Welcome to The Bark, Top Dog Events’ new blog about everything to do with the world of meetings and events. And on occasion, things that are totally unrelated!
I had planned to have this inaugural blog share my excitement about live events starting up again. However, based on the fact that our country is experiencing a very scary rise in positive Covid tests, that felt completely inappropriate.
Like in years past, whenever there is tragedy in the world, the hospitality industry is among the hardest hit.
I started Top Dog Events in 2001. Approximately six months into my launch we experienced the horrific attacks on September 11th. Immediately, meetings and events of all types were canceled. Corporations did not think it was appropriate to conduct such business, and I agreed. Although I was desperate to build a company, I put searching for business on hold. It took some time (and a lot of prayers) but the hospitality industry did bounce back.
Several years later came the financial crisis. Adding salt to the wound, our own US Congress slammed corporations for hosting large meetings, something they instantly learned was a huge mistake (more on this in my next blog). Immediately, all meetings and events were canceled again. I had clients tell me, “We don’t need to cancel, we just feel we should.”
I can still remember sitting at my desk, hanging up the telephone from yet another cancellation. It had been my only event left. I started to cry and said out loud, “I’m out of business.” I thought for sure there was no return. But I didn’t give up and, once again, held onto hope. And after about a year, business started to come back—thankfully, stronger than ever!
So, here we go again. A pandemic has emerged and all meetings and events have canceled. Some have simply pivoted to virtual (and we thank you for including Top Dog Events!). But many have not. And once again, we are in fear of our businesses not coming back. All of my colleagues have lost their jobs. My vendor partners have lost tens of millions of dollars in business and some have decided to close up shop altogether. They do not want to remain in an industry that falls out every time something goes awry in the world.
As for me, I continue to have hope and to believe in our industry. Human beings crave interaction. Yes, we can make virtual events work, and there are areas where this can continue. But for events such as SKO’s, marketing events, incentives, user groups, fundraising, etc., being live and with each other in the same room is what matters most. The networking, the camaraderie…it’s key to our happiness. I believe, like in the past, this will pass and we will prevail. Once again, we will come back stronger than ever.