We're part of Meeting Escrow's new secure vendor program

The risk and uncertainty posed by COVID-19 continues 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.

Welcome Italy and Welcome Swiss has joined the Meeting Escrow Secure Vendor Program, guaranteeing that we will use Meeting Escrow’s unique process for handling our clients’ meeting deposits. This means, for example, that instead of deposits moving from our client’s account to a 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 us (the DMC), the hotel, or other supplier.

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 organisations 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. By joining the Secure Vendor Program we 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 run up to the meeting, while we 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 organisations’ financial investment. With membership in the new Secure Vendor Program, we can demonstrate that we recognise this benefit, allowing our clients to enter contract negotiation with greater confidence and readiness to book.