Volcano eruptsIt’s an event manager’s worst nightmare. 

Tube strikes and too much snow are bad enough, but the current air-space restrictions have left many an organiser tearing out their hair.  Speakers unable to attend, leaving huge holes in the programme to be filled at late notice, reduction in delegate numbers, issues with hotel rooms still occupied by stranded visitors.

For some it will be a double nightmare.  Not only will they be trying to paper over the cracks, but there will be financial penalties too.  Because for some taking out event insurance always seemed to be an unnecessary expense.  Being covered by Public and Employee Liability Insurance always seemed enough.  For them specialist event insurance just didn’t seem worth the premium because nothing ever happens at a little conference held at a conference centre out in Nottingham does it?

Maybe now they have changed their minds.

Perhaps it is also now time to rethink about how we conduct business meetings and conferences.  Is it really practical to fly halfway around the world to hold an educational event in a conference hall that could be in Paris, Rome or Rekjavik, the decor is so universal?  Does it justify the cost and carbon footprint to bring a speaker to Madrid from Los Angeles?  Are there more productive ways to train your workforce than shipping them to Cannes for 4 days? Actually that last one sounds rather nice.

Joking apart, technology has advanced a long way in the last two years and there are now a multiplicity of solutions that can take the uncertainty out of creating international events.  You can:

  • Record your keynote speeches in advance, just in case they can’t make it for any reason, bringing in their advisory team to answer the Q&A or they can do it remotely.
  • Use virtual experience technology such as to create a whole virtual environment in which to hold your event at a time which suits your delegates.

For many event organisers virtual events didn’t seem so attractive a week ago, perhaps Eyjafjallajökull will change their minds.