While communities are rallying together to defeat the COVID-19 outbreak, there are also a number of companies enforcing unjustified layoffs, charging crazy cancellation fees, and not processing refunds for unused products.
The event industry will remember.
I was checking my social media stream over the weekend, as all of us are from the solitude of our voluntary quarantines. In a sea of bad news, I could spot some incredible posts by event professionals really stepping up during this time of crisis.
The trend is across the board, from suppliers to planners.
In no time whatsoever I saw:
- Conference centres working round the clock to become emergency hospitals
- Event technology companies working around the clock to deliver new virtual tools. Event planners recently laid off picking up jobs at local supermarkets or offering to babysit for those working from home.
- Planners offering their superior logistics skills to help coordinate triage at local hospitals.
These are just some ways in which the event industry is showing its superior power to empathise.
You won’t find so many incredible individuals shrugging off the worst crisis an entire sector has ever faced like it’s nothing. All that time under constant stress has paid off. That doesn’t make it an easy burden to bear, but we have large shoulders.
The world will remember the acts of kindness of these incredible individuals.
At the same time, many individuals are taking advantage of these incredibly difficult times to show their own true colors.
- Many tech companies that previously claimed to always be on the planner’s side are not giving out refunds for unused services.
- Online registration companies are charging fees for sold tickets of canceled events.
- Mass layoffs are delivered with no communication, no furlough option.
- Venues are charging crazy fees to planners for postponements or are penalizing them with a premium for rescheduling to the fourth quarter 2020.
To all these individuals perpetrating some of the worst business practices in a terrifyingly historic moment, I want to say this: we will remember.
We will go back and follow up with all the planners affected. We will remember who these people are, what they did and when they did it.
It is important to note that this is the time to have honest conversations, be transparent and help each other. It’s a time to create incentives to do the right thing, not to capitalize on pressure situations that place a limit on options.
Some companies may simply not be in a sound cash position to keep employees. Sad, but fair. Have an honest conversation with your employees.
Some tech providers may not be able to afford to lose the money if they want to stay afloat. Work with your clients to find solutions.
Some venues will be overloaded in the fourth quarter. Work with planners to find alternative dates.
We will remember how you react to this. So be your best self; show that you’re a partner when the going gets rough.