Making the decision to turn your in-person conference to a virtual one is not easy. Over the past few months, unfortunately, a lot of companies have had to make that call--and when they did, that decision hit many different aspects of the organization. Aside from asking how your virtual event will provide an experience that’s as amazing as your in-person one, you also have to think about all of the other logistics that come with it. That’s where travel managers and events teams partner up.
While managing that process of switching to a virtual conference is a hassle from both the events side and the travel side, many TripActions customers have had the opportunity to work with our dedicated Groups & Meetings team to help with group event cancelations. While typically helping to book events--everything from SKOs and President’s Clubs, to conferences and trade shows--this team has helped during the pandemic to support cancellations. Here’s how we have been working to support our customers--and what you’ll need to do if you plan to switch to a virtual event this year.
Cancelling hotel room block contracts
For most large events, organizations reserve a room block for attendees and/or employees. Our Groups & Meetings team helps negotiate you out of your contracts with the least amount of penalty possible. For us and our upcoming TRAVERSE 20 event, we were able to waive our cancellation fee, but spend at least the deposit amount within the next year.
Cancelling pre-booked flights
Many of your employees likely had travel pre-booked for your events. The Groups & Meetings team helps by pulling reports and cancelling your travelers’ flights for you. They’ve helped a number of our customers. One in particular which had more than 1,000 flights booked for a company-wide event. Leveraging our supplier and airline relationships, they were able to get travel credits and refunds for all flights booked.
Cancelling your other vendor contracts while maintaining your partnerships
This is where it gets tricky. The events industry is arguably the most hard hit of all. It’s important to be fair and work together with them to come to an agreement. What we have done here at TripActions, is negotiated out of any cancellation fees and agreed to have our event within a calendar year.
The other important part that all contract signers are going to start adding in, is the Force Majeure clause. Most of the time, this clause will allow for contract cancellation without penalty for any “Acts of God” (hurricane, terror attack, etc.), but it did not include infectious disease or pandemics. Make sure to work with your legal team to have those added into all addendums and new event contracts moving forward. Our Groups and Meetings team can help you with this as well.
What’s next for events?
This question is on a lot of our minds right now. As someone who has run events for more than ten years, I know one thing for sure: virtual formats will never replace the power of in-person connections. If anything, this pandemic has proven how powerful and necessary those in-person connections are. I do envision more virtual/in-person hybrid events in our near future--and I look forward to helping make those happen.
TripActions will be there for you every step of the way, through the bookings, reschedulings and yes, at times the painful cancellations. The Groups and Meetings team is ready to partner with you on any upcoming group travel you may have.