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Managing Vendor Payments and Refunds in the Age of Coronavirus

Liz Holtby, Meeting Escrow's Vice President, Operations, talks with Michael Shapiro at Northstar Meetings Group about how the Escrow process helps to protect future meeting investments in the era of COVID-19.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted the global face-to-face meetings industry, planners have spent a significant portion of their time cancelling or rescheduling meetings — and in many cases, chasing deposit funds that suppliers and venues no longer had at their disposal. As part of our coverage of contractual and financial solutions that might help protect future meetings investments, Northstar Meetings Group spoke with Liz Holtby, vice president of operations at Toronto-based Meeting Escrow, to learn how the firm applies the escrow process to meeting planning.

How do Meeting Escrow’s solutions work and what kind of protection do they offer?

Let's take our flagship service as an example, the Advance Deposit Escrow Protection solution, which is in demand right now. It protects client funds by putting the advance vendor deposits into escrow trust accounts, and they stay there until after the event takes place. It protects organizations by avoiding financial risk due to catastrophic events because the client is no longer loaning money to the supplier to guarantee future services. That said, they are still providing their guarantee by depositing 100 percent of the program value into the escrow trust account. A good analogy is the process of buying a house: You give your deposit to an attorney or lawyer who holds the funds in escrow trust until the sale is completed and then you get the keys.


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