Last month, MCC Director of Sales, Jill Porter, spoke at the 2021 Unique Venues Virtual Conference. The panel session was titled, Doing the “Pandemic Pivot” – Making the Best of Challenging Circumstances.
As described by Unique Venues:
"When the industry came to a screeching halt in March of 2020, we all thought it would only last a few months. As we approached the summer months and it became obvious that the restrictions and closures would extend much longer than anticipated, some venues began exploring alternatives to hosting traditional in-person meetings and events. Could events be transitioned to a virtual environment? Could they continue in-person within stringent social distancing and health guidelines? Could they package and sell their expertise to clients, instead of just their space? Did the venue have experiential elements that could be provided to groups that were meeting virtually? Was it possible to make many of these things available on-demand?
The venues that were able to identify opportunities, work through challenges, and pivot their business model quickly were able to find new ways to engage both existing and new clients, keep staff employed, generate revenue for their operations, and open their venue up to new business verticals for the long term."
This panel discussion included various venues that successfully made a “Pandemic Pivot." Jill specifically discussed MCC's ever-changing COVID-19 protocols to keep up with local restrictions and clients' needs, supporting hybrid meetings and events at MCC's facility, and quarantining mariners as they prepared to travel around the country and overseas.
Other panelists included:
The session was moderated by: Alyson Salem, Director of Marketing, Unique Venues
MCC Director of Sales Shares Insights on unique Venues webinar: The roadmap to recovery Series Pt 5: hitting the road and Adjusting Course
Last week, Jill Porter, Director of Sales at Maritime Conference Center, shared her insights as part of the Unique Venues webinar: The Roadmap to Recovery Series Pt. 5: Hitting the Road and Adjusting Course. The panel, hosted by Chuck Salem and Joel Hauff of Unique Venues, discussed the constantly changing landscape of holding meetings and events across the country as the hospitality industry begins to recover, as well as what it feels like to hit the ground running with meetings and events, adjusting along the way, in a post-pandemic world.
COVID-19 unfortunately continues to dictate the meeting and event planning process, often making it difficult for all to navigate and make decisions. Jill emphasized the need to continuously change policies and protocols, as recently as just a week ago with rise of the Delta variant. She also discussed how MCC developed a COVID-19 Resource Center on our website to keep meeting planners, staff and other guests up to date on the latest information. This, coupled with one-on-one calls and meetings with our planners to address areas of concerns, has allowed MCC to maintain strong partnerships with our clients and assist them to the best of our abilities to ensure their events are safe and successful.
Looking ahead, each of the panelists had varying predications as far as when the industry will truly see stability and full recovery. Jill's thoughts being that professional business activities will ramp-up throughout the year next year (2022), but that the industry won't reach pre-COVID levels of meeting and event business until approximately mid-2023. The panel also discussed what is being seen on the social side of events, as that seems to be rebounding quicker with individuals yearning to gather and celebrate life milestones (i.e. weddings, baby showers, etc.).
Additional webinar panelists included:
Click here to watch the full recording of the webinar.
Maritime Conference Center is currently booking safe in-person and hybrid meetings. Physically distanced meeting room capacities (meeting current state and local restrictions) can be found here.
Our new "Hybrid Ready Room" was completed earlier this year and is the perfect space to host up to 15 attendees in-person and connect them to a group of virtual attendees. The room is equipped with two cameras, one that automatically tracks the speaker and another focused on participants. Balanced audio allows participants and instructor to be heard clearly, with versatility to adjust audio levels as needed. Bring your own laptop or rent one from us, and use your favorite platform!
Our talented IT Department is excited to work with customers to ensure successful hybrid events or more technical programs. In addition to our "Hybrid Ready Room", view our current AV equipment offerings and price list to assist you with planning a successful upcoming meeting in other meeting spaces. Our wired and seamless Wi-Fi service is capable of supporting virtual training needs and is available in all of our guestrooms and throughout the property.
Keeping everyone at MITAGS-MCC safe is our number one priority!
Check out our COVID-19 resource center for our current protocols and frequently asked questions, or contact a sales professional today. Thinking of including COVID-19 Testing as part of your upcoming program? Allow us to assist through our existing vendor relationships.
As we move into a season of warmer weather, consider an outdoor event, networking, recreational activity, or meal with furniture and tenting options through our vendor Party Plus Tents and Events.
