Industry consultant, trainer and speaker Tyra W. Hilliard, an associate professor at the University
of Alabama, teaches meetings contingency planning at industry events. Some preparedness
measures she recommends include the following:
- Include crisis management as part of the organization's strategic meetings management program.
- Form a crisis management external advisory committee, including people from outside the organization
(e.g., meeting destination and facility representatives, attorney, insurance representative, law
- Create a written crisis management plan for each meeting.
- Form a crisis management team, including long-term and event-specific internal personnel as
indicated by the threat and vulnerability assessment.
- Ensure there is an off-site data back-up system and data privacy program for critical meeting data.
- Create a strategy for minimizing the impact of a crisis on meetings.
- Develop methods to inform meeting attendees about appropriate crisis prevention and response
measures (e.g., emergency contact information, collecting medical emergency information on
registration forms, posting and announcing evacuation routes, etc.).
- Conduct a legal and financial threat, vulnerability and capability audit for each meeting.
- Communicate information about large meetings with local law enforcement and emergency response
entities such as police and fire, plus destination representatives like CVBs.
- Establish an emergency communication system for communication within staff (on-site and at the
office) and with vendors, venue and destination representatives to be used in the event of a crisis.
- Improve crisis management communication to top management, meetings department staff and
those outside the meetings staff who will be on-site.
- Improve crisis management communication to meeting participants.