How To Choose The Right Event Partner During Risky Times
How To Choose The Right Event Partners During Risky Times
It carries an element of risk, but, with some strategic planning, choosing the right event partners to ensure you have flexibility around contingency should not be difficult, despite all the challenges of COVID-19.
FCM General Manager Meetings & Events Simone Seiler says there is a lot to consider around choosing the best partner for your event when it comes to issues such as postponement or cancellation during COVID-19.
"The first step for us is we secure preferred partnership with those suppliers we feel are the best fit for our business and customer requirements in general," she says.
"We are steering towards those suppliers who not only provide best-practice on health, hygiene and COVID-safe events, but those partners we can trust when something goes wrong."
"There's a due diligence we go through and when it comes to the reality of the past 18 months, we absolutely take these things into consideration."
5 things FCM Meetings & Events looks for in an event partner
Proven industry experience
Flexibility, collaboration and partnership opportunities
Customer v Events Partners
"We operate on behalf of our customers, but we also know we have an obligation to our suppliers in terms of respecting their contract terms and conditions," Simone says.
"The best outcome is to minimise financial risk wherever possible."
"We're not the greatest fans of non-refundable contracts, we prefer transferring credit and deposits and in an ideal world we love people who say 'we understand, the customer can have a full refund on this occasion'."
A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Simone says event partners should consider that relationships are a long game and the meetings and events industry will not always be in such a precarious position.
FCM Meetings & Events works closely with a wide range of partners including hotels, tech providers, food and beverage, caterers, stylists and merchandise.
"It's been really interesting seeing those partners that have been very active, very engaged, and very present from a thought-leadership perspective," she said.
"The have been focusing on other areas like sustainability, CSR and wellbeing, not only on being COVID-safe.
"The future of those relationships looks much brighter because we know they have been there fort he industry and customers through the hardest of times."
The Hotel Partnership
Hyatt Hotels Vice-President Sales and Marketing Pacific and Indonesia Kate Atkinson said companies were looking to partner with someone with the same priorities and values such as sustainability.
“During COVID some hotels have struggled to be sustainable. It has come back to being mindful about what we do now,” she said.
“We are giving more thought to how we deliver a hotel experience such as our own water bottling plant and producing our own disinfectant.
“Things like wellbeing, which was once a nice thought, now has to be considered and included in the program.
“Corporates are being more cautious about selecting that partner who has a positive approach to all of these things.”
Kate said there needed to be a mutual understanding from partners of some of the current challenges, such as staffing issues, and, where possible, be accepting of solutions such as staggered check-in and mealtimes.
“It’s about not panicking but having a calm solution and working with a partner who supports that,” she said.
“I feel like there is that sense of unity.”
The audio-visual partnership
An unexpected benefit of the global pandemic has been the new alliances FCM Meetings & Events has formed in the technology space such as with the NW Group.
"The NW team have been 100 per cent flexible with us on everything. It’s that attitude of whatever you guys need, we are in it with you,” Simone said.
“At the end of the day it comes down to empathy, transparency and vulnerability and working to collaborate for the greater good and bigger picture.
“We are going to win some and lose some together but most important is remaining a trusted partner with our customers and suppliers.”
Toss away the rules
NW Group General Manager Mario Valenti said aside from flexibility and agility, the two key components to look for in an event partner were the ability to adapt across markets and in multiple locations.
NW has studios in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Auckland and Wellington and partners in Perth.
“We recently worked with FCM Meetings & Events on a Harcourts award ceremony in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with a virtual audience as well,” he said.
“It was the grand slam in post COVID times in how to do an event.
“We’ve thrown the rule book out to give clients the confidence they need. We want to be there at the end of all of this and we want our clients to be there as well.”
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