Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the catastrophe in Southwest Florida, but particularly to our event industry colleagues. Just as our Industry was turning the corner on the debilitating effects of the pandemic, this area of the country now has to recover from the complete devastation of hurricane Ian. Not only have business opportunities been lost, but many venues, products and services have been completely destroyed rather than simply being delayed.
Understandably, many people are concerned about their upcoming weddings and events planned in Southwest Florida. The event industry not only understands but also shares your concerns. However, this disaster has physically destroyed the local infrastructure and many company’s buildings, inventory, communication systems.
For example, while there is no doubt that your venue would love to host your event, they may no longer have a building safe for you to use. Your florist may have lost all of their equipment and delivery vans, and your caterer may not even be able to get the food delivered or staff onsite to produce an event. Natural disasters have a ripple effect on everything they touch, but for complex projects like special events that require multiple layers of products and services, it can be a messier web to untangle.
While the national events community is organizing larger scale relief efforts, as a first step, we recommend that Southwest Florida event industry professionals attempt to communicate with their immediate clients about the reality of their current situation and manage expectations for future communication and responsiveness.
Clients will need to be patient, as such large scale recovery will take significant time. For many vendors there will not be exact answers for the foreseeable future. If you are a client and are waiting for communication from a vendor, please remember that they may not currently have access to power, internet or any kind of support system to weather this storm.
To connect with organizations working on relief efforts in Southwest Florida, please reach out to the listed websites.
The events community is a strong one, and together we will help lift up our partners and vendors in Florida. After all, coming together is what we do best.