Association Executives from over 80 Associations attend Presidential Forum Virtual Roundtable to discuss CONFERENCE CANCELED – Now What? – How is your Association navigating the repercussions of canceling or rescheduling your Event.

Association Executives from over 80 Associations attend Presidential Forum Virtual Roundtable to discuss CONFERENCE CANCELED – Now What? – How is your Association navigating the repercussions of canceling or rescheduling your Event.

That was the topic of discussion when Association Executives met on April 23, 2020 for the Presidential Forum Roundtable via Zoom Web-conference.  The peer-to-peer discussion was moderated by Rob Eby, Partner, and Greg Plotts, Partner, both from Aronson LLC.

Attendees shared various stories about dealing with conference venues and hotels with the cancellation or rescheduling of event.  Varying degrees of resistance were met by the Association from the hotels and venue providers; the consensus was that it was important to document the legal restrictions (e.g., travel bans, large gathering bans, business closure declarations) and the timing of those restrictions (from Federal, State, Local, and CDC) in calling for the event cancelation and requesting deposits back or having deposits applied to future reschedule date.  Some Associations had purchased as early as 1-2 years earlier an infectious disease rider on their event cancelation insurance which they were able to claim from their insurance carrier.  Some attendees shared their situation of having an event planned for Summer/Fall 2020 and the current uncertainty surrounding that and how they would go about handling their contracts with the venue and/or hotel if it has to be canceled or rescheduled.  Several executives spoke about how they are moving to a virtual or hybrid conference format in 2020, but no one has reported successfully doing that yet. Regarding technology and vendors that specialize in virtual conferencing, executives on the call mentioned Intrado, Communique and Freeman-Digital.

As subject matter experts Jeff Tenenbaum, Esq. and Managing Partner from Tenenbaum Law Group PLLC (jtenenbaum@TenenbaumLegal.com) on the call as well as Dan Blaine, Account Executive from Marsh McLennan Agency (Dan.Blaine@MarshMMA.com) and Mark Robins, Partner – Association & Not-for-Profit Practice, Aronson LLC (mrobins@aronsonllc.com) attended the video-conference.  Tenenbaum pointed out that if Associations were willing to hold their conferences later in the year, it gives them a lot of leverage with the venues and hotels.  Also, Associations should be prepared that on-site Events will be less attended this year and next (perhaps as low as 50% of normal) due to travel restrictions that might be imposed on attendees by the employer and/or overall sentiment of uncertainty.  Additional information about legal considerations regarding event cancelation is provided on the links below from Tenenbaum Law Group PLLC.  Blaine pointed out how insurance policies written in the future will be restrictive regarding force majeure (i.e., pandemics will not give rise to a force majeure claim).  Robins commented on how accounting/tax considerations should be looked at for event cancellation so that you consider proper treatment before your fiscal year end.

Legal resources on to topic of Event Cancellation:

https://www.tenenbaumlegal.com/articles/covid-19-legal-strategies-for-association-meetings/

https://www.tenenbaumlegal.com/articles/the-cares-act-a-guide-to-the-resources-for-nonprofit-organizations/

https://www.tenenbaumlegal.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/298/2020/04/TLG-COVID-19-Legal-Strategies-for-Association-Meetings-1-2.pdf

One of the association executives also shared Information from the U.S. Travel Association as helpful resources for the attendees who were looking for more information:

Materials available from U.S. Travel and their partners on COVID-19 and its impact.  Keep in mind each week these numbers can change as more information comes to light and additional research, feedback and surveys are completed.

Please reach out to the DMOs you work with and do what you can to partner with them to keep America meeting and traveling while keeping everyone safe and healthy!

 

U.S. Travel Toolkit Hub on COVID-19:

https://www.ustravel.org/toolkit/covid-19-travel-industry-research

 

Economic Impact of COVID-19:

https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/Coronavirus2020_Impacts_April15.pdf

 

COVID-19 Weekly Travel Data Report:

https://www.magnetmail.net/Actions/email_web_version.cfm?publish=newsletter&user_id=USTRAVEL&message_id=18489505

 

Traveler Sentiment:

https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/MMGYResearch_Week2_FINAL_WEB.pdf

https://longwoods-intl.com/sites/default/files/2020-04/Coronavirus%20Survey%20Slides%20Wave%206%20FINAL.pdf

https://mk0destinationajcrrq.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/April-20th-Update-from-Destination-Analysts%E2%80%99-Coronavirus-Travel-Sentiment-Index-Report.pdf

 

Back to Normal Barometer:

Back-To-Normal Barometer Briefing – April 15

 

 

Meetings Mean Business: Meetings Mean Business is a Coalition U.S. Travel help’s lead focused on the Meetings Industry.

 

Pre – COVID-19: Economic Impact of Meetings:

https://www.meetingsmeanbusiness.com/case-studies-and-research

For questions, please contact the Event host, Wade Tetsuka, rsvp@ustranscorp.com or the Moderators from Aronson LLC, Rob Eby reby@aronsonllc.com, or Greg Plotts gplotts@aronsonllc.com

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