Published On: Wed, Dec 2nd, 2020

FAU Hospitality Summit to Address Coronavirus Concerns for 2021

Seven Guest Panelists Will Discuss Business Impact of Historic Crisis  

Boca Raton, FL – The immediate future of the hospitality industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be the focus of a summit hosted by the Florida Atlantic University College of Business this month. 

Peter Ricci, Ed.D., director of FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program, will moderate a panel discussion about hosting live meetings and events in 2021. The free webinar can be viewed at any time beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. 

The hospitality industry is the largest private employer in Florida, with 1.1 million people working in the industry. It was decimated by the pandemic with estimates showing that about half of those workers were laid off or had hours reduced at the start of the outbreak. Venues that typically host conferences and other large gatherings saw that revenue dry up as organizers were forced to cancel or hold the events virtually, and while vaccines are nearing approval, they may not be widely available to the general population until later in 2021 or 2022, Ricci said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our industry more than any other crisis in history,” Ricci said. “No one wants to commit to putting people side by side and taking the blame if they get sick, and understandably so. Everyone is uncertain about the future for live meetings, events, conferences and exhibitions.”

To help understand the path forward, Ricci is gathering top officials from areas such as destination management, incentives, meetings and events, to specifically address the upcoming year.

“What is actually on the books?” he said. “What do they expect based on what they’re seeing right now? And what are the truthful and honest projections?”

The seven guest panelists are: Carla Eustache, owner of Style Perfect Events; Deidre Everdij, owner of Cream of The Crop Corporate Events; John Paladino, owner of Milestone Meetings; Steve O’Malley, enterprise vice president of Maritz Global Events; Marianne Schmidhofer, sustainability managing director of Find Your Purpose; Nancy Shaffer, CEO of BRAVO! Events; and Paul Van Deventer, CEO of Meeting Professionals International.  

To register and for more information, visit To ask the panelists questions in advance, email [email protected].

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit 

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