Special event industry professionals responding to an informal poll by Special Events Magazine report that in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 20 percent of their business through the end of the year has been postponed and another 10 percent has been cancelled outright.
Events slated for September have been the hardest hit, representing 60 percent of total postponements/cancellations. Roughly 15 percent of postponements/cancellations are hitting in October.
By far, corporate business is the hardest hit, representing 80 percent of all affected business. Social business represents about 15 percent of affected business.
Some 40 percent of respondents think business will stabilize in October. Roughly the same percentage expects business to stabilize by year-end, while the remaining 20 percent don’t see a change until 2002. Many respondents caution that prolonged or widespread military action could change the forecast completely.
Individual responses vary widely. Event professionals handling corporate clients in New York have been hit hard; social professionals and those abroad may have seen no change.
Among the strategies for shoring up event business: Adding a charitable donation or fund-raising element to events, reworking themes from celebratory to patriotic or customer/employee appreciation themes, and moving destinations to avoid air travel.