To Our Community,
We here with Corgi Events first and foremost, would like to acknowledge the concerns you have regarding COVID-19 and its effects both potential and actual upon our unique and beautiful community. We have always strived to provide transparency in our plans and the reasoning behind them wherever possible. We have always made every effort to make our conventions, your conventions, and to include the community, it's values, it's concerns and it's desires in our decision making. It is with that in mind that we will attempt to provide answers regarding the various aspects of our plan going forward.
Something that has perhaps been poorly communicated for years within the furry community is the nature of convention contracts. Understanding these is key to explaining precisely where many conventions, including your own, stand in this difficult time for our community as well as our entire world. What will follow is a less-than-brief explanation of some of what is involved in these contracts. It will be a peek into what goes on behind the curtain, as opposed to speaking to the 'wizard' as so many conventions have insisted upon up until now.
Conventions are bound by contracts between the convention company (regardless of tax designation), and their hotel. Hotel and convention space contracts are negotiated in a variety of ways dependent upon the nature of the event, the size of the event, and the space required. Hotel venues will require a minimum number of rooms booked for a minimum total number of nights, which is known as the 'room block'. Convention center venues will require a minimum amount of space rented at a certain cost per square foot or per room, which may vary depending on total space rented and time rented for. Either or both may increase or decrease the number of rooms or space to be paid for by requiring a certain amount of food and beverage be purchased by the convention or its attendees. The latter is known as "F & B" for food and beverage, and usually excludes purchases in the hotel bar and or restaurant.
There are many additional factors which may be involved. Cities and even State governments may become involved when a convention grows large enough to have a significant local economic impact or even become an important part of the cities seasonal identity. The best example of this is of course the special and beautiful relationship between the city of Pittsburgh and Anthrocon. What is less well known but something of pleasant note in this context is the interest the City of Denver and state of Colorado have taken in our very own Denfur convention and how they would like to encourage your continued growth as part of that beautiful and vibrant city
Once a contract is signed between a convention, it's board, it's owner, or its parent company and the hotel(s) or convention center, it becomes a legally binding agreement like any other. The convention has agreed that they will draw enough attendees to fill the rooms they've agreed to, for the total number of nights they have agreed to and that these attendees or the convention will purchase the agreed upon value of food and beverages. The latter takes the form of sponsor dinners, cocktail hours, sponsor lounge food, snacks provided at certain events, meals provided to convention staff, and purchases at pop-ups. It is worth noting that purchasing upgraded registration or making food and beverage purchases at pop-ups whenever possible helps to support your convention, as does rooming in the main hotel when possible. This is true of any convention regardless of size or venue.
All legal contracts have their own legal language which is specific to their nature. Hotel contracts contain special terms such as 'slippage' and 'attrition', as well as 'impossibility'. To explain further it will be important to define these terms. Slippage is a part of the room block, and what it entails is that while a convention may say they will fill 1000 room nights, but the 'slippage' may be ten percent. This means that if the convention fills 900 room nights, they will be considered to have met their obligation within their 'slippage'. When the room block fills less than the amount agreed upon, and less than the amount of slippage the convention is given this is called 'attrition'. Attrition is when a convention does not meet or exceed their room block and the total number of room-nights booked is below their 'slippage'. The convention is then responsible for paying the difference to the hotel or paying a specified cash penalty, or other terms that may have been agreed upon.
Finally, and of great importance here is the 'impossibility' clause. Many lay-persons know this as the 'act of god' clause from movies and TV, and that is a part of it. The impossibility clause comes into effect when the contract, or the event, cannot happen through no fault of the hotel or the convention. This can be due to a natural or manmade disaster, war, civil unrest, act of terrorism, strikes, government regulations, or any other circumstance that makes it illegal or impossible to host the event. This clause is important because many conventions have for the first time in our communities history, had to invoke this clause in their contracts. Other conventions anticipate having to invoke this clause, however it is of great importance to note and understand that this must be mutually agreed upon between the event and the hotel or enforced by the government. The 'act of god' portion of the impossibility clause does not in and of itself include a 'public health crisis', without the government on a local, county, state or Federal level prohibiting our event from taking place.
