As Hurricane Matthew spirals up the east coast, news stories turn to those moving inland for safety and to others who have had to change their wedding or event plans for the weekend. Natural disasters often spawn good and bad behaviors from individuals and businesses. News reports of event venues stepping in to save the day for the bride and groom can be overshadowed by lost deposits and greedy price gougers taking advantage of the situation. But do we get the whole story in the two-minute video or 500 words presented?
In defense of all east coast event venues, a hurricane is an act of nature that cannot be avoided. Each venue has policies that must be met and costs that must be covered. However, when disaster strikes and the client shoulders the consequences, it makes one wonder if the event planner did his/her homework before choosing the venue. It’s made us at the Clarence Brown Conference Center evaluate how we might be rated if natural disaster interrupted our clients’ events.
Whether you are planning a destination wedding or planning your office holiday party, do your homework and choose your venue wisely. Meet with the venue’s event planning team well in advance of making a deposit. Ultimately as a client it is your responsibility to ask the “What If…” questions, but it’s the venue staff’s responsibility to guide you through their policies and procedures – including their Force Majeure clause. If the venue does not have a clause that addresses their responsibility should uncontrollable circumstances force your event to be cancelled, you might want to rethink the venue.
Consider who the ultimate decision makers are when it comes to policy enforcement. Is your venue operated by offsite corporate management, a public authority or board of directors, or an independent business owner? The Clarence Brown Conference Center, is operated by the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau through an intergovernmental agreement between Bartow County and City of Cartersville. Yes, we have policies concerning deposits, event payments and refunds; however, we also have compassionate leadership that seeks good will by putting community first. And, that community extends well beyond our neighbors in Georgia. Rest assured that if a natural disaster strikes, the Clarence Brown Conference Center team will work diligently to find solutions at other venues, or to reschedule your event at the earliest possible date. With the drive to exceed all expectations, we understand that business is business, but good character is priceless.