Financial & Insurance Meetings: You took over as chairperson of the HP Committee at the 2009 Annual Conference. What has been your area of focus thus far during your term?
Centlivre: After last year with all the cancellations and groups freezing on booking meetings, our focus turned to figuring out how to drive additional business to hospitality partners and get meetings back on track. That’s when we began the BUY campaign. As meetings start to come back, we’ve asked FICP members to think about the HP community and at least give them consideration for their programs. That has resonated. Planners recognize how much suppliers have supported them with sponsorships over the years.
Also, the insurance and financial services industry is very fraternal. There is a sense of taking care of your own. When talking to CEOs or senior leadership at these companies, they are really focused on their people, and that philosophy permeates to the meeting planner. So the BUY FICP concept has been a success. The main focus now is to help our committee work better with the FICP board. We are treated as strategic partners and I will continue to align the HPC goals with the board goals to make the association better.
FIM: You’re on the design team for the Annual Conference. Any new ideas for this year’s Marketplace?
Centlivre: Yes! We listened to everyone’s feedback about the Marketplace, and we started talking about what we could do to change it, get some buzz around it, and get people excited about it again. First, we rebranded it. So there is no more Marketplace. Now it is “The Network.” We have shifted it to the opening night and we have added some new elements to help planners see the hospitality partners they need to see as well as meet new HPers that they may do business with in the future. I hope people recognize we took their feedback over many years, and have sprinkled in new elements to make the event even more engaging for all.
FIM: What has been the value of your involvement with FICP?
Centlivre: I was asked to head the insurance market for Disney Destinations in September 2003, and attended my first FICP meeting two months later in Orlando. I saw how this is a relationship-driven market, and I wanted to get on the inside and meet people. That’s when I realized the more you put in the association, the more you get out. This past year when meetings were on hold and people were canceling, planners had all the hotels in the world calling them. But the people I developed relationships with through FICP returned my calls, which was very gratifying and a reminder of why I appreciate the value of FICP.
FIM: What is your perspective on the state of financial and insurance meetings in 2010?
Centlivre: Business is definitely picking up. Incentives, particularly from insurance/financial services companies, are outpacing other markets for 2011, 2012, and 2013.