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.

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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

4 Steal-Worthy Strategies from One Association’s Virtual Conference

The pressure is on when you’re planning a conference for event professionals. So when the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA)—a 33-year-old association representing CVB, hotel and convention center leaders across North America—started planning its 2021 conference, the team knew they had to think carefully about the best way to approach it.

“One of the things that made this really challenging is that we all service historically live events—so we’re all about live events,” says newly elected ESPA President Julie Brakenbury, who is also the director of destination services at Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (North Carolina). But ultimately, the board of directors sat down and defined the conference’s No. 1 goal—and that was to enable as many ESPA members as possible to have access to education and learning, especially during such a difficult time. “So at the end of the day, we made that decision that a virtual event would best serve our members.”

Read more at Connect

A COVID-19 Convention Services Roadmap to Recovery

ESPA’s Paola Bowman, destination services manager for the Arlington CVB, and Jamie Huckleberry, director, event services for Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center, talk with Meetings Today’s Tyler Davidson.

They discuss how the convention services manager association’s COVID-19 Services Recovery Roadmap can apply to meeting planners, and of the impact the pandemic has had on event and convention services professionals.

Listen to this Meetings Today Podcast fo find out more.

ESPA Releases Recovery Roadmap

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, event planners and convention service managers (CSMs) have had to adapt quickly, and the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) has stood ready to help. As face-to-face meetings return, collaboration between planners and CSMs will be critical as in-person meetings resume.

In light of this, ESPA has designed the COVID-19 Services Recovery Roadmap: A Guide for Event Service Professionals to help CSMs navigate the new landscape with their meeting planner clients. The guide identifies new and changing services that CSMs from hotels, convention and conference centers, as well as convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), will need to consider.

Read more at Prevue Meetings

4 Pre-Event Communication Strategies for Meeting Planners in the Pandemic Era

Communication with attendees has always been key. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, clear communication prior to an event is critical to the success of live meetings both financially and for attendee safety.

During the pandemic, pre-con communication is critical to whether attendees even consider following through with attending the meeting if they are leery of traveling and congregating with others.

Read more at Meetings Today.