From Florida to Bangkok and TONS in between . . . Robyn Davis, CEO of Global Eventures, has planned countless successful meetings and incentive trips for various corporate industries since 2002.
In addition, she offers complimentary vacation planning services for her leisure clients. She is known for her tireless work ethic, drive to exceed her customers’ expectations and attention to all the details. Her philosophy is that there is always a solution and the easy way is not always the best way.
As a senior third party planner, Robyn has managed meetings and incentive trips for Fortune 500 companies in a wide array of industries, such as automotive, financial, insurance, pharmaceutical, technology, service industries and more, for almost two decades. Some of her incentive programs have been recognized by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA).
Robyn is a Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) who coaches companies regarding best incentive practices for both dealers / customers and internal employees. Creating incentives that work is her expertise!
As a mom to two beautiful children, it is Robyn’s goal to teach that with hard work, strong ethics and passion for what you do, anything is possible! As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:16] Lee Kantor here. Another episode of GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. And this is going to be a fun one. I have with me today Robyn Davis. And she is with Global Eventures. Welcome.
Robyn Davis: [00:00:31] Thank you so much. I really appreciate being on the show today.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:35] Well, Robyn, before we get too far into things, tell us about Global Eventures. How are you serving folks?
Robyn Davis: [00:00:42] Sure. Global Eventures is a full-service corporate meetings and incentives planning agency. We do everything from inception to operation, hotel contracting, all of the logistics for a meeting or incentive trip worldwide. We staff it, we operate it, and we make our clients look fantastic. And we also allow our clients the time to work on the nitty gritty and the guts of the meeting while we do all the logistics. And then, in addition to that, we have a second side to our business where we offer a complimentary vacation planning services for individuals and families.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:26] And that’s kind of an add-on value add for the people that you work with to offer to their employees and their people that are important to them?
Robyn Davis: [00:01:34] For anybody. So, that example would be, on one side, if we were doing an incentive trip for a company, if all of those winners wanted to extend, say, the incentive trip is in Europe, and they’d like to go visit other areas of Europe besides where the trip is going, we can assist with that, and that’s complimentary to them, or it doesn’t have to be involved with a corporation at all. It could be just the family that wants to go on a vacation.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:04] Oh, wow! So, you’re B2B and B2C, kind Kind of?
Robyn Davis: [00:02:09] We are. We’re all things travel.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:12] Now that we’re going through this tough time with the coronavirus, I’m sure that’s impacted your business in terms of lots and lots of people aren’t traveling as much. But on the flip side, I would imagine there’s a lot of opportunity because prices probably can’t get any much lower for travel today.
Robyn Davis: [00:02:30] Yeah, it’s definitely been interesting. I was in this business through 9/11, and the most recent reports that I saw is that our industry has been impacted eight times more than 9/11 if that tells you anything with the coronavirus. Currently, we have really just been assisting our clients with their cancellations. Some have been because they wanted to cancel. Most have been has their trips have been canceled on them with all the restrictions and the cruise line shutting down and whatnot. And one thing that I built Global Eventures on was ethics and the notion that our clients are more important to us than our P&L statements. So, we have been working tirelessly to assist all of our clients to make the outcome the best for them, knowing that our clients are struggling financially in their lives as well, and they had a lot of money tied up into these trips. So, we have been basically working for free because it’s important to us that our clients come first.
Robyn Davis: [00:03:40] And our hope is, is that when all of this is over and people are ready to travel again, they will come back to us because we did the right thing and we were there for them. And we we were the ones that were waiting on the phone for hours. I literally sat on the phone two and a half hours waiting for a travel operator to assist me with a client yesterday. So, yes, there are definitely deals out there. I don’t know that they’re as prevalent yet because most of our travel operators are also trying to figure things out right now. But I estimate that when the industry does start to turn around on the leisure side that the deals will be there.
