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A Fireside Chat with Destination Planner Michelle Rago [Recap & Video]

PartySlate Founder and CEO Julie Roth Novack sat down with Michelle Rago of Michelle Rago Destinations and PartySlate Managing Editor Pamela Rothbard to discuss the future of destination events, how to break into the field, and best practices to educate your clients during uncertain times.

The return of destination events is coming, but travel restrictions and safety protocols can create challenges. COVID-19 testing and vaccinations will be important considerations when it comes to how guests and vendors are traveling, especially to international destinations. Rago mentions that a new challenge for the industry is educating clients on health and safety precautions — and the idea that there may be new expenses incurred to uphold safety guidelines. 

She also mentions that the integration of technology in events is key going forward as we see an increase in hybrid events. 

Rago then discussed how event professionals can become comfortable with health and safety protocols, while also still achieving their art forms. She shared that it’s more important now than ever to design from creative solutions, especially when creating intimate environments. Rago recommends staying actively involved with all vendors to find the best solution to new challenges you might face. 

When asked for advice in getting started with planning destination events, Rago said it’s essential to embrace the culture and location. “Your success is embracing what’s unique about every single place that you go, and not just taking a paint brush over doing something the same way you do it in your own zip code,” Rago said.

Diversifying vendors and partners, considering sustainability by staying local to the location, and being wise enough to hire a trusted and experienced team will lead you to success. Rago has also found it important to do in-person site inspections and travel off-season to identify potential challenges at the destination. 

Until destination events are back in full swing, Rago has been working to strengthen her brand. She recommends staying focused on getting your business in order now by prioritizing projects, working on digital branding, optimizing contracts, and preparing for what’s to come. Rago said that the time is now to work hard on your relationships and your network.

PartySlate is here to help you optimize your PartySlate profile page. If you are interested in receiving a PartySlate profile review or the virtual gala resource guide, please email us.

You can watch the full digital event recording below or open the recording in YouTube.