Although no one has a crystal ball, it's safe to say: If you're going to be planning meetings and events in 2018, security will be a major concern for you and your stakeholders.
"This was a particularly disruptive year, from mass shootings and terrorist attacks putting every major city on alert to the damage wrought by hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and more. With this in mind, safety and security looks likely to only grow as an issue with which planners must contend," says Successful Meetings Managing Editor Alex Palmer.
To protect your attendees from security risks next year -- including not only terrorism and shootings, but also extreme weather and other threatening events -- start with your destination.
"Choosing locations that have a strong economic climate, and a stable infrastructure and government are more important than ever before," Jennifer Patino, CEO of Hosts Global, tells Palmer. "Travel bans, safety concerns, or instability in destinations is a very strong consideration for planners, so working with CVBs, hotels, and DMCs that are prepared and have plans in place to limit this risk will be crucial to planners."
CVBs and DMCs are important partners, echoes Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. "Convention bureaus are having to be much more involved on contingency and crisis planning the last couple years than they've ever had to be," he says. "When a planner is planning a meeting, they now have to sit down with the destination and say, 'If this happens, what takes place with my meeting? How do we evacuate? How do we make sure my people are safe?' We used to talk about all those communications on the surface years ago, but now it's got to be of paramount concern."