Meet Our Partner: Meeting Escrow

BestCities Global Alliance, the network of 12 premier international convention bureaus, is launching a range of client financial benefits, thanks to an innovative new partnership with payment solution company, Meeting Escrow.

We talk to Cynthia Connelly, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Meeting Escrow about the partnership and how it will benefit international associations.

Can you tell us what Meeting Escrow does and your own background?

Meeting Escrow provides financial services to the global Meetings Industry through our multi-currency, in-trust account system.   We simplify and streamline vendor payment, protect budgets against currency fluctuations and eliminate the risk of losing deposits should a vendor face business interruption. 

I joined Meeting Escrow in January 2019 as Vice President, Sales & Marketing following a successful career with Accor/Fairmont Hotels as Global Sales Director and nmost recently, Executive Director, Hotel Openings & Integration.  Over my career I’ve gained extensive project management experience supporting world-class incentive programs and international events, such as the Commonwealth Games and multiple corporate incentive programs in the hi-tech sector. 

In your opinion what are biggest financial challenges associations face when organising events globally, also bearing in mind that meetings are often confirmed years in advance?

I think the only certainty right now is that we live in a period of global economic uncertainty.  Just look at the tumultuous few years we have seen in US-China trade relations, US/Canada/Mexico trade relations, and the EU/UK Brexit saga.  And this isn’t even factoring in the ongoing reality of targeted acts of terrorism.  This instability creates a multitude of challenges facing any organization planning and organizing global events several years in the future: inflation/recession, changing VAT regulations, local occupancy taxes, currency fluctuations, just to name a few. 

From your experience do you see that associations plan adequately to face these challenges?

We can’t predict the future, but we can and should do our best to prepare and protect our organizations for the most likely scenarios.  While most associations have done a good job at developing an overall physical risk management strategy, many have not focused on the financial risks involved in meeting internationally.  A good plan should include event cancellation & liability insurance, foreign currency hedging, advance planning for VAT recovery and staying current on local tax regulations. 

How do you feel the partnership with BestCities will benefit associations who organise events globally?

Our partnership with BestCities is a world first for a multi-destination alliance. It’s a strategic collaboration that equipes BestCities with a competitive advantage and market differentiation, by aiming to address key challenges faced by clients when planning events globally across currencies.

First off, our partnership with BestCities will benefit their clients with a 50% discount on Meeting Escrow’s fees for three years.  This is an amazing opportunity as we normally don’t provide discounts. 

Second, for clients meeting in one of the BestCities’ wonderful destinations, we can eliminate foreign exchange risk by opening a trust account in the destination’s currency on behalf of the association.  From that account, we can pay all the local vendors in the correct currency.

Third, we will assist with planning for VAT tax recovery well in advance of their event and will coordinate the claim afterwards to ensure a speedy refund. 

We are very excited to talk to BestCities clients who are looking to solve some of their financial challenges with organizing events globally. 

Want to find out how this could benefit your association? 

Contact Cynthia Connelly
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Meeting Escrow, Inc
[email protected]
+1 647-799-0465

Are you attending IMEX Frankfurt 2019?

Grant Snider, CEO of Meeting Escrow will be joining our ‘Share and Gain’ Event and Dinner on Tuesday 21 May where he will facilitate a table on VAT and conference financing. To register for the dinner and find out about all our activities at IMEX Frankfurt please click here.