Associated Luxury Hotels International recently announced Silvia Zamora, CMP, CMM, as its new vice president of meeting design and experience. She has over 25 years of experience in the meetings and events industry, with positions at inVentiv Heath, Global Enterprises, and most recently as director of event operations at Virtuoso Travel. As she steps into the spotlight designing events for ALHI, we asked her a few questions about her experience and the challenges ahead.
MeetingsNet: Looking back over your career, what have you learned about attendees and event design that you didn’t know when you started?
Silvia Zamora: When I first started as an event coordinator, I saw attendees as a mass number of people that I was taking care of and thought of them in terms of badges, giveaway items, accommodations, and the size of vehicles to transfer them. As I developed and progressed in my career, I built personal relationships with the attendees and began to recognize each as an individual with different needs and expectations. Understanding attendee needs provides a sort of “canvas” in the design of an event. Whether it’s the format or location of an event, the gifts given, or the content delivered, every piece should be considered with the attendee in mind.
MeetingsNet: It’s not enough to just meet anymore. Whether virtual or in person, engagement and return on experience is a must. What is most challenging about delivering those results?
Zamora: I was just speaking with my team about this yesterday as we plan for 2022 and beyond. Recognizing that resources are limited as we emerge from a global pandemic is important. There is a challenge to review systems that were in place pre-pandemic to determine if they will serve us well for the future. Recently, I’ve been collaborating with colleagues to review the communications, processes, and protocols to determine where adjustments might be needed. I would advise anyone leading events to do this. You may find that once you strip away any clunky parts and streamline elements where needed, that will have a positive effect on the attendees’ experience, as well as your team’s.
MeetingsNet: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Zamora: During the pandemic, I heard the Winston Churchill quote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” I decided to use the unusual time to tackle some of the things on my “bucket list.” Two items on that list were learning to ride a motorcycle and learning to play drums. I earned my motorcycle license earlier this year and plan to start my drum lessons next month. Additionally, I am so excited to travel the world again for musical concerts. Live music really feeds my soul. For years I have attended Austin City Limits Fest in my hometown of Austin, Texas; Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas; and The New Orleans Jazz Fest. My first music festival since the pandemic will be Railbird Fest in Lexington, Ky., next month.