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Managing the Unexpected and Reinventing Your Meetings Program

In our recent white paper, Meetings Management Programs: Building for Change, we discussed how to adapt your meeting strategy to keep up with the evolution of strategic meetings management. This year, the global pandemic has inarguably been one of the most impactful factors influencing program evolution. It has required meeting planners to apply new learnings quickly and also understand on how to manage the unexpected.

How do you keep your program moving forward in 2021? Here, we discuss new insights and strategic action items to consider as you plan next year’s meetings and events strategy.

Man working at laptop on planning 2021 meeting program strategy | Global agency, BCD Meetings & Events

How to maximize your 2021 meetings program

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked an array of uncertainties for the industry. Although 2020 has seen a decline in the number of live meetings and events that have taken place, the good news is – people are still meeting and there is still a business need for human connection.

The Future of Virtual

As we near the end of 2020, we can confidently predict that virtual and hybrid meeting options are here to say and will remain beyond this global pandemic.

At the beginning of the year, many businesses focused on technology and finding suppliers for meeting facilitation to execute these meeting types. Although technology is a key part of virtual and hybrid events, it’s only one component of the virtual meeting experience.

A clearly defined strategy around hybrid and virtual meetings and knowing how to manage them is just as crucial. Managing these types of meetings effectively means understanding their purpose, objective and audience, just like for live meetings and events.

The Reality of In-person Events

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to understand when our industry can rely on live events once again. With regional variances regarding COVID-19, global programs are particularly unpredictable at this time. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still have a plan for them in the very near future, especially considering the several months it takes for planning. Since there are so many benefits to in-person events, as soon as we’re able to physically meet again, we need to be ready.

Related article: Evaluating Your Meetings Management Program for Future Planning

7 Strategic Actions for 2021 Planning

Now that we have a better understanding of next year’s landscape, here are seven action items to take as you plan your approach:

  1. Define strategy, service and technology solutions to guide your meeting bookers
  2. Plan beyond 2021 by looking to the past
  3. Dust off your policy
  4. Strengthen your stakeholder relationships
  5. Consider approvals and attendee confidence
  6. Evaluate your suppliers
  7. Protect your attendees


Originally published Nov 2, 2020 2:39:20 PM
Last updated on Apr 6, 2023 4:47:10 PM

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Written by BCD Meetings & Events

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