Meeting Newz September / October 2021

[ AUSAE COLUMN The frustration is being brought about in regards to conferencing. For AuSAE, this is our biggest engagement offering for our respective members. Conferences cover member engagement, education and are an important financial resource for many associations. I heard the other day from a conferencing supplier saying, “It is very hard to get motivated to requote for the third time for an event that is scheduled to take place in two weeks and I know it’s not going to happen”. It really struck home as this scenario is the reality we currently face. Even I have made the hard phone calls to cancel business for venues, accommodation providers and other suppliers in respect to moving our conference. I truly feel sorry for the venue and hotels that are juggling dates for associations, knowing potentially that they may or may not happen in 2021. I would say most of them have acted with complete humanity and professionalism when doing this tough job. However I feel for the smaller operator, the caterer, the dinner venue, the audiovisual supplier and other smaller businesses that are repositioning themselves to ensure that the business survives. The glimmer of hope is that associations know that their members want face-to-face events. Conferencing will return and in speaking with our BRETT JEFFERY AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES (AUSAE) PHONE 027 249 8677 With most associations moving their education online, whether for continued professional development (CPD), general education or product updates, by and large it is working quite nicely. However online can never exactly imitate the benefit of face-to-face interaction and engagement. association members, many of them noted that they will not forget the kindness shown by most suppliers in New Zealand. The association community is extremely appreciative. The biggest question is what happens when vaccination rates are up to a level in which the current government will allow more freedom? I’m sure once you read this the answer will be available. Will we be meeting with confidence that not only the delegates but the staff running the conference are vaccinated to a level in which we can all be safe? Will we have the belief that we can all be in a room together, or at a networking function in which we have certainty that we won’t take COVID-19 back to our workplace? Our venues, hotels and customers, whether they are associations or corporates, need to start the conversation with one another to ensure that there are some guidelines and prioritisation around meeting safely. As mentioned above, associations have identified the need to meet in person due to engagement, education and financial reasons. To do so we need some reassurance from our suppliers. I would like this protocol to be discussed not only by government but venues, conference suppliers, corporate conferencing companies, professional conference organisers and associations. REALLY FRUSTRAT ING FOR ASSOC IAT IONS NOW By Brett Jeffery , general manager NZ, of the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE). Questions and guidelines such as: • What happens when delegates, or venue / supplier staff have tested positive for COVID during the event? • If a delegate is feeling unwell, best practice is not to come to the event. Should there be no penalty, and full refunds with the catering and accommodation? And at the same time should associations refund the money in full? • Should pre-event saliva testing be required for delegates and all suppliers connected to the event? • What can be mandated at the event? • Could / should conferencing organisations restrict suppliers / venue staff / delegates attending the event? We all need to conference, however it must be in a safe environment in which not only the suppliers and organisers are comfortable with, but the delegates as well. As always, I’m happy for your feedback at Truly yours Brett Jeffery Find a Venue [22] meeting newz [sept oct] 2021