In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.
The first thing you notice about Christine “Shimo'' Shimasaki and Terri Roberts is how very deeply they care about the CVB, meeting and events industry on a personal level. That is no surprise given that between them they have worked in every aspect of tourism, from DMOs to CVBs, from hotels to theme parks to Destinations International.
What sets them apart from their peers, in my humble opinion, is a focused commitment to action.
Shimo, Terri and their company 2Synergize LLC see themselves as consultants, but I beg to differ. Certainly, they are an A1 consulting team with a track record that reads like making the Dean’s list at Stanford, but I personally like to call them “resultants,” that special breed of consultant that goes well beyond analysis and commits to strategy implementation and action.
Terri calls herself a glass-half-empty person. Shimo is an eternal optimist. But in the middle of this crisis they both see a silver lining. The silver? New ways to do things, new efficiencies, new ideas and an opportunity to elevate the importance of data-driven planning and stakeholder engagement in order to craft a more perfect future for meeting destinations.
Shimo says, “when I think of where we are as an industry right now, with COVID-19 and all that it presents, it's kind of interesting how a crisis brings us back to center, back to the basics. Part of that is (asking) how is my own database? How healthy is it? How well structured? And is it recovery ready?’
"It's kind of interesting how a crisis brings us back to center, back to the basics."
Terri and Shimo see CVBs as curators of destination knowledge. They see the need for deeper collaboration, yes with their local stakeholders, obviously, but also in a way that the industry has only just begun to address. They are champions of the pressing need and opportunity for CVBs to collaborate together to optimize their learning and forecasting through shared data platforms.
In the meetings industry just as it is in leisure, stakeholder engagement is essential for sustainable destination growth and excellence. They see CVB leaders as the catalyst in bringing their meetings communities together in town halls, virtual and physical, and asking the questions of stakeholders. Are we on the same page? Do we understand the most important things that meeting organisers will need when they can meet again? Are we proactively preparing in this time to understand their concerns and solve for where we're headed next?
They both agree, it’s not going to be business as usual coming out of this. Things are going to be very different - and we don’t know just yet how different - but they both see a prime opportunity in the current crisis for CVBs to come to the forefront and lead their destinations through recovery and into the future.
A couple of my favourite resultants for sure!