Oracle NetSuite is the latest vendor to feel the impact of Coronavirus on its annual conference. It has decided to postpone its conference until later in the year. A statement on the Suiteworld website stated: “Due to increasing concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and to help protect the health and safety of our customers, employees, partners and everyone who helps host the event, Oracle NetSuite is postponing SuiteWorld20, originally scheduled for April 20 – 23, 2020 in Las Vegas, until August 10 – 13, 2020. The event will still be held at The Venetian Resort and the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.”
SuiteWorld registrations will be transferred automatically. Sensibly NetSuite is allowing attendees to cancel with no fees and full reimbursement. However, attendees will need to check with their airlines around changing their flights to the middle of the summer vacation period.
Why postpone and not cancel or hold a virtual conference
That it has chosen not to cancel or convert the conference into a virtual one is interesting. The decision may have been helped by flexibility from Sands Expo, which will have been keen not to have completely lost out on revenue that the event generates. NetSuite equally would not have wanted to foot some of the cancellation fees for little gain.
It also may have learnt from a virtual conference it sponsored last year, held by one of its partners, Verenia. Last year Verenia held its first Sales Acceleration Conference, this was a virtual conference which streamed content from Verenia and other presenters and sponsors. It has not so far been repeated by the company. Having said that Salesforce WorldTour Sydney did go virtual. Although Salesforce often streams keynotes and presentations from Dreamforce and already had an audience that is used to this. The problem with virtual conferences is that there is often little interaction between attendees and organisers, limiting sales opportunities and relationship building.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
The problem with Coronavirus is that it is unlikely to disappear as quickly as it arrived. When will business as usual resume? If the vaccine is readily available it may reduce the risk to that of Flu. Until that happens, or the virus is brought under complete control, it is possible that events may not be held. It will be interesting to see whether SuiteWorld still goes ahead in August. Hopefully it will and Enterprise Times hopes to be there.