How the Coronavirus Outbreak is Affecting the Event Planning Industry: Part 1
It’s been about 3 months since word first broke out of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. It feels like with each passing day, there are more confirmed cases and more media coverage. On the plus side, it’s been confirmed that over half of those diagnosed with the virus globally to date have since recovered. But understandably, people are still on high alert.
Precautions are being taken everywhere you turn. Some are minor; others are more extreme. People are stocking up on household items, from hand sanitizer to toilet paper, just in case they need to be quarantined. Another precaution that’s also being taken by many as of late is staying away from others unless absolutely necessary.
In the world of event and wedding planning, this spells disaster for the industry! The entire nature of your job is organizing the coming together of people. But if people don’t want to go near each other… You see the problem. Unfortunately, even the best wedding and event planning classes can’t prepare you for this.
The coronavirus outbreak has already proven to be negatively affecting the event planning industry. Here, we’ll take a look into the different ways this is happening, as well as what can be done during this time to salvage it.
How the Coronavirus is affecting…
This one is fairly obvious. There’s a lot of hype right now over the dangers of traveling to foreign places, or even just leaving your home country in general. Not to mention, your clients and their guests first need to get through the actual traveling portion.
This means waiting in an airport with hundreds upon hundreds of strangers. Who knows where each one of them has been, or what they’re potentially carrying! Then there’s the plane itself: a small, contained space also filled with strangers. Then they’ll have to do it all over again when coming back.
In light of everything currently going on with the coronavirus, there are many who feel that this is way too much of a risk to take!
How to work around this:
While not all of the following alternatives may be ideal, the point is that there are still many other options your client can choose for their big day.
For example, if possible, they can choose a different location. Yes, this may be a bit of a hassle. But if they really don’t feel comfortable going ahead with their original destination, that doesn’t mean no other destination is safe!
Help them to do thorough research on various foreign spots that are currently proven safe (or as safe as possible) from the coronavirus. If they aren’t already keeping an active eye on the developing information about the outbreak and the places it’s spread to, encourage them to start doing so. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization are reputable sources for this information.
As for the guests, you and your clients can offer them medical aids for both the airport and the trip, such as hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, etc. Even if they choose not to use them (though many probably will), just knowing that this measure is being taken will be greatly appreciated!
If clients are open to changing their wedding destination, they might also consider switching to a location that can be reached by car or train, as opposed to air. While some guests might still opt to board a flight, you’ll probably find that many guests would be willing to do a 12-hour drive instead of a 3-hour flight.
If your clients have any sort of website or social media page about the wedding, encourage them to provide updates for their guests. This should include any pertinent info about coronavirus updates. That way, everyone’s on the same page!
If planning is still in the early stages, advise your clients about the pros of wedding insurance. Especially with everything going on right now, this would be worth looking into. If your clients have already booked everything already and currently possess this insurance, start reviewing the policy ASAP.
The outbreak may leave clients with no choice but to cancel their wedding altogether. You need to help them make sure they’re covered in such an event! Yes, they may take some sort of financial hit. But salvaging some of their budget is better than nothing.
2. Local weddings.
It’s not just destination weddings that are taking a hit these days. Even those getting married in their own home towns are facing struggles, thanks to the coronavirus! The biggest culprit? Wedding dress manufacturers.
The fact is, approximately 80% of the world’s supply of wedding dresses (at least) comes out of China. For many other countries producing wedding gowns, they rely on Chinese fabrics and materials in order to make them. Since the virus originated in China, many people are opting to avoid all Chinese products – full stop. Meaning, a lot of people are going to be hesitant about ordering wedding dresses until this eventually dies down.
How to work around this:
Firstly, it’s important to try and stay realistic. We’re not in any way saying that the coronavirus isn’t serious, because we very much know it is.
But let’s just say that an internationally-made wedding gown somehow came into contact with the coronavirus. An infected person somehow transmitted some sort of viral droplet onto the gown (probably via a cough or a sneeze). The thing is, that the virus will likely already be dead and harmless by the time the dress reaches your client’s address!
Most viruses can only live outside of the human body for several hours at a time.
Furthermore, viral droplets don’t pass through skin. In order for her to get sick, the droplets would first have to survive the days-long voyage, and then get on her hands. THEN she’d have to touch her eyes/mouth/nose immediately afterwards. If she actively washes her hands and avoids touching her face (or ensures to wash her hands before touching her face), she’ll more than likely be perfectly fine.
The bottom line: it’s practically impossible to catch the coronavirus from ordering Chinese-made products or materials.
As for your client’s guests, you can help alleviate their fears of catching anything during the wedding by offering plenty of hand sanitizers, masks, etc. Simply having that option available to them will make guests feel all the more comfortable with attending such a public event.
Finally, if your clients or guests are wary about attending a wedding/reception where people are in close contact, suggest an outdoor wedding if possible. Outdoor venues are hands-down the best option when it comes to ventilation. They also allow people to spread out and have more personal space.
Now that we’ve covered weddings, are you ready to learn how the novel coronavirus outbreak has been affecting corporate events and other areas of event planning? More importantly, what else can be done to ensure that your clients have options, and that they and their guests are kept safe?
Keep your eye out for Part 2 of this article, coming Thursday, March 12th! In the meantime, here are a couple other excellent reads that we highly recommend:
- Coronavirus Could Cancel My Wedding
- What To Do if Your Wedding Is in the Midst of the Coronavirus Hysteria