FAU Hospitality Summit to Address Coronavirus Concerns for 2021


The immediate future of the hospitality industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be the focus of a summit hosted by the Florida Atlantic University College of Business this month. 

Peter Ricci, Ed.D., director of FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program, will moderate a panel discussion about hosting live meetings and events in 2021. The free webinar can be viewed at any time beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.

The hospitality industry is the largest private employer in Florida, with 1.1 million people working in the industry. It was decimated by the pandemic with estimates showing that about half of those workers were laid off or had hours reduced at the start of the outbreak. Venues that typically host conferences and other large gatherings saw that revenue dry up as organizers were forced to cancel or hold the events virtually, and while vaccines are nearing approval, they may not be widely available to the general population until later in 2021 or 2022, Ricci said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our industry more than any other crisis in history,” Ricci said. “No one wants to commit to putting people side by side and taking the blame if they get sick, and understandably so. Everyone is uncertain about the future for live meetings, events, conferences and exhibitions.”

To help understand the path forward, Ricci is gathering top officials from areas such as destination management, incentives, meetings and events, to specifically address the upcoming year.

“What is actually on the books?” he said. “What do they expect based on what they’re seeing right now? And what are the truthful and honest projections?”

The seven guest panelists are: Carla Eustache, owner of Style Perfect Events; Deidre Everdij, owner of Cream of The Crop Corporate Events; John Paladino, owner of Milestone Meetings; Steve O’Malley, enterprise vice president of Maritz Global Events; Marianne Schmidhofer, sustainability managing director of Find Your Purpose; Nancy Shaffer, CEO of BRAVO! Events; and Paul Van Deventer, CEO of Meeting Professionals International. 

To register and for more information, visit https://fau.libcal.com/event/7215571. To ask the panelists questions in advance, email hospitality@fau.edu.

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