Our most recent storm here in the Northeast, which began its trouble earlier in the Midwest, is another reminder how important proactivity and communication are when dealing with speaker travel arrangements. The truth is, it’s not just a winter or a location specific problem. All year long there are a series of independent forces wreaking havoc on the best laid travel plans. Our program managers are always looking at the national weather map, tracking speakers originating and destination cities, looking for any potential problems.
Here’s a case example of a situation here at Goodman Speakers during the Blizzard of 2015.
When forecasters began to up the severity of Juno early Sunday morning, our program managers immediately looked at the calendar and began to see which speakers could potentially have issues. We had one speaker originating from the Qatar in the Middle East, heading to Midwest for a program on Tuesday. The speaker had also hoped to stop at home for a night in New Jersey. After seeing the flight cancellations beginning to pile up, we immediately contacted the speaker’s office and strongly encouraged them to change the flight, bypass home and go straight to the event. Thankfully, they all agreed and the speaker changed his flight that day so that the speaker would arrive at his destination on Monday without too much headache, just 28 hours of travel…
Meanwhile, our team had a backup speaker in mind, on the outside chance the original speaker experienced any more delays or cancellations.
What did and can we all learn from these situations:
- Be proactive: don’t wait until flights are cancelled
- Communication: make sure everyone is aware of the potential problem and agree upon a solution, early on.
- Have a backup plan
Also, don’t forget about any fee or rate increases the speaker and client may incur with the changing schedule, this may include a fare increase, change fees, additional accommodations, etc.
Stay calm, communicate often, and it doesn’t hurt to cross your fingers, because sometimes luck does play a role in having a successful event.