How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?
Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, we quickly created a working document of all our live events and included cancellation terms, Force Majeure language (which many of our addendum to contracts had “public health threat” and/or “pandemic” listed in our FM language) and reached out to our hotel partners to cancel and/or move the program dates. The main thing we tried to keep in mind is this had to be a partnership and we had to do our absolute best to work with our hotel partners and rebook as much as we could. Those relationships helped us so much through this process as one thing that we noticed very quickly was that we had no clue has to when live events could happen again so we worked with our hotel partners to give us until the end of 2020 to rebook certain events for 2021, 2022, or in some cases in 2023. This eliminated us having to rebook many programs several different times and we could be more certain about the new dates we were booking.
Another key takeaway from this pandemic is that there is a lot of value in not only having great relationships with your sales managers or NSO but at a property or chain level as well. Because of the many layoffs or furloughs in our industry, we were not able to work with the people we were used to on several occasions. The relationships we have created at specific properties and/or chains over the years made it very easy to do business with anyone from those locations because they were familiar with our company and our groups. We also have a sense of urgency of getting those employees at those properties back to work as we have gotten to know so many of the team members.
This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where we celebrate the positivity and optimism shown by planners across the industry when navigating the turbulent waters that COVID-19 has brought to the meetings and events industry. Keep an eye out as we release more stories like this over the next few months.