Industry Suppliers Identify Their Achievements During the COVID Crisis

The latest COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard asked respondents to call to mind their wins over the past six months of uncertainty. Suppliers’ write-in responses highlight their focus on building and maintaining industry relationships — and underscore their grit.

Author: Curt Wagner       

Signature LED

Signature Production Group expanded into virtual events in 2020 — adding an XR stage that features a 180-degree wraparound LED wall — in a new studio. Suppliers answering the latest COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard were able to cite their achievements during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Signature Production Group)

For the August COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, Convene asked respondents a new question: What do you consider your biggest achievement during the last six months? One-hundred thirty-six supplier respondents out of a total of 173 answered the open-ended question, offering a snapshot of how industry suppliers have weathered the pandemic.

With event cancellations over the past 18 months triggering layoffs and furloughs, it’s little wonder the two achievements most often cited by suppliers were “staying in business” and “keeping my job.” Suppliers still are feeling the fallout from 2020 — and are facing new challenges as the Delta variant causes a new round of cancellations.

“[I’m] continuing to serve my clients well, even though they have all canceled their 2020 and 2021 programs — and have not yet rebooked,” wrote one respondent who gave themselves credit for “not quitting” during trying times. Another said they had secured new and previously canceled business for this Fall “with the hope it doesn’t now cancel.”


RELATED: Event Organizers Cite Accomplishments During the Pandemic


Many suppliers grew their business despite the challenges they faced. Their successes ranged from “gaining a new client” to “winning £15 million of new business as a team while retaining £72 million of existing business.” Getting any new business ranked high among suppliers’ lists of wins in this most challenging business climate.

Below, we have broken down the suppliers’ achievements into different categories, including staying in business, revenue/growth, acquiring new skills, maintaining staff and business relationships, and developing innovative initiatives, among other accomplishments.

STAYING IN BUSINESS

  • Staying in business. (10 mentions)
  • Still being in business!
  • Not only staying in business but closing new clients.
  • Keeping the business alive.
  • Maintaining operation and exceeding transient business goals.
  • Becoming financially solvent again.
  • Keeping our business running and ready for the reopening of the industry.
  • Surviving COVID-pivoting to stay in business.
  • Breaking even on budget.
  • Keeping the company stable.
  • Remaining solvent and motivated while keeping most stressors at bay.
  • Looking for any and all opportunities.

REVENUE/GROWTH

  • Growth over 2020, with more than 28 new clients.
  • Booking future business.
  • We had a great Q2 and projecting a strong Q3 … hopeful!
  • Exceeding all KPIs in new job.
  • Crushing my quarterly goals.
  • Huge growth of our agency!
  • Creating positive momentum with my accounts.
  • Maintaining a travel budget.
  • Maintain workforce secure alternative revenue streams.
  • Rebooking 90 percent of COVID cancellations.
  • Identifying a new revenue stream in the midst of a pandemic.
  • Our largest single order.
  • Our agency is thriving — good strategy, good team, good partners, good luck.
  • Booking business every month and attending three in-person trade shows.
  • Booking a very large convention for 2024.
  • Maintaining contracted groups that needed to cancel due to mandates and rebooking for future dates — we managed to save more than 50 percent of our groups.

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Staying connected to key clients and colleagues while WFH. Work on business recovery plans, be ready when the economy bounces back and having a positive outlook.
  • Meeting customer needs despite shaky recovery.
  • Being able to service and support our customers’ needs when many of our competitors could not.
  • Ongoing partnerships with clients and working with city leaders to establish the convention center as an important community resource.

MAINTAINING STAFF

  • Keeping staff working.
  • Keeping most employees on full time at slightly reduced pay.
  • Being able to pay all of our staff when we had virtually no business.
  • Keeping our core staff employed by pivoting to virtual and hybrid events.
  • Hiring back staff.
  • Keeping our sales team together and the destination working.
  • Bringing my team back to work.

