Economist to Financial and Insurance Meeting Planners: Recovery Is Near

The economic crisis was still top of mind for financial and insurance meeting planners who attended Hyatt Hotels and Resorts' 2009 Insurance and Financial Business Exchange; however, leadership, motivation, and peak performance dominated the discussions during the two-day meeting. The annual event (formerly named the Hyatt Insurance and Financial Round Table) brought roughly 100 planners and suppliers together from July 23 to 25 at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort and Spa in Monterey, Calif., to network, participate in teambuilding activities, and attend educational sessions.

In a break from tradition, Hyatt replace the usual roundtable discussions with an opening general session that included keynote speakers Vince Lombardi Jr., who spoke about personal achievement and the habits of top performers, and economist Don Reynolds, who gave attendees a rundown of why the economy is in recession and when he expects to see a recovery.

Reynolds, who also spoke at Meeting Professionals International’s MeetDifferent conference in Atlanta in February, offered the group a more positive message than the one he had six months ago. Projecting some positive economic growth by the first quarter of next year, he said, “We’re not out of the woods yet, but it’s nice to know that we will be out of the woods.”

Both “the stock market and the financial and insurance meetings industry have been affected by a rapid shift in perception,” added Reynolds. And just as the stock market will rebound, “there is going to be a point when the people you report to are going to shift their perception of meetings and travel,” he told the planners in attendance.

Attendees chose from a number of breakout sessions on such topics as greening their meetings, leadership, and event security. Teambuilding activities included a scavenger hunt around Monterey’s Cannery Row and a visit to the Monterey Aquarium, after which the group was treated to a dinner and wine-tasting at the Château Julien Vineyard in Carmel, Calif.