Elizabeth Pardillo, CMP, Meeting & Event Strategist
Maritz Global Events
St. Louis, Mo.
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
I first started working as a meeting professional during my college years at the University of Central Florida, as an event coordinator for an organization of which I was a member. After a number of positions in the industry, I then found my next move to become a meeting and event strategist at Maritz Global Events, formally Experient, specializing in hotel sourcing and contract Negotiations and have been here for five years.
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
Honestly I have always been a planner, even when I was younger. Then when in college as I mentioned above, I joined an organization as the event coordinator in charge of social events. When the event arrived, to see it all come to fruition, that was a sight to see, and such an accomplishment in my eyes. Even better, seeing the faces of the guests attending the event, having a blast, and I knew I wanted this to be my future.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
Collaboration with my clients and the hotel, destination, and industry partners, creating unique and rewarding experiences for my clients, and helping them save money, time, and have less stress,
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Many events have been rebooked and canceled, including my own client meetings, so this has affected my business this year, in terms of revenue. Instead of looking at the challenges of COVID-19, I have chosen to re-invest that energy into my professional and personal growth and journey. Earlier this year, I received my certificate in Hospitality & Tourism from the FAU (Florida Atlantic University) College of Business.
Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?
I have helped a few clients with the planning and project management of their virtual meetings. I really have enjoyed diving right in to plan every aspect of the virtual meeting. Some of the companies I have worked with are the BeSpeak platform by Matrix International Group, Map Dynamics platform, Matchbox Virtual Media, and Remo.
I do not think virtual will replace in person events, but it is a benefit to offer a virtual component to reach more attendees.
Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?
I have a few clients that have already booked and kept their in-person meetings for the rest of this year, and I have a few meetings from another client that will be booked for later this fall. These meetings range from 25-75 people.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
I believe that travel will normalize more quickly than many think. Tourists will experiment with new locations as they have had months to plan their next vacation when the time is right. Smaller in-person corporate and association meetings are already starting to come back, and I am currently talking to my clients to help them with “roadshows” across the country, yet on a smaller level for the rest of this year. I believe that as destinations market their cities for visitors to come, they will include increased safety policies like never before, and this will continue as the years go on. All of the cleaning and hygiene protocols put in place and increased technology will be here to stay.