Visit Anchorage “Zooms In” on U.S. Meeting Planners


Displaying their unique brand of personalized service to the meetings industry, Visit Anchorage recently held a series of Zoom discussions on how their destination is coping with and addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 was forecast to be a banner year for Visit Anchorage with an economic impact of 90 to 100 million in annual meetings revenue. Fortunately, 78 million of this expected income has moved to future years.

Their presentations began with D.C. planners, 100% of whom are working from home. 30% of those attending were also open to in person meetings with suppliers. Close to 50 planners attended the webinar led by David Kasser, V.P. of Sales and Shelli Stanton, Convention Sales Manager. They were joined by a panel of industry partners from the “A-Team” of organizations representing Anchorage’s dynamic meetings and conventions task force. Included were Alex Wong – Hotel Captain Cook, Kate Sprout – Hilton Anchorage, Gemma Hawley – Alaska Airlines, Alyeska Hotel – Chris Block and Phyllis Rice – William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center & Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center.

Predictably, much of the agenda was given over to the various safety protocols and related mandates in place by the city to make organizers feel comfortable about choosing Anchorage as a viable meeting destination. Each sales manager also discussed the ways their individual businesses were adhering to CDC and local procedures.

But then Visit Anchorage took it one step further by being the first organization to actually host an in-person event in the city since February with the successful execution of their July monthly membership luncheon. Normally 75 to 150 members participate in this event. This time, 75 actually attended the            luncheon demonstrating that networking is still important – especially in times of crisis. And when queried as to whether or not they felt safe enough to be present at a future monthly luncheon, 95% of those attending voted yes.

As always with Visit Anchorage, this was a two way conversation between the CVB and their clients. So, the panel ended the session by addressing inquiries submitted by the attendees prior to the event. These questions revealed the following:

  • “Hybrid” will remain a component of most meetings moving forward
  • Covid-type clauses will need to be part of all future contracts
  • Creativity and flexibility will be the key words in any conversations between planner and supplier

Learn More about Visit Anchorage at https://www.anchorage.net/meetings/

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