Notes about Postponing SQLSaturday Orlando Due to the Hurricane

We’ve been monitoring the weather all week, thinking that today was the day we had to decide. We didn’t want to be hyper-cautious and reschedule too early because of the impact on speakers and sponsors traveling to Orlando, nor did we want to want too long and risk them being stranded in Orlando or wasting an airline ticket or being at risk. We had pre-cons scheduled for Thursday & Friday, so we had to assess the risk for the speakers and attendees for those earlier than the rest. Waiting is hard. We sent out a “we’re monitoring the storm” message this morning (Wed), though in hindsight I think we should have done that yesterday. This morning at 1030 the venue for the pre-cons announced they would be closing for the storm, so we started notifying that group. About 30 minutes later the college announced that it would close through the weekend, so that wrapped up the waiting!

We notified speakers and sponsors first, wanting to give them as much notice as possible to adjust their travel plans. We wanted to delay a public message just long enough to coordinate and announce the new date in the same message, but that didn’t work and we moved to publish “official” news about the postponement. We generated a quick todo list that covered emailing all the various lists, calling our food vendors (lunch, cupcakes, and popcorn), and trying to cancel/reschedule travel plans for our pre-con speakers. We worked through that list without much trouble, the only issue was had was the popcorn was already made. We’ve got popcorn for the storm!

Next was figuring out a new date. We looked at the college calendar, the SQLSaturday event calendar, and our own calendar to come up with a couple dates later this year. We were trying to avoid going into 2017 because it would end up being very close the SQLSaturday Tampa date. With that list of possible dates done, we contacted the college to get them looking to see if any would work and if all the needed rooms were available. That process took about 3 hours start to finish, not bad. Now we have to get all the dates updated, announce the change, and then contact each speaker/sponsor to see if they can still attend on the new date. We’ll start that tomorrow and hope to finish it by Tuesday or Wednesday next week.  Then we get to sort out the details – shirts for speakers, attendees that cancel and need lunch refunds, etc, etc. Tedious, but we’ll get it done.

Mildly painful for us, more so for speakers and sponsors. One year in ten we’ve had to postpone, that’s not bad.

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