We’re at DORSCON Orange.
The coronavirus that hit Wuhan and the rest of the world have very clearly affected businesses globally, especially those in the travel and events industry. Our event-support partners have shared with us their pain when clients cancel bookings and events, for fear of the virus spreading further locally.
Although Senior Health Correspondent Salma Khalik of the Straits Times argued that it is still safe to attend events with large crowds, it is understandable that most employers want to er on the side of caution for fear of causing further distress to their businesses. This fear has caused multiple cancellations of team building, family day and dinner and dance events in our industry. While we have not experienced many cancellations for events booked with Get Out! Events our team remains cautiously optimistic about our business in the coming months.
We feel that it is an appropriate time now to share more about what goes on behind the scenes at Get Out! and share with the industry the estimated amount of time and cost we spend when we plan a corporate event for our clients.
- Event Coordinator (Projects team) – $3,600/month, $180/day, $23/hour
- Sales Manager (Sales team) – $4,800/month, $240/day, $30/hour
- Sales Assistant (Sales team) – $3,000/month, $150/day, $19/hour
- Intern – $1,200/month, $60/day, $7.50/hour
New Enquiries – 30 minutes x 1 Sales Manager – $15
When we receive an enquiry from clients, usually from our online enquiry form, a member of our sales team often makes a call back to the client within 15 minutes to clarify and answer questions that the client has. We also ask for more information about any requirements that may have left out in the enquiry form.
Standup Meeting – 60 minutes x 3 staff – $72
The sales team member will then hold a standup meeting with the project manager allocated to this potential Event. An intern will also sit into this meeting. During this meeting, the team explores all possibilities from different programmes to venues. They also decide on the talents and event-support partners we will work with for the Event. At the end of this meeting, we’ll have a reasonably good idea of what we intend to propose to the client, so the sales team member (and sometimes an intern) gets to work on a budget and proposal.
Event Budget – 4 to 8 hours x 2 staff – $106
Members from the sales and projects team then reach out to the potential venues and event-support partners to check on their availability and latest rates. The team then place soft-bookings with our partners and the team then start building the event budget in our propriety software called Budget Builder (see screenshot below).
The sales team, together with the projects team typically creates 5-10 versions of a budget before it is finally approved by a manger. Since 2019, we have changed the way we build our event budgets:
- We offer full transparency. We list everything that we propose to clients in our budgets, with an accompanying price. Our internal mark-up guideline is 5% on every line item to cater to slight price fluctuations or last-minute changes. We do not offer “packaged” pricing.
- The fee we charge corresponds to the amount of work we estimate needs to be done for the Event. A ballpark figure we use is $3k/month for our team to work on a client’s Event. Therefore, if the planning takes four months then generally our fees will be $12k.
Event Proposal – 4 to 8 hours x 2 staff – $106
Only after we have a final budget does the team start working on a proposal for the client. Depending on the Event’s complexity, this may take 4 hours to 36 business hours to complete.
Misc Expenses – 2 hours – $60
All the above work done assumes no phone calls, email replies and meetings with prospective clients. Generally, a manager spends about 2 hours on the phone with a prospect for clarification before a proposal is accepted or rejected. This estimate takes into account phone and email clarifications.
Without calculating any overheads, by this time we would have invested at least $360 on this proposal. Our team at Get Out! works on 5-8 new proposal plans per day, and this adds up to about $2,000 per day spent on generating budgets and proposal files.
When a client signs on our formal quotation, we proceed to sign back-to-back quotes with our event partners. When cancellations happen, we honour our contracts with our event partners and pay any cancellation fees that are due. Likewise, we’ve been lucky to have minimal cancellations till date and almost all our clients honour due cancellation fees. If we are unable to get a client to acknowledge their cancellation fees for any reason, then we stand to lose a lot. We lose the client, the Event, the time spent on preparing for the Event, and cancellation fees that we payout.
We have spoken to our event partners, including venue operators, talents, and event support services, and over 80% of our partners have agreed to offer a fee-less cancellation (read: FREE) in the Event the virus pandemic becomes worse in Singapore. This offer applies to all events booked with Get Out! from 9 February 2020 until further notice.
What’s the Catch?
With all good things come bad sheep. There is a caveat to this free cancellation clause. We will recognise only one Just Cause for this cancellation, and that is if the Singapore government raises the DORSCON level to Red. For the avoidance of doubt, if the Singapore Government raises DORSCON level to Red, any clients who have signed contracts with us (that contains this updated cancellation clause) will be given the option to cancel or postpone their Event at no additional charge. Pertaining to this additional clause, no other cancellation reasons will be accepted unless we both agree.
If our client chooses to postpone the Event, then the new date will be subject to the availability of our team, our partners, and the venue. Our team will source for alternatives if the primary choices are no longer available. Worst case, clients can cancel the Event, get a refund of any deposits paid, and book their Event in the future when the situation becomes better.
Why are we doing this?
We believe that the only way out of this crisis is to work together with our clients and partners. It is our responsibility as professional event managers to think of solutions to problems, and there is nothing more significant than the Coronavirus situation in Singapore at the moment.
This model of risk-sharing between Get Out! and our event partners is the best way to give assurance to our clients that they do not end up drawing the short straw. This model also ensures that neither Get Out! nor our event partners stand to benefit in any way from a cancellation. This model keeps us aligned with our clients, and it is in line with our principle.
We’re praying and keeping our fingers crossed for this to be over soon. In the meantime, life must go on! Stay safe, and see you at your next event!
Felix & Stacy
p.s. You can find a duplicate of this page on Archive.org. There’s no turning back now!