Skål International USA continues its highly successful Educational Webinar Series
2020 featured executive from major Tourism Association - 2021 offers even more.
When the Skål International USA Executive Committee met up for their first meeting of 2020 in New Orleans, they kicked around a variety of ideas on how they could best engage the membership and came up with the idea of a webinar, just beginning to be used by the industry.
They decided to put together a series of executive educational webinars featuring tourism NGO chief executives and asked Skål International Washington DC member Roger Dow, President and CEO of US Travel Association, to kick off the series in late March. Little did they know how much the world would change in the next few months before that webinar took place, and their prescience put Skål International USA in the perfect position to fulfill their mission of providing maximum networking opportunities, career development, and business growth through leadership, trust, and friendship while supporting a responsible travel industry across all sectors of Tourism, at just the right time.
“A Conversation with Roger Dow” took place on March 26, 2020, and the timing was ideal. The majority of the country had just shut down due to the pandemic, and to have an opportunity to speak with the chief advocate of the travel industry and fellow Skålleague from Skål International Washington DC at the beginning of the most challenging time our industry has ever faced was extremely well received. Over 150 people from around the world logged in, and the Skål International USA Education Webinar Series was born. With the help of Skål International USA President Dave Ryan, VP Communications Tom Moulton, and the executive committee, the Skål International USA team hosted at least one or two webinars a month for the rest of the year, offering members a total of 16 webinars in 2020. “The level of professionalism within the Tourism community came together and Skål International USA provided the outlet for our members and other Tourism leaders to learn and interact with these unique leaders", said Moulton. "In return, we were able to make informed decisions which positively assisted Skål International USA clubs and their companies We provided friendship and familiarity with these global leaders“.
Skål International USA’s Director of Membership Morgan Maravich had volunteered to reach out to Roger back in January when the idea first came up and had taken the lead putting it all together as she had experience with webinars, content development and speaker prep to draw on, so she was a natural to take the reins of the project going forward, and still drives the project today. “The goal with these webinars is to provide relevant content to our membership to help them with up-to-date information, trends, and leading industry information from across all sectors”, says Maravich.
The series continues to gain steam in 2021 as Skål International USA has already hosted several successful webinars focused on continuing education, sharing ideas about how different clubs were getting creative with their meetings during the pandemic, and an interactive conversation with the CEO of Tourism Cares.
Skål International members come from all aspects of the travel industry, and participants log in from around the world, so Morgan makes sure she finds a variety of speakers to offer something for everyone. “I choose the speakers based on what is going on in the industry”, she says. “For example, with meetings and events going virtual, hybrid, and even some in-person, we have David DuBois, President & CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) talking about this side of the industry on March 31st. He’ll also address the changes people will see when they attend a conference or exhibition”. Pauline Frommer, Editorial Director of Frommer's Guidebooks followed on April 14th sharing what changes she's seeing in the market and other issues that will likely shape travel going forward.
There are a slew of well-known panelists scheduled for the rest of the year sharing their expertise with the members and taking the time to answer questions. “Our goal is for every Skålleague in attendance on the webinar to take away one nugget of information that they can use or share as well as a new resource in the industry on the topic and that’s the success of the series”. All webinars are free and open to the public and are archived afterwards on Skål International USA’s website and their YouTube page.
In addition to the webinars, Morgan was looking for more ways to further engage Skål International USA members who tend to be active on social media and has begun hosting a Facebook Live Series the first Monday of every month. “This series allows us to directly engage with the members all across the USA and the world and allow for real time questions. These serve as a great connection point as we start to get back to work and business picks up. The broadcast then lives on the page so even if you miss it live, you can watch it at your convenience”.
The Facebook Live Series will showcase what Skål International USA is up to, provide the membership with updates on everything from membership to what’s happening internationally and feature various clubs. You can tune into the Series the first Monday of every month at 3 pm EST.
Skål International USA continues to strive for ways to engage with the membership on a regular basis and offer members a variety of opportunities to learn, discuss, question and network and would love to welcome you to the conversation.