Has Meeting and Event Planning Changed since 9/11?

The world is certainly a different place since the tragic events of 9/11. Lots has changed. Often I try to remember what life was like before that fateful day 10 years ago and reflect on things that we used to take for granted. I was involved with a full-service meeting and event planning during that time. I remember  we had a group that was just about to get underway. Well needless to say that group and many more following it didn”t go off as planned.

Security in the Meeting and Event Planning World

The meeting and event planning industry has made changes to accommodate security issues. As the events unfolded that day and once it became clear to our clients that their meeting was not going to proceed our immediate concern for the group was how we were going to get them back home. The group that my company was working on was from Chicago and their group meetings were being held in Toronto. And as anyone will tell you from that day life did not get back to normal the next day or the day after or the week after for that matter. Air travel was not an option for a means of transportation for our group. So we worked with our coach company and we were able to charter buses that would take the delegates back to Chicago. That took about two days.

The one answer I usually give people is security when asked about what has changed in the meeting and event planning industry. Looking back at the contracts that we did before 9/11, terrorism and security, while certainly a part of the contracts, were not a major focus of most client contracts. After 9/11 not so much. Security all of a sudden became a focal point. Clients wanted to know whether or not the suppliers they were working with had a backup plan. More specifically a security backup plan. So in the days after 9/11 my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to revamp our policies and procedures to address the “what if” scenario. While chilling it did bring a slight peace of mind to know that we did indeed have a game plan should something this roulette online horrific occur in the future.

Insurance Became a Bigger Item Line in Meeting and Event Planning Contracts

Insurance went through the roof. We started seeing new clauses and exceptions to insurance policies from our various suppliers and venues. It wasn”t as if we had to explain this to our clients as they were fully aware that insurance as a whole was changing drastically. It has since leveled out to a new norm. While we don”t necessarily enjoy the rates of a pre-9/11 world, insurance rates are nowhere near what they used to be in the months and years immediately following 9/11.

So yes the world has definitely changed in the last decade. The one positive trait that I like to reflect on is that we strive to live our lives as normally as possible. And without fear. We are certainly resilient. The meeting and event planning industry took a very hard hit in the weeks and months and even years following. But it did come back albeit with some new rules at play.

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