No doubt that Hurricane Sandy will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit the East Coast of the U.S. and the magnitude of damage is still being evaluated. In the world of trade shows and conferences, numerous events had to be cancelled due to safety and logistics issues. Kudos to event planners who stepped up and took a bullet (in the form of lost revenues) for the greater good. The one event that left people scratching their heads was the last-minute cancellation of the weekend’s New York Marathon.
Why would any event planner insist on bringing in generators, food, and all kinds of supplies for a race while thousands of New Yorkers and other regional residents are homeless, without power and water, and wondering what their future will look like? It seems beyond insensitive! And then to wait to cancel until after some runners had already endured the airline struggle and arrived in the city added further insult. The one bright spot is that some runners are using their time in NYC to volunteer in relief efforts.
While hotels and businesses in Lower Manhattan and Atlantic City definitely took a heavy hit, it’s not just the New York area that’s reeling: there are predictions that lost business travel could cost the GDP as much as $675 million. That’s a hit for airlines, hotels, and all related businesses.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in Las Vegas, the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show, held Oct. 30-Nov. 2, set a record with 2,257 exhibitors. The 130,000 attendees gathered in spite of facing all the flight complications due to Hurricane Sandy. To view a photo gallery from the SEMA Show, check out this story from the LA Times.