Column Marije Breuker: ‘Common sense’

The week of July 1, it feels almost like describing the great “Enlightenment” of the 18th century, which followed dogmatic authority belief. The philosopher René Descartes set the tone for the enlightenment with the statement
Cogito ergo sum
( I think therefore I am) the keynote of enlightenment. Only through the use of reason and common sense does one arrive at truth. A copy paste from the distant past that is very applicable to the present. Common sense is being applied more and more which is thoroughly benefiting our hard hit industry and slowly leading us step by step to reality towards the environment of the pre-corona era as far as possible.

Nevertheless, our Prime Minister remains very cautious in his authority on travel advice. Many countries are still (rightly or wrongly?) at code Orange. The outdated and somewhat dusty slogan “travel wisely” is being re-enacted. A short but powerful piece of advice that has nothing to do with it and it sticks just fine. But our prime minister is also forming a more personal opinion about certain destinations, “unwise and irresponsible. Words from a leader that are not really helping our industry now unfortunately.

My clients are usually also leaders of (large) companies and actually they do not think differently initially, among them still the entrepreneurs with additional positive doubt. For this reason, the international convention and incentive industry is unfortunately still on inactive status and I fear it will remain so for some time. I speak to my clients on a regular basis and one thing is for sure, the way the mice industry entered the Corona era it will not come out of it. Many companies extend their event and travel policies on a longer term basis. Where initially there was a lot of procrastination there now seems to be a reversal to procrastination.

So a lot of doubts. And that, of course, raises concerns. There is a need to first pragmatically take various balances, wait for a vaccine, and then develop a good sense that there really is room again for live events with larger gatherings to be appropriate. No one wants their signature in a potential superspread event. Sometimes it feels like the nightmare is getting more and more intense.

Then again, the positive dot on the horizon is to hear that online events replace what is necessary for now, but do not find a foundation toward permanently replacing real live meetings. The latter is fortunately sensually really missed. I also notice that more than ever, companies want to identify risks. Before the Corona crisis the focus was on value creation, concept development and organization of an event, now extensive (financial) risk analysis dominates. It produces a list of questions that even for me as an organizer, unfortunately, not all of them can be answered.

Certainly not with preparation times of months. Will the (reputable) hotel still exist in six months? Will the airline still be operational in a few months? If the client does not want to accept any risk, should (and will) I take it on completely while earning only a fraction over the value of the large budget? On Facebook, you can so particularly click the relationship status “it’s complicated” and sometimes it feels that way in the sometimes newly reborn relationship with the client when I don’t want it to be complicated at all. On the contrary!

Descartes’ motto was ‘dare to doubt’, we think therefore we are. The way to examine ourselves and the world around us. That research is in full swing among many. Not blindly following the beliefs of others but thinking critically and logically. Only when we doubt everything do we stumble upon something that is beyond doubt. Unfortunately, it is still a very long way to the truth in this extraordinary period.

At the request of MICE & Business Travel, Marije Breuker, founder of Motivation Travel keeps a weekly diary about her experiences during the corona crisis. This is part 5.

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