We really didn’t see that coming.
It feels like a lifetime ago that Owain and I were setting up in the Jurys Hotel two days before the Wales v Scotland match in the Six Nations. We left the room with our famous 218 wall set up, raring for match day action.
For once, we’d had the opportunity to prep the room early - normally with our media schedules we have to prep late on thr Friday evening ready for the Saturday but this time we were ahead of the game. We had the balloons up, the pop-ups in place, the TV screens all rigged up, the tables were even dressed. The event was ready, we were ready and then…it happened.
I was in Tesco, Western Avenue in Cardiff collecting treats for my children to make up for working the forthcoming weekend when my phone rang; juggling sweets, Cbeebies magazines and getting my phone out of my pocket, and when I answered it was Nathan Britton, our screen and speaker supplier. (Please follow him on Facebook Nathan J Britton)
Nathan – ‘The game is off, it’s been cancelled’
‘But the WRU have released a statement this week saying it’s on’ I replied.
Nathan ‘No its off, I promise you’.
Me – ‘Ok I’ll ring you back.’
Within the time it took me to pay for my goods and get into the car, I had numerous emails and 5 missed calls.
I needed to speak to Owain immediately but he was live on S4C presenting their daily show Prynhawn Da. I swore to myself, realising he’ll have gotten the news through his earpiece and have to announce it live on TV, knowing full well that this would mean our event would also therefore be postponed.
I phoned to the hotel, our event Sponsor RW Learning, then the hotel again. We desperately needed to secure and transfer this event, otherwise a lot of money and hard work would have gone down the drain.
Thankfully, Jury’s instantly agreed to that. I’m a great negotiator and I was ready for the fight, but in fairness I didn’t have to put any of my tricks into action. Jury’s were great, they are a warm and friendly team and understood from the off that being in this together was better for all us as this was a serious situation. That was clear from the off: unity was needed across the events sector in that moment and as we move forward it’s become clearer.
We then had to contact our guests, who were already ringing and emailing to ask what was happening and whether we’d issue refunds or reschedule the event. This event had been cancelled less than 24 hours before the event due to a pandemic. Most event companies are not obliged to give refunds, but ethically it would have been wrong from our viewpoint -we couldn’t put an event on, so we couldn’t keep our clients’ money. So those who wanted their money back received a refund, and those who were happy to attend a rescheduled event kept their tickets. We wanted to treat people like we would want to be treated.
We contacted all guests and announced it was postponed and that we were waiting for further WRU and Government instructions. Thankfully a huge portion of our guests understood and were happy with the situation. We thank you for that from the bottom of our hearts as that time gave us a fighting chance to survive as a company. The event currently is due to be held on October 31st as Wales take on Scotland. Wether we have a second wave and it will put our event in jeopardy again, who knows - nobody knows right now. But what we do know is that we cannot wait to be able to host large scale events once again when it is deemed safe to do so. We love nothing more than to see our guests enjoying themselves in an event we have organised from scratch. We are committed to providing a warm friendly event in the safest of circumstances come October.
The scramble on that day will never be forgotten, although it seems like a long time ago now, but I’m delighted that we are now looking forward to the future.
With 2 young children and a wife who works for Government, lockdown has been a challeninging time for me personanlly, but now in this blog I have the perfect opportunity to officially thank Owain for keeping things ticking over with the company, his drive and determination and creativity makes him one of the best in the buisness and I’m so glad to have him by my side on this journey.
One thing we do know is that we supply guests with a superb experience at our events where they leave feeling they know us as a company but also our vip guests, sometimes they also get to see us dance. But Owain has used his media production background to push our podcasts in this Covid period and I know he will speak more about that in another blog. But it shows us, that as a company we can adapt, we are vertsatile and we hope to expand in the media and corporate video market sector as we step into the future.
If you’ve read all of this… thank you - I do tend to ramble on. But I also hope it’s bought some of you in the event industry some solice, you are not alone and we welcome joint ventures and are open to communicaton with others as we step towards 2021, which will be an extremely important and crucial year for all of us in the events sector. Let’s look out and support each other.
I wish you all the best and our door is always open.