What Conference Organizers (and attendees) Need to Know About Force Majeure

The Covid-19 pandemic introduced a lot of new words to our vocabulary. Once only known by lawyers, “Force Majeure” and “Force Majeure Clauses” have become common phrases for more people.

What Is a Force Majeure Clause
Force Majeure is a French phrase that means “superior force.” A Force Majeure Clause is a contract clause that frees both parties from obligations or liability when there’s a major issue. The idea is that a superior force (an earthquake, for example) has made it so that it would be impractical, inadvisable, or even impossible to hold people to the contract.

What Do You Include in Force Majeure
Force Majeure clauses frequently cover natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. Other covered events may include war, labor strikes or disruptions, and yes, pandemics. Force Majeure clauses are not only for canceled events. A lawyer can write the clause in a way that allows your event to underperform. Let’s say that a week before the event, you realize that a new strain of Covid-19 will limit the number of people attending your event, but you don’t want to cancel. However, you’re worried that not having as many people at the conference will mean that you don’t make your food and beverage minimum (which will cost you money). A lawyer can draft the force majeure clause to excuse liability associated with cancellation and underperformance.

Force Majeure Can Be Negotiated
There’s no negotiating with a pandemic, but you can negotiate with your conference vendors the kinds of things to include in your clause. It’s important to be specific in these clauses because courts tend to interpret them narrowly. For example, say “terrorism” or the broader “threats of terrorism” are listed in your contract. It does not necessarily follow that if there is a police riot that prevents people from attending the event, your contract will cover it. It’s important to consider your location when negotiating the clause. What kinds of weather disturbances are likely? What kinds of political or transportation disturbances? You can’t specify or anticipate all potential events, so a concluding catch-all phrase should be appended to the list, such as “and any other events, including emergencies or non-emergencies.”

Who Needs to Know This?
If you’re simply attending a conference or presenting at one, the Force Majeure clause might not be that important to you. You should make sure to review your contract to see what the refund policy is if you can no longer attend due to forces outside your control. If you are planning on asking for a refund for non-attendance, make sure to do so early. If a conference organizer is not well-protected by their contracts, they may find it challenging to refund registrations fees.

If you are planning the conference, a conference vendor, or even planning to have a booth or table at a conference, the Force Majeure clause could be important to you. Make sure to read all contracts carefully so that you understand your options and obligations.

The Covid-19 pandemic upended our lives and businesses in many ways. Now that we’ve all seen firsthand what an unexpected event can do to lives and plans, people are likely to be more careful in creating contracts going forward.


The immune system is a network of organs, white blood cells, proteins, and chemicals that work together to keep you healthy. As foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens enter the body, a healthy immune system works to destroy or limit them, preventing infection or disease. When the immune system is compromised, or not working at an optimal level, it can’t fight a winning battle against these invaders, and thus, illness can result. The best way to improve the health of your immune system is not through supplements, shakes, or pills, but through healthy lifestyle choices such as getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy, balanced diet. The role of diet in promoting a strong immune system begins before you get sick, so follow a nutrient-dense eating pattern as outlined below to bolster your defenses and make the fight against illness faster and easier. ​

Although we typically talk about food first, when it comes to the immune system, the mouth is a first-line immunological barrier and proper hydration is key to a healthy mouth. Many viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth, and our saliva acts as a barrier to help keep them out. Therefore, staying well hydrated decreases dry mouth, keeping salvia plentiful. Dehydration may also increase the stress hormone, cortisol, which has been linked to immunosuppression. To maintain proper hydration, drink enough fluids (water, unsweetened tea, seltzer, milk) throughout the day to ensure you never feel thirsty and your urine is pale in color.

A huge proportion of your immune system (nearly 70%!) is in your gut thanks to your intestinal flora. A healthy digestive system relies on the balance of healthy bacteria to not only help you absorb nutrients from food, but also to support the immune system and enhance overall health. The millions of bacteria in the gut work symbiotically with the immune system to ensure the body is protected and can eliminate any harmful pathogens it encounters. If the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut is thrown off, it can result in decreased immunity, leaving the body vulnerable to harmful invaders. Luckily, we can improve the healthy bacteria in the gut through diet. Consuming foods with ‘good’ bacteria, i.e. probiotics found in kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut, may enrich intestinal flora to improve immune function. Since bacteria cannot flourish without food, a colorful, fiber-rich diet including fruits, vegetables and legumes feeds microbes to build a healthy gut.

