Planning an annual trade show or convention is a year-long team effort, much like a NASCAR team prepares to compete in a race. You assemble your team and put the best people in the right positions. You recruit your sponsors to ensure it’s a financial success. You build your car, being sure that you have all the parts in place, so it performs well. You hit the track, racing toward success.
And boom! Two blown tires. You’re spinning around, doing your best to keep the car away from danger.
Or, in this case, COVID-19. This worldwide pandemic has rocked the trade show, convention, and live event industry like nothing ever before. For the event organizer, it’s affected all the essential partners. General service contractors, hotels and convention centers, audio-visual companies, airlines and transportation companies, labor unions – the list goes on.
What does an event organizer do to get the car back on track? Naturally, first comes the pit stop. For many of us, this pit stop is lifesaving. Now is the time to follow the instructions from our government and health officials to remain home, maintain social distance, and stay healthy. NASCAR drivers, both during the racing season and the offseason, exercise to keep their bodies ready for competition. We, too, can use our time close to home to fine-tune our bodies.
During the pit stop, we rely on our team, sponsors, and partners to communicate both immediate and long-term plans to recover. Talk with your “team.” You’ll likely find that just checking on their well-being is as important as talking business. Are they and their family members healthy and coping? Can you e-mail a link to a funny video that might give them a laugh for the day?
The recovery plan is essential, as well. Be sure to review with all the stakeholders your ideas to reschedule events as quickly as possible to build confidence in the team. Keep pushing forward with the planning process whenever possible. Develop a “best practices” manual that may help should you need to reschedule a future event. Most importantly – change those tires! Book your next event! Secure the venues, services, and people you’ll rely on when your event is ready to get back on track.
I hope to celebrate big wins with all of you soon.