Observations from the Road

Observations from the Road

How exciting, in-person meetings are happening all over the country, which is a very good thing!  With the proper precautions and protocols, the meetings industry is slowly making a comeback. Hooray!

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel to three different states to finally attend in-person meetings. Like some of you, I wasn’t sure what to expect after not traveling nearly 18 months. In a sea of communication confusion about COVID-19, Each meeting and region dealt with pandemic protocols differently.

First up on my tour, San Diego.  Although there were not strict protocols, generally everyone wore masks indoors, but one major plus, planners had going for them, weather! I mean, it was San Diego after all. Planners did a great job creating amazing outdoor experiences, leaving most people, including myself feeling safe, and protected. My second stop, Louisville. While conference organizers had protocols in place and the hotel staff did as well, in general, most places throughout the city did not enforce mask requirements, leaving some attendees with an increased sense of anxiety, including myself. My last stop was Huntsville. Again, planners and organizers did their best to ensure protocols were in place for the conference, but there was a broad mix of attendees, both in and out of masks. Surrounding restaurants and were not enforcing any mask mandates.

As many of you took and are beginning to take to the skies to reach your destination, traveling requires a little more patience than it used to. Airports are crowded, flights are full, ubers take a little longer, hotels are more shorthanded, requiring customers and guest to tap into their resilience more than pre-pandemic times. Airports strictly enforce mask mandates, as you know, so kind gestures and small talk is much more difficult, if at all. What I realized is that each state and city have different requirements, so not knowing what they were from place to place was challenging. I strongly encourage meeting attendees do their due diligence to see what protocols are in place for the meeting you’re attending. Being well prepared will make the difference between having a wonderful experience or being frustrated or overwhelmed.

I love to travel and love participating in industry events.  But, somehow, these all felt very different. Post-COVID traveling requires a lot more preparation than ever before, avoid that dark cloud feeling by understanding how each region of the country is managing the pandemic and prepare accordingly.

Overall, attendees were so happy to be back to face-to-face events and I see the industry turning a big corner and optimism on the horizon.

Diane Goodman, CMP, President of Goodman Speaker Management, brings 40 years of industry experience and deep knowledge. Since she founded Goodman Speakers 40 years ago, Diane has been a guiding force in the meeting industry.  She has built an impeccable reputation for trust and integrity by providing consultative service to clients across the United States and throughout the world.