Weekly News & Insights: Dealing with Shutdowns & Cutbacks

Photo: stock.xchng/RAWKU5
Photo: stock.xchng/RAWKU5

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!

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