Facilities & Destinations Fall 2020

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NAVIGATING THE CRISIS Four tips for planners to preserve their physical, mental and financial health By Kate Patay


o one had a playbook for what 2020 has thrown our way. Whether it was COVID-19, wildfires, politics or home schooling, this year has affected all of us and our businesses in some way. What I know for sure is that there are ways to not only survive this crisis, but thrive in it. While chairing a crisis relief foundation for event professionals during the most widespread crisis we’ll all likely face in our lifetimes, and simultaneously keeping a hospitality consulting business afloat, I’ve learned a thing or two. Four things to be exact, and I’ll share them with you after a little story … March 11, 2020. Las Vegas. The SEARCH Foundation is preparing to host its largest fundraiser to date in conjunction with TSE/Catersource and raise funds for event professionals in need. We know COVID is going to affect us in a big way and we know grant requests for crisis relief are going to skyrocket, so we’re focused on a safe, distanced event with some of the best meeting minds in the country (shout out to the SEARCH Event Team) to execute this successfully. As we were doing final walkthroughs and opening doors, a global pandemic was officially announced and the first case of Coronavirus in Las Vegas was reported — within 60 minutes of each other. Long story short, Planet Hollywood/Caesars Entertainment and CORT Events were amazing in accommodating our event parameters with proper distancing. We not only had our last in-person event for the foreseeable future, but we raised a record amount of funds while everyone’s phones dinged with cancelled events throughout that night (and the next few months). Since that time, we have banded together in a way like I’ve never witnessed. I’m watching companies and individuals recreate themselves and what events look like to ensure we safely find our way back to face-to-face meetings. The instantaneous switch from live to virtual to this new chapter of hybrid events is an exciting time for our industry to truly show its creative side and come out better, stronger and more nimble. Am I always this positive? No. I have my days. I’m more of a realist, but I see the innovations in technology, as well as safety and sanitation, that will pave the road to recovery. If you’re struggling to find that path, here are four things you can do on personal and business levels to bring clarity:


I’ve said this before quarantine and I’ll say it long after: Always have your important tasks and your must-do’s scheduled. I tend 44

to schedule mine early in the day for two reasons: It makes me get up and ready instead of procrastinating, and I find my creative streak is highest in the morning. But if you are most creative at 11 p.m., then have your schedule reflect that. For example, I’ll never take a call at 3:30 p.m. because I’m usually distracted and hangry. So create a schedule based on what works for you.


This looks different to everyone, but you can’t take care of others if you’re not your best self. Up until February my version of healthy was working out five days a week. Now I give myself a win if I get in two workouts. Maybe it’s one more homecooked meal than usual, or just listening to your Apple Watch when it tells you to stand up and breathe. Celebrate the little wins … it’s great for your mental health.

We have banded together in a way like I’ve never witnessed. I’m watching companies and individuals recreate themselves and what events look like to ensure we safely find our way back to face-to-face meetings. SET BOUNDARIES

If you don’t have boundaries in place your #WorkFromHome may quickly turn into #LiveAtWork. I set firm boundaries not only with time, but also with consumption of news and social media. Too much information can be toxic. Stay informed, but don’t let negativity take over. I appreciate differing opinions in my circle of friends in-person and online, but the minute one turns ugly as opposed to informative I push pause. Please work to be OK with varying opinions, but know when it’s just not a battle worth fighting.


I’ve seen event planners create partnerships with venues to be able to sell two dates to clients, so they have a target date and a Plan B. I’ve also seen companies stay afloat by planning Continued on inside back cover