To complicate matters, the boundaries between State, County, City, Local, Municipal, and
incorporated/unincorporated governance are irregular and arbitrary.For example; did you know
that 'the Strip' in Las Vegas is separately governed from the rest of the city of Las Vegas?A
part of 'unincorporated Clark County', with a separate executive officer, not under the
jurisdiction of the mayor of Las Vegas.This is an extreme example, but it illustrates how one
event may be able to cancel while another might be unable to do so in the same city in the same
time frame. Other factors that come into play is the sheer size of the convention and its
history. It is important to remember the largest furry convention in the world, Midwest Fur Fest
is approximately 1/16ththe size of San Diego Comicon.These factors become important in
determining the flexibility that may exist in a contract, or what consideration the local
government may give to an event.
With all of the above in mind, we cannot "just cancel" when we choose to or when the public feels we should regardless of our personal feelings on the matter. So far in our experience and more or less universally amongst conventions, if the hotels/venues have not been informed by the local government that on the convention dates specifically there will be a ban on large gatherings, the hotels are holding to the contracts. This isn't cruel, mean, or uncaring on the part of the hotels; currently travel and hospitality industries worldwide are suffering terribly and they are doing what they can to pay their staff and expenses. Much like the airlines, a hotel cannot simply lock the doors and put up a 'closed' sign. Many hotels are themselves beholden to contracts with various government agencies and private industries to have rooms ready in the event they are needed. They also require maintenance to all manner of equipment and facilities that cannot be left to sit or they will suffer damage. As a result they are reluctant to cancel any contract they are not required to.
Outside of the paragraph above, there is no way for a convention to cancel at leisure once a contract has been signed. If this was attempted, our events would no longer happen as the finances to pay a hotel for an entire convention without hosting it simply do not exist. This is not merely an issue facing Corgi Events but nearly all conventions. While the funds may be there to pay the hotel, doing so without hosting the event and the funds attendance generate would mean there would be no ability to host conventions in the future. Any shortfall would be the responsibility of the signors of the contract. Many conventions also have signed multi-year contracts and the inability to fulfill one does not cancel the future ones automatically. So the convention may have to host or pay for the facilities for years to come without any ability. Since this does not come into effect, conventions are at the mercy of local governments in this regard. Below you can see an email answer we were met with when a concern was voiced.
At this time, in the case of Corgi Events, like so many conventions throughout America, our contracts are still in place, and plans for this year's conventions are still progressing. Specific to Corgi Events one has been postponed, none have been cancelled at this time.
The above being said, it has been discussed at great length how best to ensure the safety and health of our attendees, dealers, staff, and hosts. We have many safety measures planned in the event a convention still occurs as planned. Corgi Events understands that there are many members of our furry family who have concerns, and that government health officials may decide it will not be safe for us to gather at the time that a convention is scheduled. We are monitoring the situations closely so that the moment there is a change we can make certain our attendees, dealers, and staff can be informed.
We do have plans in place for each convention in the event postponement becomes necessary. However the situation is tense, fluid, and rapidly evolving. As such these plans are also fluid and rapidly evolving, as well as unique to each convention. Remember that wherever you may reside as a member of our beautiful Corgi family, it has always been our goal to make every convention, while adhering to certain standards, unique and tailored to its local community. For that reason these plans are not universal, and will depend on exactly what decisions are made by the relevant government. At this time as stated above, your conventions are still planned for the current listed dates, including those new dates to which conventions may have been postponed previously. All planning and pre-convention work is still occurring behind the scenes as it would normally.
We understand that our current statement on Eventbrite is that our events are "non-refundable". However if a postponement or cancellation occurs, attendees will not be held to this clause, and will be provided the option of a refund or to have their existing registration extended towards the new convention dates or the following year, as applicable and as the individual attendee chooses. This will be further detailed after the end of this statement.
We deeply appreciate you taking the time to read this statement and for the interest you take in the way conventions in your community operate, why they operate this way, and what actions they are able to take. Furry conventions would not happen without furries, and furries would not exist without the unique, vibrant, and beautiful community spaces that you have created and in which we exist with your help and for your enjoyment. It is our sincere hope that this statement has been helpful and informative. That it has given you a 'peek behind the curtain', that will help you in your understanding of this complex situation without taking away from the enjoyment you have attending conventions, both those we put on and those put on by other organizations. We understand there are questions which pertain specifically to Corgi Events conventions scheduled to take place over the remaining course of the 2020 season, and we have addressed some of these below.