Robyn Davis: [00:04:27] Now, on the flip side, with the corporate side of things, the hotels are hungry for business. So, now is definitely the time to start getting your room block contracts going. And what I didn’t mention also is that Global Eventures also does hotel contracting and site selection for free. We don’t charge for that service. And I urge any companies out there to look into the future of 2021 and 2022 or beyond to contact us right away. We have the bandwidth. We’re here for you and are ready to start negotiating and helping you find the best venue for that face-to-face meeting in the future.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:13] And that’s something, I think we all agree that when this thing passes, which we know it will, face-to-face interacting is not going anywhere. I mean, we might tolerate some of these virtual meetings, but I think humans prefer meeting face-to-face if they can.
Robyn Davis: [00:05:35] I think so. I personally have been on many of those Zoom calls, and virtual meetings, and virtual trade shows as of late. And what I’m noticing is that I’m half listening. I mean, to be completely blind, I’m doing other things. I’ve got my kids here. I’m answering emails. I’m doing so many things other than paying attention to the information that’s being presented; whereas, when you are face-to-face, you’re able to disconnect from your other life to be able to be present and really focus on the mission at hand.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:18] Right, I agree. I think that it’s kind of like what happens with social media and the media, in general, is that people are kind of maybe they’re consuming more of it, but they’re not as engaged, and they’re more distracted. Like, my kid watches a movie while on his phone with his laptop open. Like he’s not all in on one thing; where face-to-face, it kind of forces you to be all in that interaction and really get the most out of that time together rather than multitasking.
Robyn Davis: [00:06:52] Right. I totally agree. And I think that it’s important for the team aspect of companies as well. You work better as a team. It’s obvious, we know this, we start that at a very young age. My kindergartner does group projects at school. So, that team building aspect of it really is important too and it’s memorable as well. I don’t necessarily remember every Zoom meeting that I’ve been on, but I remember if I went to a hotel, and I went to a conference, all of the experiences that happened there because experience really is everything.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:31] Right, because that’s touching more of your senses simultaneously. There are smells, and sights, and sounds, and tastes; whereas, a Zoom meeting, they all kind of run together. It’s hard to remember one over another.
Robyn Davis: [00:07:45] One hundred percent.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:47] So, now, how has GWBC helped you? Have you been active in the group for very long?
Robyn Davis: [00:07:55] Well, interestingly enough, I just got my GWBC certification just as this pandemic started. So, I haven’t really had the opportunity to get as involved as I wanted to because I’m in damage control, but I really do look forward to the interaction with the other women business owners and taking full advantage of everything that it has to offer.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:23] Now, as part of your role as a travel professional, are you able to kind of, at least, have conversations with companies now? Are their heads down, they’re not even open to talking about this just yet, that this isn’t a priority right now?
Robyn Davis: [00:08:40] I really, honestly, have not reached out to companies because I think that they are also just struggling to figure things out right now. And I almost feel like it’s a disservice to try and sell my services at this point because I think people or companies are really just trying to figure out how to to keep salaries and keep employees employed. But I do want to get the message out there that I am here for all of my clients and future clients, and we will bend over backwards to do whatever we can to assist you.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:21] And then, that might be also just making them aware, like you said earlier, about these hotels are hungry for business. And if they have plans to be putting on a conference, or doing some travel, or retreats, or anything like that in the next year or two, it might be worth having a conversation just to know what’s out there and what deals can be done.
Robyn Davis: [00:09:43] Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:45] Now, for you, tell us how you got into this line of work. What was the impetus to start Global Eventures?
Robyn Davis: [00:09:54] Sure. Well, I started my career with a fixed third party company that used to be here in Atlanta, that’s no longer here. I started there in 2002. So, like I said, right after 9/11. And I didn’t even know about this industry at the time. I had worked at a hotel at one point. I ran a youth program at one point. I’m a graduate at the University of Georgia, always been a planner. I was the one in my group of friends who always planned everything for everybody. And I worked my way up at this company and started as an account coordinator, which was great because I really learned from the bottom up. I learned about the logistics of taking care of customers, my customer service for all the attendees of meeting. I did all the the quality control of rooming lists and managed databases. So, I really got to learn the nickel side of meeting planning, and then was promoted into an account manager role.
