Last week we sent the following message to our Chautauqua mailing list. I also wanted to share it with you:
Sometimes it just feels like the Universe is speaking to you. If you are like me and it is telling you something you don’t want to hear, you can be slow to listen.
Since moving Chautauqua to Europe, we have had a policy of “laying eyes” in person on any venue we consider. The venues we chose for Chautauqua are a critical part of the mix and just looking at slick websites is not enough.
We send at least a couple members of our team to not only visit potential sites in person, but to stay for a couple of days and experience them first hand.
This takes time, costs money and may seem excessive, but it is one of the reasons each Euro venue has been so spectacular. And, at least once, it has saved us from booking a place that would have been a disaster.
Last year and so far this year, we have been unable to make the time to vet our potential sites for Croatia. So recently we decided to return to one of our proven favorites. Unfortunately, only one of those could accommodate us at our preferred times and then only for one week.
This was disappointing as we prefer hosting at least two Chautauquas each year. But, still, one week was cool and certainly worth doing.
Just as we were finalizing that week and venue, one of our team members received some terrible news. A close family member was taken seriously ill. This, of course, made difficult their long range planning. So we worked out a plan to find another great speaker to fill their role if needed.
And then, well then this little old Coronavirus burst upon the scene.
To be clear, my bet is come September, we’ll have trouble remembering the name “Coronavirus” but for now it is capturing all the headlines. And now is when people will have to make their Chautauqua travel decisions.
Still, the fact that we were only planning one week and demand is so high for these events, filling it really wasn’t a concern. The kind of people Chautauqua attracts are not easily cowed by headlines.
However, while I am pretty damn sure this virus will be yesterday’s news come fall, I have been wrong before.
The chance may be small, but there is a chance that it will still be around and possibly worse. Then we are in the situation of having to cancel the event, refund attendees money and be out-of-pocket for costs to that point. That’s real money lost and we hate losing money!
Finally, the Universe was talking my money language and it sunk in. Chautauqua, and our Chautauqua team, needed to take the year off and let all these events run their course.
Doing otherwise just feels irresponsible.
We know this is going to seriously disappoint many of you, and we hate to do that. We also very much appreciate your enthusiastic support and your inquires as to when the dates and tickets would be released. We’ll miss doing it every bit as much as you’ll miss joining us.
But we’ll be back in 2021 with everything fully vetted. Hope to see you then!
Meanwhile stay healthy and grow prosperous!