TEAM MOTIVATION

  • Staying positive, and coaching staff to become and stay more resilient.
  • Motivating my team.
  • Keeping team engaged and inspired under difficult conditions. Working with industry partners to help with local government for betterment of industry.
  • Keeping my team motivated.
  • Motivating a team through a difficult time of transition.
  • Keeping our team motivated and helping our clients find a path to success despite ever-growing obstacles.

INNOVATION

  • Launching a new virtual experiences platform.
  • Starting a new business division.
  • Virtual platform enhancements.
  • Our organization switching to fully virtual programs, mastering execution and design, and offering our clients quality solutions.
  • Strong investment and further development of our event management software for PCOs, associations, corporates (plus exhibitors).
  • Turning our business events venue into a wedding venue — only events accepted in our country during COVID.
  • Research, focus groups, virtual sponsorships through thought leadership.
  • Pivoting solutions to accommodate the events industry.

EVENTS

  • Successfully pulling off events of more than 1,000 people with our very small staff.
  • Supporting some congress organizers who decided to host their face-to-face events despite the pandemic and demonstrating that it is secure to have events in person — the best way to support our industry and the local economy.
  • Customer confidence in return of live events.
  • Executing several live events. Continuing to plan several live large events.
  • Migrating to virtual events.
  • Having a 200-person event in hotel. Spending time to train on skills where I felt weak.
  • Operating several SAFE face-to-face events in our destinations in LATAM.
  • Retaining events in future that are constantly needing to shift dates due to changes to the COVID situation.
  • Reopening with COVID protocols and having large events with very little staff while fighting pushback on safety.
  • Being able to host events again, even if only temporarily.
  • Welcoming back business events.
  • Things as simple as conducting site visits and seeing the resilience of clients who are determined to proceed with events as planned.
  • Two live events and adapting to online events.
  • Conducting more than 20 virtual events.
  • Many successful meetings in our digital studios.
  • Conversion to hybrid events.

KEEPING JOB/BACK FROM FURLOUGH

  • Keeping my job. (12 mentions without specifics)
  • Keeping my job (and my sanity) on property at my hotel convention sales job.
  • Staying employed and relevant.
  • Staying employed and mostly sane.
  • Staying employed. Continuing to confirm business in the midst of uncertainty.
  • Continuing to work during the pandemic.
  • Maintaining my role for a company and focusing on the message of what our company believes in for our hospitality industry.
  • Proactively searching for information and facts.
  • Being re-activated from furlough status.
  • Still having a job to go back to and remembering how to do my job after one year of being furloughed.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

  • Starting new job in the industry.
  • Taking a new career opportunity/promotion.
  • Getting hired.
  • Starting my own LLC and securing my first-three clients.
  • Securing a new job after COVID layoff.
  • Finding and starting a new job.
  • Revising my resume. Getting to the second interview phase. Keeping financially viable while furloughed.
  • Working with our convention center partners on their in-house projects.
  • Having found international projects to keep working and honing my skills.
  • Starting a new job/business.

NEW SKILLS/CERTIFICATIONS

  • Obtaining my DES certification. (2 mentions without specifics)
  • Learning new skills and taking care of myself better than ever.
  • Learning new tech.
  • Getting my CMP!
  • Obtained DES; turning to complete online delivery.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Staying positive for team and stakeholders. (2 mentions)
  • Discovering the benefits of a good work/life balance.
  • Resilience
  • Staying relatively sane.
  • Getting to the other side, with business, mental, and physical health all in good shape.
  • Keeping it together under the most challenging circumstances.
  • Agility.
  • Being able to close groups, being calm and positive.

SURVIVING

  • Surviving (10 mentions without specifics)
  • Survival. Our resilient culture gave us a good foundation.
  • Survival and winning some new clients.
  • Surviving and staying on top of trends and in touch with clients and suppliers.

MISC. PERSONAL

  • Getting a vaccine and returning to the office.
  • Losing 25 pounds.
  • Getting out of bed every morning.
  • Being able to pay mortgage and car payment even while on furlough for 13 months. I did as many odd jobs as I could do to get by.