By Rodrigo Esponda, Los Cabos Tourism Board Managing Director
In a destination like Los Cabos, visitors seek connection to nature, culture and each other. In the meetings industry, we thrive on connection. It allows big ideas to bud and flourish.
Due to the pandemic, meeting in person had been halted. But it was important to us in Los Cabos to navigate the return to meetings quickly, albeit in a modified format to be transformed over time. Since reopening to tourism in June 2020, Los Cabos has hosted over 500 meetings in a combination of virtual, hybrid and in-person meetings, ensuring implementation of proper health and safety protocols when in person to be able to provide everyone a higher standard of care.
As we return to in-person events more over time, there are three lessons we’ll take with us from the past year to create an even better connection for our meetings participants going forward:
Expand to New Audiences: As industry leaders, we have to adapt quickly to changes and challenges in the market and identify opportunities for growth. With the pivot to virtual meetings, we leveraged technology to expand our audiences and include new elements to meetings. For example, our Los Cabos VIP Summit is typically comprised of 1:1 business meetings. For our 14th annual event held virtually, we added on a live virtual expo for travel agents and an on-demand educational program for all guests. Regardless of our event format in the future, we hope to bring in virtual components so our content can live longer and reach a larger audience.
Evaluate At Every Step: Los Cabos created a health and safety manual for attendees, organizers, venues and providers to follow so that all can enjoy a higher standard of care when connecting at in-person events. The manual crosses three phases: pre-event, during event, post-event. We anticipate Los Cabos meetings to follow this manual through 2021 and even into 2022. While guidelines may change over time, we’ve seen that it has helped to instill confidence in our meetings visitors. It’s clear they are looking for careful and structured gatherings and they know we are providing a higher standard of service, caring at every step.
Engage Beyond the Business: Many of us have experienced virtual meeting fatigue at some level this past year whether attending several back-to-back meetings or days-long virtual conferences. Wellness breaks are important both for in-person and virtual events. For a virtual event, we’ve incorporated fun giveaways related to the destination like hotel night stays. When it comes to in-person events in Los Cabos, our destination is full of opportunity from outdoor adventure to cooking classes. Taking time for this allows attendees to take a step back, have fun and refresh, returning with more energy to re-engage with each other and the event purpose.
Each type of meeting format brings its own set of benefits and considerations. No matter which way we connect, it’s important for us to do so to further foster growth, collaboration and community across the world.