It’s been a slow year for conference-housing services, but as the vaccine rollout continues, there’s hope that the situation will change dramatically. ConferenceDirect is one company staffing up for events to come, recently hiring Kathy Rasmussen as vice president of housing. Before joining ConferenceDirect, Rasmussen had a long career with Experient and later with Maritz Global Events, most recently serving as its director of housing.
We recently asked Rasmussen for some thoughts on the conference-housing landscape.
MeetingsNet: What do meeting hosts typically misunderstand about the conference housing process?
Rasmussen: They often don’t understand the process of getting a housing website open. It’s not just building a site; there’s also all the operational processes that go into launching the housing site. The housing team goes through the process of reviewing the contracts, then loading the hotels, inventory, and much more into the system. The team then goes through a quality-control process prior to launching the site. There is a lot more that goes into opening housing than meets the eye.
MeetingsNet: Five years from now, what won’t we be doing in conference housing that we’re doing today?
Rasmussen: I think the question is what will we be doing that we aren’t doing today. Today, we are seeing the return of housing for both hybrid and in-person events. Within the last 30 days, we’ve launched quite a few events, and we are seeing room pick-up—30 to 40 percent within the first few weeks of opening the housing website. And I had one event sell out the first day. I anticipate that in five years we will still be seeing hybrid events, but conference housing will be back in full force.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Rasmussen: I love to try one new thing each year. A few years ago, I tried ziplining for the first time and fell in love with it. I have been ziplining several times since.