Recently, the world has been turned upside down: Revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to say nothing of the threat of damaged nuclear reactors spreading radiation.
So does this affect us in the meetings and incentive travel worlds? In every single way.
Let’s look at suppliers we all use: The cost of filling up at the gas station has gone up substantially, so if anything needs to be transported – think food, 100-mile or not – the cost is going to rise.
When your AV company moves in to set up/tear down, the cost of their gas has gone up. The heating/air conditioning at your venue has gone up because of the higher cost of oil.
Let’s look at your attendees who pay to come to your events. Cheap airfares are now out of the question, because of the cost of fuel (even if this is an incentive, the cost has gone up for the corporation planning that incentive). If the delegate is driving or taking the train, that cost, too, has gone up.
And on a personal level, who hasn’t seen the cost of hydro go through the roof? So if the delegate isn’t being reimbursed and their own housing/auto costs have risen, do they have the money to pay for a conference?
Let’s look at what just happened in Japan: This has affected airlines, and goods coming and going from Japan, to say nothing of the horrors for ordinary people. Anything now manufactured in Japan and exported is on hold.
For how long? Who knows.
And what will that do to the price of those products? How will this affect Japan’s tourism and ability to attract incentives and conferences? And again, I ask: for how long?
So next time your boss asks you to plan a conference, event, meeting, incentive on a smaller budget, and with the same impact, perhaps you can remind him/her of the impact of the globalization of the worlds’ issues and challenges.
Perhaps you can also suggest a socially responsible programme to help those in need – a hand-up, not a handout, for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters in such countries as Japan (and still in Haiti).