Guest blogger Myrto Toufexi Kleovoulou, Executive Director and Event Designer at OM DMC Greece and Cyprus, discusses new sensitivities when dealing with clients amid the global pandemic and why the role of the DMC is becoming even more complex…
We all agree that the pandemic has totally changed and re-shaped our MICE industry’s norms. The agencies are confronted with an ongoing uncertainty, relying on government decisions with enforced rules and regulations to contain the further spread of Covid-19 and unfortunate loss of life.
The previous challenges faced by our sector, such as that of selecting a suitable destination, or a reliable DMC have shifted now to primarily choosing a safe and pandemic controlled location where all protocols are closely monitored and implemented.
But then questions arise concerning the personal freedoms and enforced regulations concerning the vaccinated and non-vaccinated. Our industry is now more than ever overly sensitive; the other day while I was happy to connect with a new client via LinkedIn to discuss a future event in Greece, our dialogue wasn’t first about the hotel options, nor the impressive venues, nor the suitable activities but rather the current Covid-19 related policies imposed in the country.
After my reply that Greece follows strict rules, as elsewhere in Europe to curb the effects of the pandemic, I was faced with an unexpected reaction involving such restrictive policies, basic human rights and so forth.
Our role as DMCs is now becoming even more complex, as we need to juggle between providing a fantastic proposal but at the same time deal with factors beyond our control directly linked with the current pandemic status and constant changes in rules.
Omicron, proud part of our Greek alphabet, could not come at a worse time when all was starting to smooth out and requests were steadily received for 2022 and 2023! Blame the whole hype maybe on the media and daily news headlines? Well, whatever the answer its certain that damage has been done in creating again a feeling of indecision, of postponing events yet for another year and so forth.
Now, more than ever before, agencies must choose wisely as to whom they will entrust their future corporate travel plans, considering all the above. We have used the last two years to learn, adapt and restructure our company, so as to abide by the new and unprecedented health and safety requirements, and now the OM team is even more proactive, foreseeing any arising problems before these occur.
Relying on your local agent has become a necessity, since our connections and updates on the appropriate suppliers is a must. It will no longer be just a matter of securing the best cost, but foremost ensuring the health and safety of the participants, while still guaranteeing the overall quality of the services.
Travel must and will go on, as we strongly believe that virtual events can never replace live ones. As humans we have the intrinsic need to interact with one another, experience new destinations and new cultures, thus achieving personal growth.
While we are all experiencing the current MICE industry tremors, we must remain hopeful for a positive restart within 2022.