Rivers of ink will run for a while about the cancellation – only few days before the start – of the World Mobile Congress. The explanations from the government about the health security in Barcelona, or the security measures that were to be imposed on the participants of the event upon their arrival at the congress venue, are useless.
Those were not the cause of the cancellation, nor is the host city that caused it either, but the city will sure be the one to pay the price.
It is time to quantify losses in all sectors and see how compensations will or will not be collected. For the first time in the more than 25 years that I have been organizing international events, I will see what does that clause in all our contracts with the hotels actually cover, how valid it is, and when does it really come to “force majeure”.
We will see how the hotels in Barcelona manage in this case, as well as the various spaces that I suppose had been reserved for the different events to be held in the context of Mobile.
I imagine that the success to receive the compensations or not will depend on how good the hired lawyers are.
The stipulation about “force majeure” gives a lot of room for interpretations, but I think that the cancellation of Mobile will mark a turning point in the way to formulate this clause in the hotel contracts of the future.
As for the millions of dollars lost by the convention center, they will have to negotiate in such a way that, in order to secure the event for 2021, they do not tighten the screws too much with the amount of the penalties so as not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
An event of this magnitude, contracted until 2023, means an injection of millions for the city, which are already on the books years in advance. The somehow negative aspect of this is that, when something as unexpected as what happened now destroys this year’s financial security, it undoubtedly generates uncertainty for the following years’ editions.
The fact remains that, what the terrorist attacks or Greta’s preaching not to fly have not achieved, a virus has. Never has the air in China’s cities been as unpolluted as it has been in recent weeks.
And the question I ask myself is, how will this influence the future of international events from now on? We will surely see big changes in the formulation of contracts, with copious amounts of small print.