Question: What about my registration?
The Corgi team believes in giving you the most flexibility regarding your registration. If a postponement should occur, our team will migrate your current registration to the new dates automatically as a default.
In the case of a postponement, if the new dates selected for 2020 are not ones which you will be able to attend, you may also opt to have your registration transferred to 2021. If you are unable to attend the new dates in either 2020 or 2021, you may opt to have your registration refunded. If you elect to have your registration refunded, there will be a deadline to request a refund. Each deadline will be 30 days past the cancellation announcement in the event there is no new 2020 date for the postponed/cancelled convention. Each cancellation announcement will be posted on the events Twitter page. In addition, the Corgi team will also adjust our registration tier end dates to reflect the new event dates accordingly, and with deadlines respective of the new event dates. Registration prices may not reflect previous pricing due to potential upcoming attendance constraints and/or new COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. You will also be provided the option to transfer your registration to any Corgi convention of your choice in 2020, or 2021, dollar for dollar, with no additional fees or transfer costs to you.
Question: I'm a Dealer, how does this affect me?
The Corgi team has heard your concerns and appreciates how hard it can be to make adjustments to your schedule given how many multiple events you may vend at and how many of you also have regular employment, aka a 'day job'. Much like attendee registration, our team will automatically move your dealer registration to the new dates for 2020 or 2021 as a default. This includes your table, your assistant badges and any other dealer specific arrangements you may have made. Your dealer slot will be guaranteed for the new dates. If and when another postponement occurs, the Corgi team will additionally be reaching out to all dealers at the e-mail address provided to ensure, proactively, that arrangements are workable and satisfactory.
For Dealers Den Questions, or to update contact information please email:
Question: What about Hotel rooms?
Unfortunately at this time, our situation with room blocks will be dependent on your event hotel.
What we do know:
We know that either your hotel room(s) will transfer automatically, or the room(s) will be cancelled automatically to allow you to book for the new dates. It is the intention of the Corgi team to arrange, in the case of the latter, for anyone who had an existing registration to be prioritized for the new dates. We do not foresee any issues with providing that, however it would be subject to response within a specific timeframe which will be announced if and when this occurs. Which of the two occurs will be dependent upon how divergent the new dates are from the original and the policies of the individual hotel. We understand and apologize for the frustration that this may cause you, and we promise you that the Corgi team will be here, willing to help out with any problems or concerns you may encounter.
Question: What about flights?
Obviously our ability to control flights to and from any of the cities where Corgi branded conventions are being held is as limited as any other convention. This is to say we have no power to affect this at all. However the good news is that many airlines, in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances affecting the world today, are offering to change or modify flights outside of their existing policies. This can be done through their websites or by calling their customer service numbers. The Corgi team has listed contact information below, for many larger airlines for you to reference in order to modify or cancel your travel itinerary.
Below, we have listed all current Corgi Events conventions along with their currently planned dates, according to contract. This list is updated as of April 23rd 2020. Should an Event be postponed or cancelled, registration from any event below may be transferred to any future event on the list.
Painted Desert Fur Con- www.painteddesertfc.com
2021: January 1st-3rd, 2021. Sheraton Phoenix Downtown
Golden State Fur Con- www.gsfurcon.com
New 2020 dates: August 28th-30th 2020. Hilton Los Angeles Airport
2021: April 9th-11th, 2021. Hilton Los Angeles Airport
2022: April 8th-10th, 2022. Hilton Los Angeles Airport
Sin City Murr Con- www.sincitymurrcon.com
2020: June 26th-28th, 2020. Renaissance Las Vegas
2020: August 14th-16th, 2020. Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center
2022: August 19th-21st, 2022. Sheraton Downtown Denver
2023: August 18th-20th, 2023. Sheraton Downtown Denver
2020: October 2nd-4th, 2020. Chula Vista Resort and Waterpark