The risk and uncertainty posed by COVID-19 continue to challenge the global meetings industry. As planners look ahead to the time when groups can safely meet again, they are searching for ways to relieve the burden of that uncertainty. Meeting Escrow’s new Secure Vendor Program is a significant entry into the risk-management space, developed specifically to help meeting planners and suppliers move forward with mutual trust and confidence—even during a global pandemic.
Meeting suppliers (hotels, DMCs, event venues, cruise lines, and others) who join the Secure Vendor Program guarantee that they will use Meeting Escrow’s unique process for handling clients’ meeting deposits. This means, for example, that instead of deposits moving from client account to hotel account, they make a stop in a secure trust account, administered by Meeting Escrow, until program delivery. At that point, or as stated in the meeting contract terms, Meeting
Escrow wires the full amount to the hotel, DMC, or other suppliers. This strategy guarantees the security of the funds regardless of potential default by either party. Even outside of a pandemic situation, the escrow process protects both planner and supplier. Assuming a more risk-averse global meetings industry in the future, some organizations may even begin requiring planners to handle deposits in this way.
While financial risk management has always been part of meeting planning, the financial stability of meeting vendors now ranks higher on a planner’s list of potential cancellation concerns. Suppliers who join the Secure Vendor Program effectively eliminate this concern by agreeing that Meeting Escrow will hold 100 percent of the program budget in a trust account until the program concludes. This process gives meeting clients the assurance of maintaining ownership of their funds during the long runup to the meeting, while vendors are assured that the funds are there and ready to be delivered quickly once the meeting takes place.
Meeting Escrow brings clarity and confidence to one of the greatest risk management tasks meeting planners face—protecting their organizations’ financial investment. With membership in the new Secure Vendor Program, suppliers demonstrate that they recognize this benefit, allowing planners to enter contract negotiation with greater confidence and readiness to book.
Grant Snider, President & CEO of Meeting Escrow adds that “the Secure Vendor Program was the missing piece in our global development strategy. Our clients want their funds held in escrow, but there has been resistance from some suppliers who rely on client deposits to run their businesses. In the COVID-19 era, financial transparency, accountability, and due diligence are the new norm. We are proud to be helping the business events industry move through this crisis in a positive direction.”
Meeting Escrow’s mission is to simplify and secure meeting and event payments globally. Based in Toronto, Canada, the company offers streamlined payment solutions that include holding deposits in escrow until program delivery, serving as the single-payer to all meeting vendors, converting meeting budgets to foreign currencies upfront to avoid the impact of exchange rate volatility, reclaiming VAT, event cancellation insurance and more. Learn about the Secure Vendor Program and the company’s other services at www.meetingescrow.com