Natasha Miller expected her San Francisco event planning company to organize more than 600 events this year, basking in the glory of previous corporate parties planned for corporations such as Google and Yelp.
As more cases of coronavirus are confirmed globally, Entire Productions feels the crimp caused by the outbreak as her clients are “pulling the plug” on contracts.
“They’re not giving us solid postponement dates,” Miller, the company’s president and CEO, told USA TODAY. “My prediction is that my business will make 50% less of what it expected to do, if not less.”
From local venues to major music festivals such as Coachella and South by Southwest (SXSW), organizers are canceling or postponing events throughout the country because of the outbreak of COVID-19.
More than 15 events have canceled on Entire Productions. According to Miller, the company, which has 10 full-time employees, suffered a loss of more than $15,000 in the past month alone.
Miller is braced ifor four to six more weeks of cancellations. She hopes events get back on track over the course of the summer.
“None of this is going to allow us to make up for the lost revenue and growth,” she said.
The event planning business generates $325 billion of direct spending in the USA and helps support more than 5.9 million jobs with $249 billion of labor income, according to an Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council study in 2018.
‘No Income at all for this month’
Smaller-scale event planners also feel a high level of uncertainty. JL Imagination in San Francisco, which provides design and audiovisual elements for weddings and private parties, lost all seven events it booked this month, including one hosted by Stanford University, according to Patty Pedreschi, director of sales and marketing.
“Every event has been canceled for March,” Pedreschi said. “That means there’s no income at all for this month.”
The ripple effects of all of the cancellations are felt by freelancers and contractors who book gigs with event planning companies.
As a freelance disc jockey, Kim Marie Abellana relies on music events to make a living, but cancellations continue to pile up. She’s lost $3,000 in revenue, she said.
“I’m going to be out of work and not generating any income for I don’t know how long,” Abellana said. “I’m going to be broke and worry about what my next step is going to be.”
David Poller is one of the freelance photographers who voiced their concerns on social media over cancellations and delays.
Poller was set to work for a start-up in California, providing photography sessions for the company’s website.
“On Monday, he called me, and he said that due to the market slump, we’re going to cut back on our plan for this proposal,” Poller said.
The proposal, depending on what the start-up would have chosen as a final product, had a cost that ranged from $800 to $7,000.