There’s no question that every American — and many other people worldwide — are beginning to feel the effects of the U.S. government shutdown. But in the meetings and trade show industry, that ripple is rapidly spreading.
Because travel for government employees was immediately suspended, none of them will be attending any conferences or trade shows. While initially it sounded like that only included making new travel plans, in reality it was a full-stop on all travel, even the trips that had already been arranged. So hotels are now losing lots of room nights that were already booked, and conferences who had government experts scheduled to speak are scrambling to find alternatives. For events that draw lots of international attendees, entering the U.S. will now be more difficult with reduced customs capabilities.
So what’s the answer — short of the government getting back to work, of course? It’s actually a good lesson for everyone: Don’t put too many eggs in any one basket. While you can’t control external circumstances, you can work to maintain a balanced mix of business. If you see too much revenue is coming from any one segment of your industry, focus on diversifying that mix. And for planners who have government speakers, look to other experts that may have a similar perspective.
Bottom line: Always have a Plan B, even if you can’t imagine needing one!
In other news:
- Southwest Airlines recently broke ground on their new international terminal at Houston’s Hobby Airport. A first for Southwest, this facility will serve as a hub for the airline’s new service into Latin America and the Caribbean, and is expected to open in late 2015.
- Brian Casey has been selected to replace Doug Ducate as the head of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), beginning December 1. Casey is currently the vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation & Convention Center.
- “And the winner is” … the Expo Group has announced an all-female list of Show Manager of the Year Award (SMOTY) winners, who will be honored at the 2013 TSNN Awards November 1-3 in Reno, Nevada.