Robyn Davis: [00:10:54] I was a certified meeting planner at one point. Long story, but I had kids. I took a small break, and it lapsed. But that’s going to come back again. And I was very involved in Meeting Planners International and different organizations. Won of few great industry awards, got the opportunity to plan corporate meetings all over the world as far as Thailand and Cambodia. And then, like I said, I took a small break, got married, had children, and realized pretty quickly that being a stay-at-home mom was not for me because I need to create. It’s actually funny because I was putting all my energies into my kids’ birthday parties and to the point where they were becoming like corporate incentive trip events and other parents were getting a little bit overwhelmed by them.
Robyn Davis: [00:11:48] So, I looked at my husband and said, “Okay, the kids are in school, I need to do something.” So, for a year, I learned the leisure side of the business by working with another travel agency that a cousin of mine who’s been a travel agent for 30 plus years was involved with. And I got to learn that as a business. After doing it for a year, I realized that with more technology and more streamlined processes that it would go a lot more smoothly. This agency was owned by women that were a little more old school in their 70s, have been doing this a very long time. Well, I bit the bullet. I started Global Eventures, and I created the technology with database management and created relationships with tons of travel suppliers and really studied up to know that side of the business.
Robyn Davis: [00:12:48] And for the first year, we focused strictly on the leisure. And then the second year, I was ready to get back into the corporate meetings and incentives and realized very quickly that I could do everything that I did for that very large third party company. I could do that on my own by using 1099s and contracts with businesses and basically just doing all the project management that I did when I was at the other company.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:15] Well, congratulations on the success that you’ve had in growing Global Eventures. And the first few years are the hardest years. And this pandemic will pass. And I’m sure that you’re going to get busy again as soon as people feel confident and safe traveling again. So, it sounds like you built a really strong foundation and infrastructure, and you have the right philosophy to run a successful business. So, hang in there.
Robyn Davis: [00:13:41] Thank you so much. We’re here when everybody’s ready. We’re not going anywhere, so-
Lee Kantor: [00:13:47] And then, what’s the-.
Robyn Davis: [00:13:47] If anybody has any need, I’m here for you.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:50] And what’s the website if people want to go and check out your website and learn more about Global Eventures?
Robyn Davis: [00:13:56] So, we actually have two. It’s www.global-eventures.com or www.gemeetingsandincentives.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:15] Well, Robyn, thank you so much for sharing your story today.
Robyn Davis: [00:14:19] Thank you so much for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:21] All right. This is-
Robyn Davis: [00:14:21] Good luck to you.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:22] Well, thank you. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC Radio.
About Your Host
Roz Lewis is President & CEO – Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a member of the WBENC Board of Directors.
Previous career roles at Delta Air Lines included Flight Attendant, In-Flight Supervisor and Program Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity.
During her career she has received numerous awards and accolades. Most notable: Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion award; 2017 inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and 2010 – Women Out Front Award from Georgia Tech University.
She has written and been featured in articles on GWBC® and supplier diversity for Forbes Magazine SE, Minority Business Enterprise, The Atlanta Tribune, WE- USA, Minorities and Women in Business magazines. Her quotes are published in The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business book by Susan Wilson Solovic and Guide Coaching by Ellen M. Dotts, Monique A. Honaman and Stacy L. Sollenberger. Recently, she appeared on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s BIZ on 11Alive, WXIA to talk about the importance of mentoring for women.
In 2010, Lewis was invited to the White House for Council on Women and Girls Entrepreneur Conference for the announcement of the Small Business Administration (SBA) new Women Owned Small Business Rule approved by Congress. In 2014, she was invited to the White House to participate in sessions on small business priorities and the Affordable Care Act.
Roz Lewis received her BS degree from Florida International University, Miami, FL and has the following training/certifications: Certified Purchasing Managers (CPM); Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management (ISM)of Supplier Diversity and Procurement: Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta (DLAA), Negotiations, Supply Management Strategies and Analytical Purchasing.
Connect with Roz on LinkedIn.
The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®) is at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises (WBEs). An increasing focus on supplier diversity means major corporations are viewing our WBEs as innovative, flexible and competitive solutions. The number of women-owned businesses is rising to reflect an increasingly diverse consumer base of women making a majority of buying decision for herself, her family and her business.
GWBC® has partnered with dozens of major companies who are committed to providing a sustainable foundation through our guiding principles to bring education, training and the standardization of national certification to women businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.