Negotiating contracts with international hotels and avoiding risk when traveling outside the U.S. were among the many topics covered at the Beyond Borders Summit, Monday, July 14, at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York. The second-annual event, organized by MeetingsNet, drew corporate, association, and third-party meeting planners together for roundtable discussions on subjects they had chosen in advance. With most attendees having an average of 11 to 20 years of meeting planning experience—the hallmark of the Beyond Borders Summits—it made for a high level of discussion and debate. (See who was there in our photo gallery.)

Four TED Talk–style presenters rounded out the day: Arabella Bowen, editor-in-chief at Fodor’s Travel, shared insights on how Fodor’s reviewers assess properties around the world; Gregg Talley, president & CEO, Talley Management Group, spoke on seeking out destinations "hungry" to
MeetingsNet's Barbara Scofidio introduces Arabella Bowen, editor-in-chief of Fodor's Travelattract meeting business, and other trends. Ulla Buchner-Howard, DFA, CMP, adjunct professor at New York University’s R.P. Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports, focused on “red flags” when communicating across cultures (such as the meaning of “clean,” for example); and Michael Cerbelli, partner and president of special events, Go West Creative Group, introduced dozens of creative entertainment ideas for global events.

Ulla Buchner Howard, NYU adjunct professor and president of ubh International, speaks on potential communication pitfallsAvoiding risk was one of the hottest topics of the day, with attendees agreeing that there are numerous issues—from language barriers to hotel staffs who are unfamiliar with servicing U.S. meeting groups—that make negotiating and contracting for global meetings much more challenging than for domestic events. Another type of risk—attendee safety—was also a top concern, though many attendees agreed that media hype often unfairly influences the public’s perception of some destinations—and keeps companies from using some of the most interesting emerging countries (such as Colombia) for their programs.

Look for the August issue of MeetingsNet’s interactive tablet magazine for a complete report on the Beyond Borders Summit and a how-to guide for planning global events.