421 Days Ago
421 days. No one could guess back in February how the world would almost completely shut down, nor that it would be shut down for so long. We had no idea how much it would affect our everyday lives, but in a bigger way, how it might decimate several industries. Hotels were shut down (some still are), over 60% of the industry workforce was suddenly furloughed or laid off (or furloughed and then laid off). Flights were canceled or at limited capacity. Live events came to a full stop with many smaller event/conference planning individuals and companies, not to mention their vendor partners, going out of business. As a conference planner who grew up in and got my start in the Hotel industry, I felt this hard stop down to my soul.
C3 is ready for take off!
I was one of the lucky few that kept my job, albeit modified, through the pandemic and continue to work. I count my blessings on that, but what we are coming back to will be very different. The face of travel is changed – likely forever. Many of these changes are for the best and long overdue, such as increased cleaning procedures and other precautions, while others I fear may end up hurting the industry – such as less and overworked staff members. Time will tell on all that, but in the meantime, I’m itching to get back out there.
421 days ago, was the last time I stepped foot on a plane. I was coming home from a lovely week in Florida; playing on the beach, visiting Disney and Universal. Aside from a nasty bout of the flu that went from Hubby to C3, then to me on a smaller scale on our way home, it was a great trip. Even ending on the bad note of the aforementioned flu while waiting through 4 hours of plane delays, didn’t ruin it for me. Or maybe it’s like childbirth, you just forget the pain and remember the overall experience. It is also perhaps extra rose-colored by the fact that it was the last time I would be in an airport, take such a big trip, plan all sorts of fun activities and just do the tourist thing for over a year.
That is not to say I haven’t traveled in that year. We did several road trips -to a lake house in Pennsylvania and beach houses in New Jersey and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I even got to spend one exciting night in a hotel by myself! It was only 45 minutes up the road and it was for work, but it was the closest thing to my normal that I had felt in a while.
Hilton Old Town Alexandria
95 days. That’s how long until the next time I get on a plane. It will be interesting to see firsthand what the airport will be like, or what the hotels will look like. I will be part of the planning team for a tradeshow, that has in the past brought in approximately 2000 attendees, so we are learning what that will take to pull off. I do know, that I will bring my patience pants and be extra friendly to all my front-line, overworked (many working several positions) and underpaid hospitality brothers and sisters who have had a very long year.
Looking towards the future in travel and events
I will be sure to report back on what all this looks like, but if you have traveled recently, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!