The global pandemic is a topic that persists and is consistent only in its inconsistency. The obstacles and opportunities have continued to evolve as have the roles of everyone in the business events industry.

This evolution has been arguably more intense in the past two years than in the collective past. As we come out on the other side, one thing is clear: business event strategists and destination organization partners really aren’t that different.

We Serve as Strategic Advisors

Business event professionals, much like the destination professionals they work with, are strategic advisors. With the ever-changing workforce, health and safety concerns, supply chain issues and a myriad of other challenges being thrown at the industry, partnership is important, and the power of information sharing is strong.

Working together to understand the complete business events strategy and each isolated event within that portfolio, will produce not only the opportunity to engage the community capital in that destination, but also uncover deeper partnership opportunities.

Value Extends Far Beyond an Event

A business event strategist is not merely hosting an event; they are an important revenue generator, and that value extends well beyond their own department. With a deeper desire to understand the economic impact of the travel and tourism industry comes more of an appetite for partnership. Working closely with a destination to leverage their tools to understand and report that impact, creates a cohesive message of value to stakeholders.

In addition to magnifying the message of value, leveraging the existing tools can often provide both the destination and the meeting professional with an opportunity to build the attendee profile by understanding their footprint in the city and, ultimately, maximize future visitor experience for both the host organization and the host destination.

We Are Brokers of Capital and Change Makers

Much like the destinations they are working with, business event strategists are community connectors, designing an experience for a wide range of audiences and brokering intellectual capital that will result in real world change.

They are not booking speakers; they are disseminating that capital and when they are working with their destination partners to leverage the existing relationships, they can produce growth not only for their own organization, but also for the destination in which they are meeting.

A shared understanding of the industry nuances in both the organization and the destination, creates a unique opportunity to leverage capital that both uplifts the mission of each and creates an intellectual experience that can only be experienced in that specific destination and at that specific event.

We Have a Desire for Partnership

Awareness of our industry’s value is higher than it’s ever been and the opportunities for collaboration are deep. With the tools and the desire for partnership in place, the industry has exited the pandemic with a new outlook and the relationship between the business events professional and the destination is no longer a transactional one, but rather one of high reciprocal value.

The days of the “copy and paste” RFP have passed, and the “RFP of the Future” is upon us. The concept of using a CVB for city-wide or convention center events has been exchanged for a partnership that shares thought leadership at all levels and meeting sizes and creates synergy between the assets of the destination and needs of the attendee.

With a focus on balancing sustainability with health and safety regulations; leaving a destination better than you found it by deeply incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion principles into legacy initiative actions; and exchanging intellectual capital for tangible ROI, one thing is clear: we are not “meeting planners,” “CVB salespeople” or “back/front of house staff.” We are strategic partners, and we are stronger together.

Emily Scheiderer is director of education, sales and services with Destinations International.