Welcome to the latest edition in my ‘Inspirational Women’ blog series; where I showcase the incredible women making waves in our industry and inspiring me and others every day with their achievements and approach to the industry.
Where do you look for inspiration when planning an event or searching for a fantastic venue? There are plenty of people who can TELL you about the venue, often lots of photographs online, and of course the option for a site visit if time permits, but Sabrina Meyers noticed something was missing. A platform where event professionals could actually visualise an event space, venue and city, all from an event planner’s perspective; with the answers you really need to the questions we all have when we’re hosting a new event in a new place.
Just this afternoon I’ve been catching up on Sabrina’s Instagram stories as she’s just landed in Stockholm for a MICE event. She’s guided me through the arrival process with top tips from airport transfers to the best coffee and cake in the local area. Because yes we need to know how to get our delegates from A to B, but need to know how to fuel the #eventprofs lifestyle too!
After noticing this ‘gap in the market’ for event industry information and influencing, she decided to harness the words of Gandhi who once said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ and go ahead and set up ‘Hot Hospitality Exchange;’ a youtube channel for event organisers to show her ‘exploring hotels, venues, shows and destinations around the globe from an event planner’s perspective.’
This is all alongside running her Event Management company ‘Orchid Lily Events;’ which creates events on all scales for clients across the globe, fusing her love for travel, food, hotels and culture and drawing on her incredible insider knowledge on the hottest venues and experiences (she also speaks 5 languages!) to create successful events. Not to mention she’s a proud working mother, with one of her greatest achievements being her son. I’m totally inspired by everything Sabrina has created and her passion and energy for the industry, so couldn’t wait to hear more from her about her background, experience and thoughts on what it means to be a female in the events industry today!
Can you tell me how you found your way into the events industry?
I’ve been exposed to the world of hotels and events since I was very young as my family travelled a lot and they also believed in celebrating everything so from a very early age, I was planning all kinds of parties and social occasions on a personal level. On a professional level, I got into hospitality sales in Sydney as Sales Coordinator for Sheraton on the Park Hotel after finishing my Bachelors’ degree and Masters degree. I knew this was the world I was meant to be in. 5 years later and after working for Hilton and Leading Hotels of The World, I got my start ‘on the other side’ in the world of events when I opened the London office for a start-up full service agency in London called Life in Motion Group. And I’ve been working in events ever since with different agencies and independently.
Despite being a female-dominated industry, there are fewer women taking senior and boardroom positions- where do you think we stand today with the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in the world of events?
There needs to be a change in how women fundamentally think in order to see a change here not just in our industry but in general. It’s definitely happening as we have come a long way since we first heard about the ‘glass ceiling’. Women are more empowered and breaking so many moulds across all industries. Personally, in the industry, I’ve been blessed to have only experienced women supporting women. Together we’re getting more confident to try new things and break barriers because we have the support of each other so the only way is up. The more women that push against the grain and break these barriers, the more other women are inspired to do the same.
What’s the motivation behind your platform Hot Hospitality Exchange?
Hot Hospitality Exchange originated from two situations. Firstly, I love social media and the incredible opportunities and possibilities it offers personally and professionally. I also love YouTube and was looking to follow and subscribe to someone like me, an events professional who maybe had a daily vlog or content on their experiences however there wasn’t anyone despite my searches. I felt that was odd given how many of us there are globally and YouTube being the largest platform in the world for content. So I decided to become that person launching it firstly as a Youtube Channel. Now it’s evolved to being active and present on YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Secondly, I wanted to share my experiences and information in a way that was public and easily accessible to fellow event planners like myself. For example, an event planner in Singapore might not be able to fly to London to do a site inspection or check out venues BUT they can watch one of my vlogs or see my Instagram posts and the information could prove useful both for the planner and also for the venue in terms of exposure. I think it’s ironic how we are quite possibly the most social industry there is but so behind when it comes to using social media for MICE awareness, promotion and engagement collectively.
My aim is to work with hotels, venues and destinations on how social media platforms can effectively be used to promote MICE and how it can be such a powerful channel to share, interact, connect and engage with their desired audience globally.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I recently heard that the people around you are the ‘influencers’ of your life and this can be your friends, your family, your colleagues and people you follow and look up like personalities and celebrities. And I truly agree with that saying as for me, it has been a mix of different people that have come into my life. I am inspired by so many incredible women I have met both through friendships and work, also my son who is relentless and doesn’t give up when he wants something so there’s definitely a lesson to be learnt from that! Everyone has their own wisdom to impart so inspiration is really everywhere – just gotta open your eyes and see it.
3 top tips for aspiring event professionals?
- Be nice. A smile never hurt anybody and being kind is free. Be the first to start a conversation and engage with people because you’ll meet a lot of people in your career and you want to cultivate great relationships and be part of a bigger community – your tribe.
- Be the change you want to see in the world. A famous saying which is very broad but make it your own. I wanted to see a change online in our industry so I became the first to change it. Sometimes you have to be the one to make something happen which might provide a catalyst for change.
- Learning is always by doing. It’s a hands on approach in our industry and the only way to fully learn and immerse yourself in it is to get your hands dirty and dive in. Whether it’s volunteering, interning and/or taking on additional responsibility and pushing yourself, find those opportunities to ‘do’ cause every time you learn, it opens up new opportunities of how you can apply yourself.
So next time you’re thinking about exploring a new city for an event, why not check our Sabrina’s youtube channel? She has some fantastic, practical and helpful content there and is someone I love to follow on social media to see what she’s up to and learn from her experiences.