Hey friends. It’s with a heavy heart that I’ve come to the decision that I will not be holding the Spokane, WA Plancation in June as intended.
I am working with the speakers for the event to pull together a virtual summit that will replace this one. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a virtual summit, it’s an event that you can pay to attend that is hosted online. More details to come on this.
With Coronavirus impacting the world right now, it’s created challenges no one could have anticipated, and we are at the beginning of this with no understanding of the impact that is still coming.
Currently Washington State health officials have limited gatherings to 250 people and are expected to recommend smaller events be restricted as well. Over the past 24 hours I’ve been working with the hotel to understand my options should a worst case scenario happen. I’m struggling to get to the place that holding this event feels like a responsible choice at this juncture.
I’ll give you a little insight into my thinking too so you know I’m not an alarmist, and really I’m looking out for all involved. The dilemma I’m facing as an event host and choose to sell tickets and an event can’t be held for reasons outside my / our control is as follows:
a. Paying the hotel with the monies collected from whom ever bought a ticket and refund anything left to ticket holders. This leaves the burden on those that chose to buy a ticket and leaves me in a yuckie feeling situation.
b. Pay the venue out of my pocket and refund ticket holders money accepted, and accept the full financial burden of this decision with my own monies. I work hard, but not really willing to do this.
c. Reschedule the event for a future date putting the burden on you the ticket holders to absorb the costs of travel changes and rearranging your life for this event to fit into it, or managing the process of transfers / selling off tickets. Still feels yuckie and is a ton of work and hassle for all involved.
At this juncture, I’ve NOT accepted any money since tickets haven’t gone on sale. I was in active negotiations with the hotel for final costs, but have no financial commitment. Also items from sponsors that have committed have not been sent yet. This change gives me the opportunity to have more proactive discussions with speakers for what we’ve planned and gives me the time to focus on the virtual summit option.
I think we have a responsibility to our immune compromised folks, those that are elderly in our lives, and our friends in healthcare to not add to the situation by holding an optional event that is intended to be fun. I’m not sure this would give us the break from the real world that we typically enjoy and allow us to celebrate our hobby with the stress and worry happening at the moment.
I love planners, this community, and seeing people together, but I think there are more important things happening in the world than a planner conference. It fills my heart the number of people that said this virus couldn’t keep them from coming, your support is astounding and I can’t thank you for the excitement, it’s what keeps me going.
I hope that the steps being taken today will mean that come June we can laugh about the toilet paper being stockpiled, and hand washing memes being abundant. I’ll of course be wondering if I made the right decision, but where I’m sitting right now I feel like this is the right decision.
Again, thanks for reading this update. I do my best to be transparent when it comes to how I come to these conclusions. I hope you’ll be understanding.