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April 4, 2008
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Mark Trevor: Make sure you plan for the postal strike




The impact of the recent postal strike on the UK economy has been severe with a recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce finding that 88% of businesses had been adversely affected. And the events and conference industry is no more immune to the damage that postal delays can cause.

Much like the extreme weather of the summer, the postal strike is another of those external factors that conference and event organisers could not predict, but which could well jeopardise the success of an event and its profitability.

A disrupted postal service can hit anything from a pre-show direct mail marketing programme to logistical difficulties, such as the delivery of an exhibitor's stand materials. Again, like planning for alternative venues in case of bad weather, event organisers should always consider what their contingency strategy would be in the case of a change in external factors completely beyond their control.

Crucially, this contingency planning should always look at the lifetime of the event (including the planning and set-up time) rather than simply the show days themselves.

While many organisers will have minimised the impact of the strike by significantly investing in technology (enabling online registration, for example), others, without this capability, will not be as fortunate.

The postal strike of the last few weeks will certainly have added itself to one of those risk factors that organisers need to consider.

Mark Trevor is managing director of event insurer Insurex.


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