As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing retail stores and restaurants close, artists postpone concerts, and large events such as festivals cancelling. What should you do about a conference you may have scheduled for next month, or even three months from now? Vicki Thein, Director of Events at Ewald Consulting, has a few thoughts on what to consider before cancelling your conference:
1. What does the venue contract say?
Carefully review the terms of your contract with the venue. Check to see if force majeure applies and what it covers. If it does not apply, determine the costs of cancelling and if those funds could be applied toward a future event. Additionally, closely monitor the conditions of the venue location and try to get a sense of how many attendees may cancel in order to help you state your case to the venue if needed.
2. What do your vendor contracts say?
Like venue contracts, review contracts with your vendors. See if force majeure applies, the costs if it does not and if they could give you credit in the event of a cancellation. The flexibility on cancellations with vendors will vary, so be sure to look at each contract closely.
3. Is there cancellation insurance?
If you have cancellation insurance, get in contact with your insurance agent as soon as you can as they are very likely becoming overloaded with similar requests.
4. Are you able to distribute the content virtually?
Are there opportunities for your conference material to be put into a virtual conference, podcasts, or other forms of content? Brainstorm what this might look like and if you think it could be successful.
5. Financial considerations
Can your organization afford to go without a conference this year? This will be a major factor in your decision. Considering alternative conference options like the ones mentioned above could provide potential sources of revenue.