On October 1, 2011, the U.S. State Department issued a global security alert for American citizens. One can only speculate on the possible implications for domestic events and foreign incentive travel.
Some U.S. companies may re-think their incentive travel plans and elect to reward their teams at destinations closer to home. For corporate events and business meetings, other companies may place more emphasis on risk assessment, security audits and ensuring that additional event insurance coverage is in place.
Combined with heightened concerns about the economy (as evidenced by the escalating anti-Wall Street demonstrations in recent weeks), it won't be business as usual for event and incentive travel planners for quite some time. Event planners would be wise to keep the following tips in mind.
- Be proactive. Reach out to clients to uncover and address concerns about scheduled foreign group travel or large local events.
- Have a back-up plan.
- Contact to local hotels, resorts, and event venues to ensure that options are available if a client decides to pull overseas events closer to home.
- Obtain emergency contacts (including e-mail addresses and phone numbers) from all attendees.
- US citizens traveling abroad should follow the State Department advice and use the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Prepare a list of safety tips to brief participants prior to foreign events, conferences, and incentive trips.
- Be extra vigilant. Advise clients to take precautionary measures such as ensuring that all executives don't travel on the same flight.
- Be sure to have an emergency preparedness plan in place.
- Conduct security briefings (similar to what airlines do) to familiarize participants with exit routes, what to do, and who to call in an emergency.
What other precautionary measures should event, conference and meeting planners take in response to the U.S. global security alert?