outcome of an event. This has created a symbiotic relationship between meeting planners and service professionals.

Read More at Meetings Today.

You Need Event Service Profs More Than Ever. Here’s Why

We put out fires, adjust on the fly and juggle multiple items at a time. We are trusted partners with meeting planners, who rely on us from event conception to site selection visits to “game day.”

But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed things. It has reinforced and underscored our mission to elevate the event experience from CVBs and conference centers to hotels and resorts. It has also driven up the value that we bring to the table.

Here is the updated value proposition we deliver to meeting planners, with an emphasis on how event service professionals will play a key role in the return to in-person meetings

Read more at Meetings Today.

7 Ways CSMs Can Help Planners as the Meetings Industry Reboots

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that change is the only constant.

Ask a meeting planner.

In a little more than a year, events and conferences have gone from in-person affairs to “You’re on mute!” virtual attempts. As the industry transitions back, things will look different—some temporary, some forever.

Hybrid events will take center stage to align with safety precautions and a desire for something that rhymes with normal. From a meeting planner’s perspective, the new-norm hybrids mean two events that happen at the same time but appear to be one integrated event, without extra support staff.

Read more

ESPA Leader Julie Brakenbury Details the Role of Event Service Profs in the Recovery

Event service professionals, who facilitate meetings and conventions as a liaison between facilities, destinations and meeting planners, have taken it on the chin during the pandemic as in-person meetings came to a halt.

Meetings Today’s Tyler Davidson talked with Julie Brakenbury, president of Event Service Professionals Association and director of destination services for Visit Raleigh, about what role those in this critical position will play as we reboot the meetings industry.

Click here to listen to the interview.

The Role of Event Service Professional Evolves During Recovery

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.

Read more at Hotel Executive.

ESPA Welcomes New President and Board Members, Honors Leaders

Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) has welcomed Julie Brakenbury, CGSP, as its new president.

Brakenbury is director of destination services for Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau in North Carolina. she has been with the organization since 2007. Before this, Brakenbury worked in hotel and group sales for the likes of Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, both in Durham, North Carolina.

“Becoming president of ESPA is an exciting honor. ESPA members are incredibly hardworking and professional, always impressing me with their creativity and dedication,” Brakenbury said. “They’re the lifeblood of successful events. Because of Covid, challenges await us in 2021. However, our members are ready and up to the task. Together, we’ll lead the world of events through this economic recovery and build a stronger ESPA for the future.”

Read more at Smart Meetings