In the first post (part 1) in the new Reimagining the 2020 FICP Annual Conference series, I introduced some of the adjustments the 2020 FICP Annual Conference Event Team were making with our conference plans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver a relevant learning experience that also helps you plan your meetings and events in this uncertain environment. That first blog touched on information gathering, budgeting and logistics. Here is a closer look at our new approaches for registration policies and event marketing
FICP’s staff team was in frequent communication with our legal counsel this spring, who assisted with contract reviews and guidance for both the Education Forum and the Annual Conference. We sought their advice about considerations for hosting, and potentially having to cancel, an in-person event. Those perspectives were greatly appreciated, and are reflected in the new policies you will see when you sign up, and how we handled the Education Forum insurance claim.
Those new policies include an adjustment to the attendee cancellation policy so that our meetings professional members can cancel without financial penalty through November 6, 2020. This new “risk-free registration” means that you can register now, and if something should change in your circumstances, you can receive a full refund so long as you notify us in writing of your intent to do so by November 6.
We have also adjusted our policy for hospitality partners so that they can cancel for a full refund if they chose to do so by September 1, 2020. We updated our terms & conditions to provide for this and other, more flexible provisions to facilitate their participation. At the request of our Hospitality Partner Advisory Committee (HPAC), we also delayed our sponsor sales go-live date this year.
And we reviewed our registration form with fresh eyes, to determine if the information we were collecting still made sense for this year. For example, we questioned whether we should get you remote mailing address or add any other waivers to the form. You’ll see the answer to both is “no.”
Marketing the Annual Conference
Typically, we launch Annual Conference registration at the close of our Education Forum with most details confirmed, and showcase the unparalleled combination of education and events that await our attendees in a new and exciting venue. Our marketing showcases each of these elements until we reach capacity.
The need for us to adjust the experience based on the current orders from the mayor and health authority guidelines, as well as your rapidly evolving information needs as meetings professionals trying to plan events during a pandemic, mean we will need to be more nimble with almost every element of this year’s conference.
Our approach, which you see in this blog and all of our event-related communications, is transparency, authenticity and a willingness to bring you into the event in a way we usually don’t. We want to do this so that you can learn from our learnings, and have confidence that what you will gain onsite is consistent with your needs – inclusive of insights for planning meetings in the short term, building skills for your long-term success and having many much-needed conversations with your peers while doing so.
While the intent was different when we selected the theme – Reimagine Meetings, Realize Impact – it may be one of the best decisions, in hindsight, this committee made in the early stages of planning this event. It provides us the flexibility to reimagine the meeting to accommodate completely unanticipated and disruptive circumstances, but still equip you to increase your impact through your participation at each step.
In part 2 of our new blog series, Reimagining the 2020 FICP Annual Conference, we’ll talk about our adjustments to the program and schedule. Stay tuned!
Director, Event Services