Navigating Your Event Logistics During Border Closures

Like any major production FCM Meetings & Events has a team of rock stars behind the scenes to deal with the thorny issues of border closures and their impact on event logistics during the coronavirus pandemic.

We asked our key cast and crew about their critical roles and how they slip into gear once COVID-19 forces borders to snap shut.

woman smiling in a group

Strong Supplier Relationships Are King

Group Travel BDM Sheri Veenstra said it was important to stay across everything such as the different terms of various supplier contracts, and the closures in each state, but to avoid the doom and gloom of the news.

“The first thing is to communicate with customers and tell them their booking is affected and then communicate with their delegates,” she said.

“We then go out to each supplier and advise them the event plans need to change and we look at moving things around, new dates, alternative options such as virtual or hybrid, or ask them to put things in credit until we have revised dates from the customer

 “We’ve had some great success stories with our suppliers who have been phenomenal in terms of flexibility and amazing in terms of helping us to get the right outcome for the client.

“So far we haven’t had anyone adversely affected financially. We’ve been able to leverage our supplier relationships to get outcomes such as full refunds or credits for our clients.

“There is an element of just keep swimming.”

People walking on busy street

Remain Flexible

Group Travel Business Leader Andrew Yell has described the current situation when it comes to event logistics during border closures as a “big chess game that moves really quickly.”

“There are many moving parts. It’s the minutiae of it where you have air schedules constantly changing so the event may not operate in the way it was supposed to,” he said.

“We’ve got one particular large event that we are now up to our fifth re-booking of it. This process can take up to two weeks for one of our Group Travel Experts.

“That’s part of the mystery of what we do. We make it easy and clients don’t see all of the mechanical bits behind the scenes.”

person with mask checking in

Triage Your Priorities

Andrew said the first thing he did when notified of a border closure in a destination in which an event was due to be held was to speak with his travel managers who worked with businesses that have been affected.

“We start looking at a priority list and reach out and talk to the event organisers about their plans,” he said.

“They will be scrambling and sometimes they are wanting us to solve the problem which we are always happy to do.

“There are lots of negotiations with moving flights, changing venues and we’ve got to wait for all of the suppliers to come back to us and that can take 48 hours.

“We are quoting, updating and rebooking. Our job is to just keep going.”

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