It is not the first event to be postponed and will not be the last but the cancellation (indefinitely…) of the MET Gala is particularly meaningful being a worldwide known event.
The event industry on the edge of bankruptcy
Everything started with the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress which was supposed to take place in Barcelona from the 24th to the 27th of February. The largest conference dedicated to the mobile industry decided not to held the event because many of its exhibitors and buyers were from China and Asia. It was a couple of weeks before the outbreak in Italy and in Europe of the so-called COVID-19 virus.
When the virus started to spread around Italy and Europe all of the events which were supposed to take place in convention centres, exhibition halls and concert arenas were put on hold, postponed or cancelled.
This caused a fall in profits of these venues for events, a never seen before vertical collapse which is now having a huge impact on the finances of the major venue management companies throughout the world.
No events means also that no one is travelling to destinations for these large gatherings of people. Hence hotels and airlines started to see cancellations of about 70%, 80% of their bookings.
The most of these events though were strictly business related and eventhough are usually considered extremely relevant in their respective sector or industry, were not widely known so their cancellation did not made the news.
For those who do not work in the event industry it is hard to understand the huge economic losses that the coronavirus is bearing with it. And it took a while before the many most reliable sources of information decided to report on their pages about the meeting industry and its value. This is why the cancellation of the MET Gala becomes extremely relevant.
The MET Gala cancellation and the repercussions on the NY event industry
Just last Thursday the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) announced its closure due the surge in people who tested positive for coronavirus in the New York state and according to Vogue an email was sent to all the museum’s employees who were informed about the extension of this measure at least till April the 4th.
Additionally according to the new measures adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all events with over 50 participants are to be cancelled in the whole area of New York, and this included the MET Gala.
The Gala, which is worldwide known to be the most eccentric manifestation of wealth, glamour and luxury is not just about gowns and paparazzi, there are plenty of suppliers which every year dedicate their major efforts to put together such a prestigious occasion.
Decorators, florists, scenographers, catering companies and then PR agencies, private security services, drivers and many other professionals are going to be deeply affected by this decision. The MET Gala cancellation to an indefinite date means a loss in this quarter profits for a wide range of companies.
The same thing that has just happened to the suppliers and workers of that medical conference which just got cancelled in Milan, or that corporate convention which was supposed to take place in Barcelona.
This is why the sad news about the MET Gala is somehow more relevant to the meeting industry professionals rather than to the fashionistas out there. This cancellation once again turns on the spotlight on the economic impact of the event industry worldwide.