Make Meetings Meaningful Again Through Sustainable Practices

Sustainable initiatives are at the forefront of meeting planners’ minds. Give back to the community and the environment to create a meaningful experience for attendees.

Given the events of the past year, meeting planners and travelers have become more conscious of our impact on the world. As planners and their clients adopt more socially-conscious mindsets, it’s important to incorporate sustainable tourism practices to provide meaningful experiences for attendees.

PromoLeaf survey of event attendees conducted by Censuswide found that 85 percent of respondents prefer or strongly prefer attending conferences with sustainable practices. And, according to Skift, 58 percent of consumers say that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused them to think more about the environment. As sustainable initiatives come to the forefront, it’s important to feature them while maximizing your resources and elevating your events.

Environment-friendly meetings:

Make your meeting/event as climate-friendly as possible. Many venues and hotels are beginning to provide more eco-friendly practices to attract eco-conscious meeting planners. Choose venues and lodging options that have sustainable practices in place (recycling, limited water waste, etc.), reduced carbon footprint initiatives and/or are LEED-certified. You can also go “paperless” by using apps and different forms of technology during an event.

Leave the community better off than when you arrived:

Incorporate excursions/team building/programming that encourages responsible travel and sustainable tourism. Examples include going into a community to rebuild a playground or providing your attendees with an authentic farm-to-table dinner experience with homegrown/sustainable ingredients. Another example is participating in “voluntourism” activities, such as working at a food pantry or with another non-profit that allows attendees to get involved with the community while they are visiting.

A study by Destination Analysis revealed that nearly 43 percent of travelers say that climate change has already impacted their travel decision-making in the last five years, and 21.5 percent say that climate change will have a significant impact on their travel in the years to come. Incorporating sustainable practices into MICE tourism will help bring us closer together, create empathy/meaningful experiences and involve social stakeholders in professional meetings. Working toward this will make any destination appealing for sustainable MICE travel.

Discover Puerto Rico is a not-for-profit destination marketing organization (DMO) whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination by collaboratively promoting the island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure and business travel and events. The Puerto Rico Convention Center features more than 20,000 solar panels and programmable LED lighting, producing approximately 750,000KWhr/Month, which is equivalent to CO2 produced by 8,770 trees grown for 10 years.

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