Holding Companies Tighten Travel Restrictions As Conferences Near Go-No-Go Decisions

The coronavirus has been officially declared a global pandemic and holding companies are tightening travel policies further and providing more options for working remotely. 

For example, sources at WPP companies say staffers worldwide who have any concerns about going to the office can opt to work remotely. At Omnicom and other firms, assessments are being made at the agency level about capabilities for staff to work remotely. 

Both WPP and Omnicom are restricting travel to large-scale meetings, events and conferences. Exceptions must be approved and client-related. Others have imposed or are considering similar policies. 

That’s not great news for event organizers, but obviously, it’s just one of many factors being considered by trade groups as they consider the rescheduling of upcoming conferences. Not surprisingly and appropriately, the groups say health concerns for all parties involved is the No. 1 concern. 

Organizers at a number of ad marketing conferences are rapidly approaching go-no-go decision time on key events, most notably the Cannes Lions festival, which earlier today said it had secured alternative October dates for its Festival of Creativity, which for the time being remains scheduled for June. 



The ANA has its annual media conference coming up later this month in Florida and for now. the group says the event is a go as scheduled, while stressing that it’s monitoring coronavirus-related developments closely. 

Ditto the 4As, which has its Decisions 2020 conference coming up in New York next month. It, too, is monitoring developments closely but for now, the event remains scheduled for April 20-21. “We continue to evaluate the timing” of the event, the group stated, “and will announce any changes as soon as possible.” 

Earlier this week, the 4As postponed its Management Practitioners Forum, which had been set for late March in Chicago, to a date to be determined in the fall.



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