The Novel Coronavirus Disease is spreading rapidly across the world, and the event industry is being hit strongly. In this article, we are reaching out to our customers, prospects, and industry partners to share how we are prepared to go through this crisis and what you can expect from us. 

Introduction

The Novel Coronavirus Disease is spreading rapidly across the world. The first infections were reported in December 2019 and initially spread mostly in China and surrounding countries. By February 20, the number of infections in Italy rapidly increased, after which other European countries and North America followed quickly. It is expected to get much worse before it will get better. The event industry, our industry, is being hit very strongly. At the time of writing this article, out of the 40 conferences we serve in the months of March and April, 6 have been canceled and 11 are postponed. We expect these numbers to go up. For how long, and by how much, nobody knows. In this article, I want to reach out to our customers, prospects, and industry partners to share how we are prepared to go through this crisis and what you can expect from us.

Towards our clients

To all our clients, conference organizers, meeting planners, and associations: first of all, I want you to know that we are with you in our hearts and minds. You are facing an incredibly difficult time and the responsibility towards your staff, your attendees and the broader community surely must weigh heavily on your shoulders. It’s also sad to see all efforts that go into preparing a conference or meeting be in vain. You’ve been also incredibly respectful towards us, recognizing our efforts as a supplier. Those messages are well appreciated. I’m here to reassure you that we stand by you during this crisis. Here’s what you can expect from us:

  • Should you have to cancel or postpone your event, you may re-use your Event Package at no additional cost at a later moment. We’ll pick up the project where we left it and support you to get up and running again. Only when considerable extra work from our team is required, will we have to charge you, but always after properly communicating this with you.
  • Our team is prepared to work from home should the need for that arise and we have everything in place to continue providing the service you expect from us. We are based in The Netherlands, in The Hague and closely follow the advice of the local authorities.
Using your Society App during this crisis

Communication is key in any crisis. And your Society App can play a vital role in making sure your messages reach your community. Whether you decide to cancel your event, postpone it, or continue with fewer participants, here are some ways you can put your Society App to work:

  • Share news updates with push notifications to all users of your app, or just the attendees of a particular event. Information is key and you can use the app to keep your community informed.
  • Use the visual options of the app to show the status of your event so your users will immediately be informed whenever they access your app.
  • Should you need to reschedule the event; simply sync the data; update the dates and locations and you are up and running again.
  • Should you continue with your event, make sure you are inclusive to all who won’t be able to make it. There are a number of ways in which your Society App can help you with that:
    • Offer live-streaming services through the app to allow people to join remotely.
    • Use the built-in Vote and Q&A features to let attendees participate remotely during sessions and make them feel engaged and involved.
    • Promote the networking features to allow participants to chat with each other, wherever they are.
    • Use the Social Wall to support those who can’t attend and make them feel part of your community.

These are just a handful of ideas. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d need more tailored advice.

Towards our prospects

Many of you who are considering using our Event App or Society App for your upcoming events will be concerned about whether your events can go on as planned. To be fair, let me say that I find it fantastic how many of you are looking beyond this current crisis and consider how our products will actually help you prepare your communication and inclusivity. I’d like to comfort you by announcing that in our contracts we will include a clause that promises that you may re-use your Event Package in case you have to cancel or postpone your event.

Towards our industry partners

Finally, I would like to call out to our industry partners to stick together and help each other. We are here for you to share our best practices, for instance on how we assess the situation on an hourly basis, how we share knowledge within our company, about working from home, and our approach to our customers. We’re very open to learning from you as well and invite you to share your best practices with us and with each other. It’s OK to be vulnerable about your concerns. This crisis presents unprecedented challenges to all of us. But I’m convinced that as long as we are honest, open, and willing to share and learn, we will come out of this stronger.

Jelmer van Ast, Founder, and CEO