Meetings changed forever in 2020 when physical safety and cleanliness became central to all events. Experience Columbus is committed to ensuring that safety also includes eradicating social injustice and racism.
In June, Experience Columbus Vice President of Sales Dan Williams and 20 Black CVB executives issued an open letter to the industry that called for greater institutional change, from wider equity in leadership positions to increased patronage of Black- and minority-owned communities and businesses.
Columbus continues to call for social change, building on lessons from Convening Leaders 2020. Experience Columbus continues to move the needle toward equality for women in the industry, by reminding meeting professionals that they can make a difference and apply it to their day-to-day efforts.
“As one of the world’s largest, most-respected, and most-recognized networks of business event strategists, PCMA and its constituents are vital to creating lasting change in the industry when it comes to equity and inclusion,” Williams said. “As an official network partner and future host of PCMA Convening Leaders, we’re proud that Columbus is able to help shape this conversation by sharing our strategies and key learnings to ensure social progress in the meetings industry.”
A Commitment to Meeting Safely
The Columbus community has set a high bar for hosting best-in-class meetings and conventions, and the city is taking steps to make the new normal a more successful normal. The citywide pursuit of Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation for facilities, which certifies their adherence to a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program, in addition to a mask mandate, and an agreement to the Live Forward Pledge headline Columbus’ commitment to safe meetings.
The Live Forward Pledge, signed by more than 200 local businesses, signals a commitment to follow local, state, and federal health guidelines while operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as enforcing the citywide mask mandate and setting up social distancing measures.
Many of Columbus’ highest visitor touchpoints, including the Greater Columbus Convention Center and the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, have leveled up their commitment with GBAC STAR rating.
Columbus works closely with local health officials to develop a personalized safety plan for each event. It experienced positive results with this approach when Ohio’s capital was the first city to welcome back live basketball in July with The Basketball Tournament (TBT) at Nationwide Arena. The health and safety lessons learned through hosting the first successful sports “bubble” — weeks before the NBA bubble began — carry through to all events, so groups have peace of mind meeting in Columbus.
A Dynamic Convention Package
Columbus, reviewed as “the best American Society of Association Executives (host city) ever” after the success of its 2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition, is a smart and open community with a dynamic convention package that can fit the needs of any group.
Columbus’ 1.8 million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center in the heart of downtown offers 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space and 75 meeting rooms. By 2022, Columbus will boast more than 5,200 downtown hotel rooms and nearly 32,000 citywide.
Future live events surely will look quite different than previous traditional physical events, and Columbus is ready to help successfully host in-person or hybrid events regardless of scale or requirements.
Speaking of the future, Columbus will host PCMA Convening Leaders in 2023. When attendees convene there in two years, they will know they can look to the city as leaders in providing safety for attendees, calling for equity and inclusion and offering resources and information on creating lasting social change within their organizations.
Tap into the next generation of meetings with Experience Columbus. For more information, call 614-222-6151 or visit experiencecolumbus.com/meet.