Pacific World Offers Advice on Risk Management for Large-Scale Events

Caution Tape

To help meeting planners protect their events from a growing list of uncertain threats, global DMC and event management company Pacific World has leveraged its experience managing crises for its clients to create a three-part risk-management "best practice" for planners of large-scale meetings and events, it announced today.

"In these times of uncertainty, with an increasing number of incidents occurring globally, risk management has emerged as one of the key priorities when planning for an event," said Selena Chavry, global managing director of Pacific World. "Safety is a big issue for all organizations from event planners to meeting venues and conference centers to hotels -- indeed, any event venue. Most have developed an internal risk management plan, but as the list of threats to the industry continues to grow, there is a need to ensure that these processes are transparent, consistent, and up-to-date."

Pacific World's risk-management best practice includes three components:

1. Planning for safety

As the official service provider for transportation and excursions at the 2016 Rotary International Convention in South Korea, Pacific World learned that it is important to plan what emergency communication channels delegates should use when they are offsite.

"Good communication is critical when situations arise; it must be clear whose Emergency Response Plans will come in play -- the client, supplier, or the venue," Chavry explained. "A designated spokesperson should be in charge of communicating with the authorities and decision makers to avoid any confusion."

Contingency planning also is key. "With a large number of delegates involved, contingency plans were in place to be able to locate them en route between venues or if the group were split up. In this case, walkie-talkies were issued with channels for special announcements," Chavry continued. "Messenger chats were also set up for each individual route to facilitate coordination among the hundreds of buses involved."

2. Building a team

Having the appropriate relationships in place prior to an event is key to ensuring attendee welfare, according to Pacific World.

"Risk management strategies are more successful if there are two separate teams on the ground for events," Chavry said. "One team should be responsible for focusing on the successful delivery of the conference or event with a separate team dedicated to implementing the emergency response plan when required. In case of a major crisis, an Emergency Operations Center will be activated for immediate support."

Pacific World recommends the following items for building a crisis-management checklist:

• Do we have the means to communicate with someone in the office? Is there a process to ensure this?
• Do we have all the facts (as opposed to speculation)?
• Do we have a working relationship with the authorities? Which are the parties involved?
• Are transport companies checked before hiring?
• Are guests monitored during their journey?
• In case of an emergency, are drivers aware of the pre-determined evacuation routes?
• What are the roles and functions of all security personnel?

3. Maintaining relationships with local authorities

Local authorities should be a key member of planners' risk-management team, according to Pacific World, which cites as an example an event it held recently for a British group meeting in Thailand.

"Results from a recent global Destination Index identified Thailand as one of the top destinations in Asia despite the nation having its share of incidents over the years. How quickly tourism rebounded each time is a testament to the crisis resolution capabilities of the local authorities," Chavry said. "Meeting and event planners need to have the expertise to make the decision if an event should go on or to fall back on the contingency plans."

Strong relationships with the lcoal convention bureau, airport and the metropolitan office are especially important so planners can stay current as a situation is unfolding.

"It is important to keep to the facts of what is happening and know the security measures that are in place," Chavry concluded.

Up your meetings-industry IQ. Check out the latest edition of 30 Seconds to Smart!