MITAGS-MCC is excited to welcome back Lindsay Moran as our Director of Marketing. Lindsay was onboard with us as our Marketing Manager for nearly two years before COVID-19 struck. Unfortunately, she was one of several of our crew to be furloughed during this tough time for our organizations.
In her absence from MITAGS-MCC, Lindsay continued to sharpen her marketing skills outside of the maritime industry, working for a commercial retail owner as their Director of Marketing. While her brief time was impactful at that firm, when she received the call to come home to MITAGS-MCC, she jumped at the chance.
Lindsay brings with her over 10 years of experience as a marketing and communications professional with a demonstrated history of working in the commercial real estate and construction industries, as well as the maritime and hospitality industries. She’s a passionate storyteller, focusing on corporate branding and strategy. Lindsay is well-versed in both traditional and digital marketing, including social media, various forms of advertising, content creation, video, web, SEO, and public relations.
As the Director of Marketing at MITAGS & the Maritime Conference Center, Lindsay is responsible for developing and managing both companies’ overall marketing strategies, including corporate branding and messaging.
Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of Maryland, College Park. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family of four, an occasional round of golf with her husband, and trying new wines.
Please join us in welcoming Lindsay back to our crew!
Earlier this month, MITAGS-MCC welcomed Tara Ruocco from FLIK, as our new Senior Dining Director!
Tara originally hails from New Jersey (a New York Giants fan), but has lived in Maryland since graduating from Towson State University. She currently resides in Laurel with her son, Ethan, who is entering college next year.
Tara has over 20 years of food service management experience, spending the last 13 of those years as the Assistant Director of Operations at a major law firm in Washington D.C.
Tara is also an avid runner, running at least 100 miles every month! To date, she has completed four full marathons, numerous half marathons and other shorter distances, and one 50k ultramarathon.
Tara is excited to be at MITAGS-MCC and looks forward to meeting all of our students and conference guests! Please stop by and say hello when you have a moment.
The Maritime Conference Center is currently looking for a Guest Services Representative for our front desk operation. This full time (40 hour week) opportunity offers competitive salary and excellent benefits including health, dental, and vison coverage for employee and qualified dependents with zero $ payroll deduction. We offer paid vacation, personal and sick time, and 13 paid holidays. We currently offer combined employer contributions of 15% to Pension and IRAP Plans plus a 401K employee contribution plan. MCC sits on a beautiful campus-like setting with employee discounts on limited overnight stays when available, use of indoor pool and gym, free parking and one meal per scheduled shift!
With revenue at the forefront, the daily tasks include, but are not limited to, the sale of 232 hotel guest rooms at the current or better rate, upselling additional services, entering and confirming reservations, guest check in/check out, answering and directing telephone calls and in person inquiries, retail sales in the onsite store, and other duties as outlined below. This position has a flex schedule geared to cover the business needs of a 24 hour hotel.
I. MAJOR DUTIES AND REPONSIBILITIES
RESERVATIONS AND FRONT DESK OPERATIONS
II. DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS:
For immediate consideration send your resume in confidence to email@example.com. This position will fill quickly!
"CONFERENCE CENTERS IN TRANSITION TO A POST-COVID WORLD"
Maritime Conference Center's (MCC) Director of Sales, Jill Porter, was quoted in the June 2021 issue of CoventionSouth. The article focuses on how conference centers continue to see hybrid meetings as an in-demand solution during the transition to a "post-COVID" world.
At MCC, some groups were already taking advantage of audiovisual technology prior to the pandemic, including streaming videos of general session speakers onto screens or television monitors in attendee overflow spaces, while other conference groups utilized basic video or conference calling for in-person meetings. "True hybrid events, where a portion of the attendees are virtual and others in person, were not in demand until recently," said Jill. She added that the pandemic really pushed the timeline for hybrid capabilities ahead of schedule at MCC.
MCC's first true hybrid meetings were designed to bring MITAGS east coast staff and students, together in learning environments, with west coast staff and students. This led to the creation of MITAGS-MCC's "hybrid ready room," complete with a camera tracking the presenter and a fixed camera for participants. The room also features an audio system with speakers and microphones mounted to the ceiling, as well as a lapel mic for the instructor. To create a dynamic learning environment, there's a built-in projector with a screen at the front of the room, and a mounted television monitor at the back.
