Risk management was a hot topic at the recent Global Business Travel Association convention in Los Angeles. George Odom, vice president and principal at Advito, was among the expert panelists at a well-attended discussion, Risk Management and Meetings: How Prepared Are You? Audience members were hungry for specifics about how to better mitigate risk when planning meetings. Odom heard the call and put together this follow-up.
Plan ahead to reduce risks at meetings
When you’re organizing a meeting, you have a duty to investigate potential risks at your meeting site; inform attendees of any known hazards; plan for their safety; and avoid subjecting them to unreasonable risk of harm. Here are some steps you can take to reduce risks:
Choose contractors wisely. Make sure the vendors you’re using for your meeting understand and live up to duty-of-care responsibilities to keep attendees safe.
Select venues with safety and security in mind. Review the safety procedures of any hotel or meeting venue you’re considering. Ask the facility manager or director of security about past security incidences and how they were handled. Make sure all safety regulations and certifications are up to date. Understand emergency processes (for example, fire alarm locations and exit points from the meeting rooms and guest rooms).
Connect with an on-site contact. This follows on the guidance above. Make sure you have on-site contacts beyond the sales and convention services staff. Know who’ll be on site and in charge during your meeting, and find out how you’ll be able to contact them in an emergency.
Introduce your private security to the facility’s security staff. They’ll have to work together in an emergency, so make sure they know one another and have exchanged contact information.
Keep local law enforcement in the loop. For example, let police know if you’ll have large group movements in and out of the facility.
Communicate, train and adjust. Make sure you tell your staff what they should know about the facility’s safety procedures and key contacts. Train them on what to do in an emergency. And be ready to adjust your risk-management plan if weather or other issues force changes.
“The only reactive component of your meeting should be a specific incident response,” Odom said. “The rest you can plan for.”