Meeting Professional To Watch: Warren Isenhour

Warren D. Isenhour, President

Isenhour International

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 

 

Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?

I have fifteen years in the industry working with a myriad of clients and events.  I began in sports management and transitioned over to an independent meeting planner seven years ago.  Since then my agency has group to a team of four representing close to 40 client groups.

What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?

I decided to take my skill sets learned in the sports arena and pair those with experiences I began generating on the meetings side.  Prior to starting my agency, I worked on various conventions and meetings for organizations I was affiliated with.  I enjoyed the relationship driven nature of the industry, the satisfaction in putting on events for large volume attendees, and the travel and tourism nature of the industry.

 What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?

The Alpha Phi Alpha Southern Region Convention and 50th anniversary honoring of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 2018 in Memphis, Tenn.  We were bridging multiple events together in the city, dealing with numerous high profile individuals, and the historic and significant nature of the event.

What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?

Building relationships and friendships with so many people.  Getting to meet new industry colleagues, build connections, and see the satisfaction of attendees and venue staff with a job well done.

How has COVID-19 affected you personally?

Personally, I have been fortunate no issues on the health side regarding my family and I.  However, the business and economic side has been a disaster.  My agency lost all client bookings from February until very recently.  And even with a few recent bookings we are still seeing high volumes of cancellations well into 2021.  It has caused us to begin looking at diversifying revenue to other streams of business.

Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?

We have several clients we are working with who have gone virtual.  My thoughts on hybrid/virtual is that they are currently a necessity but hopefully not a long term solution.  Sitting behind a screen is not a replacement for the relationships built over live meetings.  You cannot achieve the same results virtually that you can when interacting with people in a business and personal nature.

Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?

We executed an in-person event the last weekend of August and had scheduled several for this fall.

What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?

I think the future is two-fold.  I think the immediate future is bleak, and we will see the after effects of COVID-19 for some time.  It will definitely result in a slow return to ‘normalcy’ for the industry.  However, I think on the back end of this we will see a strong resurgence of the industry as people thrive to meet again, in person.

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