All posts in “Industry Trends”

Flowers, Flowers, Where Are You?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am wondering how hard will it be to source those precious roses. The last report I read outlined a few converging factors that led to a scarcity of flowers.

Factor # 1: Did you know that most roses are shipped from Ecuador and Colombia? But many growers there were forced to destroy their buds during the pandemic. This also happened in the Netherlands, a major exporter of flowers. They destroyed almost 400 million flowers; this included 140 million tulip stems!

Factor #2: The pandemic resulted in many weddings being postponed. Then when things opened up in Summer 2021, everyone wanted flowers for their weddings and demand exceeded supply. This led to price increases.

Factor #3: Globally, weather has wreaked havoc on the flower industry. The fires in Australia destroyed eucalyptus plants which are instrumental for seed production. Forest fires in B. C. wiped out many crops and plants that are typically shipped across Canada.

My advice to you, reach out to your local flower store and place your order early!

Contracts in a COVID Era

Clearly, the world of events has changed. Planners need to be  more savvy when initiating contract discussions with venues. Successfully navigating the legal realms of contracts is a must to protect your clients. Here are some insights gained from the past year:  

  1. Contracts 101– Make sure that the event purpose is clearly articulated in the venue contract. For example, if your event is an international symposium, outline the various countries represented and provide estimates on the expected #s per country. If there are travel bans from any of these countries or the delegates have access issues with being vaccinated, you can cite frustration of purpose as a legitimate way of invoking force majeure.

Rationale: The purpose of the event is to gather delegates from various countries to share insights. If these delegates cannot attend, this negates the event purpose.

  1. Deposit Policy: As these are unusual times, ensure you have an understanding with the venue, that you cannot commit to high deposits. Negotiate the lowest initial deposit amount with them; my experience has been that hotels are willing to partner more than ever with planners.
  2. Rebooking: Certainly planners spent lots of time in 2020 undoing their event plans and having to negotiate alternate event dates with venues. This can be tricky. No one can predict when live events will be “de rigeur”, so it becomes an exercise of trying to crystal ball an ideal alternate timeframe to host the event. Work with your venue to ascertain optimal dates for your event and ensure that they are ready to safely host it. Don’t hesitate to ask them about their safety and hygiene policies. For several of my clients who are in the health care arena and working front-line with vulnerable populations, their health and safety concerns may be higher than other clients. Hence their questions will be geared towards when the hotel can assure them that their employees have been vaccinated since we know that temperature checks are not the gold standard of being COVID negative.

Lastly, do not put off discussions with your venue. Yes these are difficult conversations, but they need to be held. Don’t forget that other clients are rebooking, so you want to ensure that the venue can accommodate your alternate plans.

More than ever, honest in depth discussions with your venue are paramount to furthering the partnership. Your event venue wants the event to be successful and they are equally committed to ensure that the event is held in a safe manner as they need to protect their employees’ safety as much as you need to protect your delegates’ safety and well-being.