In the national spirit of resolve, we've heard every American official, from the president to Rudy Giuliani to the heads of convention bureaus, urge a return to normalcy. Shop, see a musical, travel by air, have a meeting. If we stay home, they win.
Tech company event planners living on the front lines of this new normalcy are faced with enormous challenges, coupled with an ongoing downturn in company stocks and industry vitality. While still absorbing the loss of so many innocent people and the uncertainty of America's war on terrorism, an understandable response might be dismay or apathy. The reaction I'm seeing is anything but.
The initiative of event managers has come to the fore. The innovation at the core of great tech companies large and small continues to express itself. And the determination of people everywhere to find a way to share ideas, learn, and build businesses is unstoppable.
I am an editor, not a political analyst or clairvoyant, but I can only imagine that meetings and events will go forward. They will need new security measures and contingency plans, more equitableand clauses, and a better sense of purpose — perfunctory travel is gone. And companies will need sober analyses of their meeting options: Would regional events or a road show make more sense than a full-blown user group conference? What's the cost of cancellation, financially and otherwise? Would a videoconference or webcast meet our goals? Should we meet internationally as we always have?
I refuse to find a silver lining in the unspeakable events of September 11, but I do believe that the skills of event professionals are more critical than ever. The work of creating not-to-be-missed events that get Americans traveling, keep the economy rolling, and build great companies is acutely needed at this painful point in our history.
We're here to help. In this and future issues, you'll find many of our news stories, case studies, and features aimed at the post-9/11 world. Between issues, point your browser to www.meetingsnet.com for news and updates. And if you don't see what you need, let us know, and we'll deliver.