Meeting Mentor Magazine

February 2023

Planning for Disaster

Mass Shooting in Orlando Points
To Importance of Crisis Management

Consider this a wake-up call to refresh your crisis management plan or finally put one in writing.

Coming off a banner year in 2015, when 66.1 million people visited for a record 33 million room nights, Orlando just endured the worst mass shooting in the United States early Sunday morning. (It far eclipsed the city’s Friday night news about a fatal shooting of a singer from “The Voice.”)

What should you do when your meeting destination experiences a major disruption — like a mass shooting — before or during your event? Some immediate advice comes from ConferenceDirect senior vice presidents/team directors Lynn Golabowski, CDS, and Peter Green, CDS, CMP:
• A lone wolf and soft targets can be everywhere, so everyone needs to be vigilant.
• Every meeting should have a plan in place for a disaster, with specific details on how to proceed. “While there is a lot of talk in the meetings industry about this, many meetings do not have a crisis management plan in place,” said Golabowski. “Having a plan to do anything is half the battle towards achieving results.”
• It’s critical to be aware of security and know the security plans for the meeting venues you work with.
• The director of security at the venue needs to be part of every pre-con meeting. “If no pre-con is taking place, planners should mandate an overview of security details prior to the meeting, along with key security contacts at the hotel,” said Green.
• Every organization should require an emergency contact and phone number as part of an attendee’s registration in case the organization needs to reach out.

“All the things we are facing we cannot stop or control. Being rational and calm about all of this is important. We cannot all stop living, traveling or meeting,” said Golabowski.

That’s why every individual, when traveling, should have a plan for personal protection, she advised. Keep your family updated on where you are. Be observant of your surroundings — even when you’re rushing. Understand every building you are in and where the exits are. Watch people and what is going on. Trust your gut instinct. If something seems wrong, it probably is. — Maxine Golding

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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