Jill also discusses the continued demand for virtual and hybrid meetings, but many are excited and long for the return of purely in-person meetings. "There is something magical that happens when people meet in person, and many of our customers are excited about safely capturing the learning environment, networking, and energy of live in-person events again," she said.
Click here to read the full article. Turn to page 9!
Planning Your Next Safe In-Person and Hybrid Meetings?
Conveniently located near BWI Airport, Maritime Conference Center has the team, space and technology to accommodate and assist with safe in-person and hybrid meetings, training and office space, and guestroom accommodations. We offer flexible attrition and cancellation policies so that you feel secure with your commitment to MCC, and our current COVID-19 protocols allow your conference or meeting guests to feel safe and comfortable while on our property.
Contact us today to schedule your next meeting or event!
This past year has brought incredible changes to our lives and work. Hosting meetings and events in this new world requires some major adjusting on the part of planners, venues, and attendees. A combined effort is required to host essential in-person functions again. Is it still possible to plan safe and effective, physically distanced face-to-face meetings in the post-COVID-19 world? Absolutely. Here’s how.
Consider Every Detail
Be selective about each detail of your meeting or training. Start by only inviting essential personnel and planning in-person events only when the subject matter is something that cannot be addressed remotely. If possible, avoid trainings or meetings that require attendees to travel across national, district, or county borders. Host the event outdoors if feasible, or in a room that allows for open windows when available. Limit group size for social distancing by scheduling multiple sessions or splitting larger events into smaller cohorts. Be sure that all tools and equipment (e.g., pens, computers, microphones) are not shared among participants. If this is not practical, be sure to disinfect all tools and equipment after each participant’s use. Meetings should be kept as short and focused as possible.
Choose Your Venue Carefully
Venues play an essential role in planning and holding a safe meeting or event. Ensure that you choose a venue that has implemented safe distancing practices, takes every precaution for sanitation, and offers thermal scanning with digital thermometers. These have become essential layers to ensure that attendees and participants are safe throughout any event. Contact venues to determine that they have a high-quality sanitation policy in place. Be sure to select a venue that focuses on key areas to provide safe meetings and events, including health safety procedures, social distancing provisions, and safe protocols for food and beverage service. Venues with well thought-through policies to include flexible attrition and cancellation clauses will be the easiest to work with during this challenging timeframe.
Provide detailed guidelines and requirements to participants well in advance of the event so they know what to expect. Remind them not to attend if they have any COVID-19-related symptoms, and ask them to take precautions not only after they arrive, but before. Participants should wear a mask, limit contact with other individuals, wash and sanitize hands frequently, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others during their travel time and throughout the event.
Keep Safety Paramount
Request that meeting attendees avoid socializing with one another or the local community during the time the event occurs. Set the standard for physical distancing and properly wearing face masks at all times except when eating or in private rooms alone. Display health advisories with visual cues and reminders prominently. In these times, it is expected that you ask all attendees to commit to a safety code of conduct and begin each day with a reminder of all expectations and rules for their safety. As testing becomes more readily available, including testing protocols may be another consideration.
Meetings and events that take place in person will likely need to offer virtual or hybrid alternatives for those who cannot attend despite precautions. Small, drive-to meetings held locally with attendees from a close geographic area may be one way to conduct necessary internal meetings, workshops, and seminars. Focus on individual activities, using group tasks only when essential and possible within physical distancing parameters. If lodging is required, provide single rooms so that individuals have as little direct contact as possible.
The management and staff at the Maritime Conference Center has worked diligently to create, and continually modify, protocols and resources for our meeting planners and guests in order to mitigate the risk of infection to the very best of our abilities. Our policies are based on the latest safety guidance from the CDC, local and state health department, and other regulatory authorities. MCC’s initial phase of our protocols can be found in our COVID-19 Resource Center.
Please don't hesitate to contact one of our sales team members to discuss your upcoming meeting needs. We truly value conversation with our meeting planner friends, and any input and perspective provided will ensure the success of safe meetings at MCC!
MITAGS-East and the Maritime Conference Center hosted Maryland Governor Larry Hogan today for a property tour and some hands-on ship driving experience in our simulators. Governor Hogan reached out last week requesting the visit, wanting to learn more about MITAGS' world-renowned job training and adult continuing education facility and conference center.
