I was speaking with a meeting manager friend the other day right after she got off the phone with one of her planners. The woman, who was on site for a program in the Dominican Republic, had just broken her ankle. She was trying to stay, but my friend was urging her to get home right away in case the break was serious and needed surgery.

All in a day’s work.

The stories in this issue are real-life tales involving attendee safety and security, from the unexpected—a laid-off employee who used fake credentials to get into a company meeting—to the highly unlikely—a business traveler who hit a camel with his rental car in Amman, Jordan. In every case, you need to have a plan in place. This series of articles, along with our online risk management resource, give you the tools you need, like the risk-assessment checklist on page 21.


Risk management also includes contractual risk, and we’ve called on two of the best lawyers in the business—Stephen Barth, attorney and professor of law and leadership at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston; and Tyra W. Hilliard, PhD, JD, CMP, consultant and educator, Hilliard Associates LLC, to share the top contract clauses you need to know. See the article on page 24.

Contractual risk is a major reason why companies initiate strategic meetings management programs. That’s why sample contracts will be part of a brand-new SMM tool kit being rolled out this summer by the Groups and Meetings Committee of the National Business Travel Association. The committee, of which I’m a member, has acknowledged that after five years of educating the industry on SMM, there hasn’t been as much adoption as we’d expected. We’ve identified many of the roadblocks to starting an SMM and are compiling a robust set of tools to help with every aspect: strategy, policy, communication, meeting registration, sourcing, planning, payment solutions, data reporting, and technology. Keep an eye out for it, to be released at NBTA’s annual convention in August in Houston.

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Risk Assessment Checklist

Take Charge of Attendee Safety