What Comes Next?
It’s not just a catchy lyric delivered by King George III in Hamilton.
- a lyric, by the way, that will stick in your head for days….
It’s a question that we have been asking each other for some time now. Even though this pandemic is far from over, we are starting to believe that it will indeed be over some day. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
Our industry has been decimated. This is not news. Our friends in the hotel world, in restaurants, airlines, travel staff, corporate planners, or even independent planners like us…we have all been rocked like nothing we have ever experienced. We can’t say if we are anywhere near the end, but I can tell you this:
At least for ONYX, we’re still standing!
Do we look like we did this time last year? Not at all. We have figured out how to work effectively and virtually. We have learned that we can do everything virtually that we used to do in person, including happy hour. Working virtually though, is probably going to be a lot like camping. The first day or two are fun but squatting in the woods loses its luster over time. Nothing beats a warm bathroom on a cold morning.
Are virtual meetings, and no concerts or movies, what our world will look like for the next generation? I doubt it. You only have to take part in a Zoom or Teams meeting where you spend so much time telling people, “You’re on mute Sharon.”
“You’re still muted.”
“Amie, we can only see your forehead.”
“Whose dog is that barking?”
“Doug, move out from in front of the window. You’re just a silhouette.”
I know; we’ve all been there.
Maybe it’s just that by nature, meeting planners are more social, but we have all talked to enough people to know that there is a real desire to get back to meeting in person. Being stuck at home was kind of fun for the first month or so, but I think I speak for us all when I say:
“We’re over it!”
There is not enough content on Netflix to keep this going.
My wife and I are down to re-watching old murder mystery shows where we’ve forgotten who did it. That has turned out to be kind of a fun thing, seeing if we can remember who the killer was. It’s almost just as fun as watching the first time around…but not quite.
So how is 2021 shaping up for us?
It could be worse.
I hate to even guess what next year holds, since we all sucked so bad at guessing what 2020 was going to be like. Nonetheless, we think 2021 is looking brighter. We have a few meetings in the Spring and all indications are that our clients are stirring around and starting to wake up from what seems like a long hibernation.
We are tired of being slapped around by 2020 and we have our eyes set on January 2021. You think that’s an unrealistic outlook based on wishful thinking and no basis in reality?
But think about this. If you take a dollar bill out of your wallet (or purse, as the case may be) and look at it; let me ask you this:
Why is that piece of paper worth $1?
It’s worth $1 because we all agree that it’s worth $1. As soon as you lose faith that it’s worth a $1, its value is in jeopardy. I know it sounds crazy, but that is our entire monetary system…and not just ours. Money is just a made-up thing.
Hey, I get that believing in the security of a dollar and believing that Covid will be under control in 2021 are two different things. And yet, having confidence that as a nation, we will prevail, is not naïve or foolish. Our industry is adapting to new health measures. We all understand social distancing and masks. Hotels are changing the way they do business, companies like ONYX are changing the way we do business, all with the desire to get us all back on a track that leads out of Crazytown and back into a world of handshakes, hugs, dinners together, and maybe a group happy hour here and there.
What comes next?