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Mandalay_Mem_ROBYN BECK:AFP:Getty Images.jpg ROBYN BECK AFP: Getty Images

An Existential Threat to the Meetings Industry

Two years after the Mandalay Bay mass shooting, are event planners better able to protect their attendees, and themselves?

This week, lawyers for MGM Resorts International announced that the company will pay up to $800 million to settle lawsuits filed by the families of some of the victims of a 2017 mass shooting at a public event held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre happened two years ago this month, and although it was the deadliest event of its kind, with 59 deaths including the shooter, it is just one of several such incidents that have happened at large gatherings. In fact, the threat of gun violence in the U.S. is seen as so pervasive that several countries have issued travel alerts about visiting America.

Many who work in the meetings and events business are not taking a passive position regarding this issue. A recent article from the Event Leadership Institute describes gun violence as “an existential threat to the meetings and events industry: to the safety of our event attendees, the viability of the businesses that produce them, and the livelihoods of the people they employ.” The article references a letter signed by the CEOs of several meetings-industry companies, and contains a link to a petition calling on Congress to introduce gun safety measures.

Besides this, there are many other actions a meeting planner should be considering to ensure a safe environment for both their attendees and themselves. MeetingsNet’s guide to safer meetings, Do One Thing, is a good primer, while the upcoming Risk360 conference in NYC on November 14 will provide a full day of training in several aspects of event risk management, from on-site safety and developing an emergency plan to managing communications and contract language.

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