Keshena Patterson, Manager, Global Accounts
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
I am what is considered a third-party planner who sources hotels and other venues worldwide for clients who plan group meetings and events which is at no cost to them.
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
I chose to be a third-party meeting professional because of my love for travel and the joy events bring to people. It has been a pleasure to find the right hotel venue, negotiate on their behalf, and be a reliable and valuable resource from beginning to the end of their event.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?
The most enjoyable event would be my company, HelmsBriscoe’s, annual business conference. It was great to see other third-party planners celebrate their successes and learning how much of an impact they have made assisting their clients for the year. Also, connecting with our hotel and destination partners throughout the world and getting more information on current trends, and what is to come so we could share with our clients for their needs. It was a wonderful time to celebrate, laugh, learn, and be inspired.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
The greatest reward is seeing your event come to light. The beginning stages of planning, long work nights, and the many hats you wear can be a lot, but once the event is completed and it is a success, it makes it all worthwhile.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
COVID-19 has made a huge impact on my business and my client’s programs. All events I had booked for my clients this year were either canceled or rebooked for another year. It has been an emotional year to say the least, but I believe that we need live events and gatherings for real human connection to come back.
Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events?
I have begun having conversations with a few clients about hybrid events for 2021. It is a consideration to prepare for.
Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?
Unfortunately, I am not, I have a variety of clients from associations, corporate, and social gatherings and we are all hoping 2021 can be the comeback year.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
The future is bright. We have been in a dark period for some time, so the light is coming. I think the travel and tourism industry will rise back mid-to-late 2021, if not sooner. I will be there, excited to source hotel venues for my clients’ events and meetings, at no cost to them of course.