Governor Hogan was accompanied by Mary Beth Tung, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), and Elizabeth Kretovic, representing Orsted U.S. The MEA is working to advance offshore wind energy in the region, and MITAGS is developing training programs for the offshore workers who will build and service the platforms.
The visit was covered in prime time by Baltimore's ABC News Affiliate, WMAR (Click here to see the report), and Governor Hogan talked about his visit on his Facebook and Twitter pages. The video from Governor Hogan's Facebook Page can be viewed below:
Cost can be added up and presented as a clear-cut number, but value is in many ways both subjective and personal. Measuring meeting or event value depends on finding a methodology for measuring, evaluating and aggregating individual perceptions of value. Once you have determined the value of the session, you can assess the budget and determine whether what was gained overall was worth the cost. If so, you have a proven strategy to follow for future meetings. If not, you may need to work on adjusting some of your metrics.
Any meeting or event is ultimately about the experience of the attendees, whatever your business goals may be. Make sure that what you are spending money on adds value to your audience. Attendees don’t care what the specific costs were for the food and beverages provided; but they do care about whether or not they felt comfortable and satisfied during the event. Catering quality and availability always plays a large part in attendee satisfaction. No one wants cranky attendees because the coffee ran out or there weren’t enough snacks provided. This makes F&B an area well worth spending on. Two other essentials that have a direct impact on overall attendee experience are audiovisual tools and speakers, leaders and/or entertainment. Combined, all three of these elements should constitute somewhere around 50-60% of your total event cost.
Focus Your Meeting Evaluation
Find a single question that covers a ranking criterion that best expresses what you want your organization and/or attendees to get from the meeting or event. Be sure to have all attendees evaluate this main issue at the conclusion. Using just one question will keep feedback collection simple, consistent and speedy, which will make it more likely that you will get complete and accurate feedback. Consider using a simple, consistent scale to measure the overall success. It may be as simple as asking your participants to rate the meeting or event with a rank from 1-5 or a similar scale, focusing on that one main issue or element that was your primary meeting focus. You will most likely still want to encourage comments to add to the understanding of what did and did not go well during the event, but these are less easy to evaluate objectively.
Calculate Variable vs Fixed Costs
It’s crucial to identify and track both variable and fixed costs. Fixed expenses will not change based on the number of attendees. The cost of the venue or speaker, for example, are fixed costs. Variable expenses are costs that may change due to the number of attendees and these are usually calculated per person. Both of these expenses need to be considered together as part of your overall cost.
Sources of Revenue
To cover the expenses for your meeting or event, it may be possible to leverage sources of revenue. Advertising revenues, registration fees, concessions, rental fees for booths, management fees, and any sponsorship fees are all potential sources of revenue for your event. This total needs to be balanced against combined fixed and variable costs before determining the final cost of the event.
Analyze the Overall Cost & Performance of Your Meeting or Event
Once your meeting or event is over, you need to tally up total expenses and all revenues. This shows stakeholders the true cost of the event, and also helps when planning future events. Next, you need to compile the meeting evaluations based on the strategy that you set before the event, in order to determine success. Using both qualitative and quantitative event data enables you to best evaluate the performance of your event or meeting.
Measure Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI can be used to evaluate how successful your meeting or event was. This number shows what was gained through your meeting or event relative to the total costs. Evaluate and analyze your overall cost vs the success and expected savings or future earnings that will come from the event. If the savings or earnings are not concrete, look at the primary goal. Did the event get everyone closer to this goal? If all or most attendees found the event helpful, then the meeting saved time and money by making sure that people have clear next steps without roadblocks. On the other hand, if the meeting was disorganized or didn’t reach any strong conclusions, you lost not only the time spent at the event, but the potential work output that was missed during the time people were away.
Make the most of your next meeting or event at the Maritime Conference Center. A convenient location central to Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, DC reduces travel expenses. 100,000 square feet of focused meeting space equipped with the latest audiovisual technology and Internet capabilities ensures that your attendees are comfortable and fully equipped to make the most of the event. All-inclusive packages are also available to make planning streamlined and easy while also providing readily available, satisfying food and beverages throughout the meeting or event.
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