It’s inevitable that the Coronavirus is crossing paths with you one way or another. Hopefully it’s not in terms contracting the virus, but more so tampering with an event you or someone you know was attending. Each day we’re hearing more and more about major events being canceled or postponed. Though this might not hit their business directly, there’s a good chance it’s hitting someone you work with, or even more so, someone you work for.
How do you sit down and let a client know that the event that they were spending so much effort and money on is not going to happen. They might have been major players or proudly setting up a booth. Either way, it’s not happen. Here’s some things to consider.
Event promoters aren’t dumb. They’re prepared for the worst in most cases. Contracts are written in a way to make sure they are covered for any disaster. But even so, most likely they are announcing the event will be postponed to save themselves a flood of refunds. In most cases they’re going to add another 90 days onto the event date and hope everything has blown-over by then. Other events are being re-imagined as online or virtual shows. Others are being outright canceled. The true impact of any of these options aren’t fully known across the board, but for you and your client individually, there are options.
First, look at your contract. See what deposits were paid. If there were any time-related refunds. For example, if the event is canceled within three months, would they receive 75% of the monies, whereas they would receive 100% if 90s days or more. These are usually written out fairly well in paperwork. In some cases there are cases where their deposit is non-refundable, regardless of what situation arises.
If a refund isn’t an option and your client wishes to hold off and attend the later-scheduled event then this is where you act fast. The event that was just postponed was on a specific date. It probably was picked on those specific dates because others weren’t available. Schedules fill up quick and so do accommodations. There could already be large events going on in the same location at the same dates. Hotels, flights and even event space could be limited. Act quickly to secure attendance. We don’t know if we’ll be over this pandemic by then, but assuming it is you’ll be set.
A virtual show? How exactly does that work for you? A Virtual Trade Show takes the elements of a live trade show collected and translated into a multimedia file format to be broadcasted or transmitted online. It’s pretty much as it sounds. There are some major disadvantages to these, but also some major advantages. Virtual trade shows allow the exhibitors and sponsors to reach their target audience round the clock. It’s no long limited to companies who found the time and money to send their people. They also aren’t limited to the timeframe of the event. Some are run over a short time period and others are online for months. You’re going to need to scramble and rethink your creative, but the presentation you build can be repurposed for several other presentations down the road.
None of these options get anyone initial investments back in the black. We understand the affects of the global economy. We’re not going to pretend that for as many people becoming sick, that just as many people/companies won’t go bankrupt. From hourly employees who can’t go to work to major companies who just weren’t ready for the change of tide in their operations, this will hit everyone somehow. But no one can sit around waiting to see who’s left standing. Everything needs to go along as business as usual as much as they can without adding to the wake of a pandemic. Don’t panic. Do research. Console and communicate with your client. Most importantly, be smart and wash your hands. We’re going to get through this.