Where We Are
Your venue, hotel, or destination has undoubtedly been affected by COVID-19. There are few industries whose revenue models have been more directly impacted and dramatically altered by this pandemic than those serving travel, tourism, meetings and conventions. Teams at present are scattered and furloughed amid a sales pipeline struggling with uncertainty. While COVID-19 has substantially altered our destination and venue outlooks in the near-term, it is imperative as we regroup and return to our enterprises, that sustainability and the environment be included as critical risk management and quality assurance strategies to help ensure our industry’s recovery and long-term vitality.
Where We Were
Prior to March 2020 there were several recent and significant indicators reminding us about the essential need for integrated sustainability planning, such as the remarkable level of universal adoption and support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as 2030 targets for organizations around the globe. In addition, in January 2020, Blackrock Capital Chairman and CEO Larry Fink, in his annual letter to shareholders, announced that sustainability will now be a key risk factor by which Blackrock investment portfolios are evaluated. This move was significant as it helped to draw sustainability further out from the margins and into the center of the risk mitigation conversation at the C-suite and corporate governance levels. Later in the month, as if in unison, the World Economic Forum shared its Long-Term Risk Outlook: Top 10 Risks Over The Next Ten Years which found a staggering 5 of 10 key risks falling under the category of “Environmental”.
Where We are Going
Meetings, conventions, and travel is poised for a recovery but guests in the foreseeable future will demand more from their accommodations and places of gathering than ever before. While physical distancing and sanitization will be necessary and make initial headlines, a true comprehensive long-term, risk mitigation strategy will need to look further below the surface to chart a sustainable pathway towards healthier people, communities, and planet.
A Sustainable Solution
Historically, and somewhat ironically, one of the most persistent barriers to the implementation of sustainability planning in our institutions has been time. The relentless 24/7 pace of our events and tourism world, combined with the constant cycling and churn of new groups in and out, has often generated an impenetrable roadblock preventing piloting new initiatives, meaningful innovation, and even intra-departmental collaboration that requires more than a handful of staff hours.
There are few silver linings to the devastation wrought by COVID-19 personal, financial, or otherwise, but the Summer and Fall of 2020 offers our industry a unique opportunity to truly rethink, recalibrate, and return to our stakeholders in Q3 and Q4 smarter, more sustainable and stronger.
In response to helping organizations overcome these challenges, MeetGreen has created a new Venue & Vendor Services which in addition to its ongoing full suite of online resources serve as a useful orientation and overview of key questions to consider when supporting your team’s journey back.
Engaging your teams around setting baselines for your sustainable operations and identifying gaps will be a critical initial first step for your destination, property, or agency. This groundwork can then be followed by effectively recognizing and leveraging your existing green assets. This process will not only help to differentiate your service or location for a new era in our industry but will help facilitate a roadmap forward rooted in quantifiable sustainability metrics and full-spectrum accountability that will attract a new and passionate attendee base eager to convene.