The micronutrients and plant chemicals found in fruits and vegetables are as good as gold to a healthy immune system. Many of these vitamins and minerals have antioxidant properties that help regulate the millions of biochemical processes that keep this system shining bright. Vitamins and minerals specifically exhibit important immune-modulating functions by entering cells and regulating gene expression. Vitamins A, C, D, and E, minerals zinc and selenium, and antioxidant compounds like beta-carotene and flavonoids play important roles in immune function. It is best to get these nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements as they tend to work in combination with other nutrients and plant chemicals also found in food. There is no specific fruit or vegetable that’s best; focus on a variety of colors such as green, orange, white, red, blue and purple, and incorporate nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lean protein from beef, poultry and seafood to ensure a well-rounded micronutrient intake.

A diet rich in healthy unsaturated fats has been shown to support a healthy immune system. Long-chain polyunsaturated fats can help modulate immune function, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to alter the fat composition of cell membranes, help regulate immune cell function, suppress over activity, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. These healthy fats can be found in fish (salmon, tuna, anchovy), nuts and seeds (chia, flax, walnuts) and vegetable oils (olive, soybean and canola).

Proteins (made of amino acids) don’t just build strong muscles, they are elemental in the structure of every cell, tissue, and organ working to keep you well. Protein molecules assist immune cells (i.e. white blood cells, B cells, phagocytes, and antibodies) to carry out their jobs, like distinguishing between normal body chemicals and foreign invaders, destroying harmful organisms, and mounting an immune response to infection. Ensure your diet is rich in quality proteins from both plant and animal sources including lean cuts of beef, poultry and pork, fish, eggs, beans, and whole grains.

A healthy immune system starts with a healthy diet, so this winter focus more on whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals, and less on supplements and processed foods to ensure your immune system is in tip-top shape.

5 Tips for Traveling WITHOUT Kids

Everyone knows how difficult it is to travel with kids. But for new parents, or those who rarely travel, attending a conference or convention without your kids can be equally difficult. This is especially true in 2022 when many families have had little or no business travel for two years. If you have an upcoming conference, here are some tips for your upcoming solo trip.

1. Don’t tell the kids too early

Every kid is different, but most younger kids have a hard time with the concept of time. Most parenting experts recommend telling toddlers two to three days ahead of time that you’ll be gone. If you think that even your older children will be upset at your leaving, stick to this timeline. It’s not fair to surprise the kids with your trip, but it also isn’t fair to let them spend too much time worrying. Make sure you tell your kids when to expect you home. Your coparent or caretaker can help the kids set up a calendar and mark off the days until you return.

2. Don’t phone home

Whether or not to call is a tricky question. Although it’s natural to want to touch base with your kids, it can also be very disruptive. Often, a call home can reignite kids’ anxieties and worries about your being gone. If you do call home, ask your co-parent or caretaker afterward if the call seemed to make the child feel better or worse. Try to avoid calling at bedtime or during other transitions. Don’t be surprised if your child is uninterested in talking to you on the phone.

3. Take some time for yourself

It’s ok to enjoy yourself on a work trip! If the hotel you’re staying in has a gym, take advantage of this rare time to yourself to exercise. Have dinner with colleagues and enjoy the adult conversation. Enjoy the chance to sleep uninterrupted in a bed that someone else makes! There’s no point in feeling guilty for being away from your children. You want to return home refreshed and rested and ready to spend time with your kids. Do not, however, brag to your co-parent about how much you enjoyed your time away.

4. Bring home a gift

Bringing home a gift for your child lets them know that you were thinking about them while you were gone. It doesn’t have to be a big present; in fact, most kids are thrilled with some of the free swag you can pick up in the exhibitor hall of your conference. If you think you will be traveling frequently for work, it might be worth setting up a collection that you can add to after each trip. Being able to look at the collection while you’re gone will remind your child that you always return.

5. Plan for the return

Kids can react in a variety of ways once you return. Some children may seem to be punishing you by refusing hugs or refusing to talk to you. Others may overwhelm you with neediness. Some children may act as though you never left. Ask your child questions about what they did while you were gone, but don’t assume they want to hear about your grown-up meeting. Keep in mind that your co-parent is likely exhausted from their time as a single parent and might need some time to themselves as well.

Traveling without kids has its challenges, but with some forethought and consideration it can be a good growth experience for you and your children.

5 Keys to Planning a Trip in 2022

Are you planning a trip in 2022? Naturally, we all hoped that by 2022 travel would be “back to normal.” It’s clear, though, that what we’re actually looking at is a “new, new normal.” Travel is possible in this “new, new normal,” but there are five essential keys for planning your trip.

1. Information
Travel in 2022 requires more research than in the past. In addition to researching flight prices, things to do, and places to stay, you’ll want to keep track of Covid rates, vaccination requirements, test requirements, and mask requirements. Due to decreased visitors and staffing shortages, many popular attractions have different hours than usual. Make sure the places you most want to see are open before getting there. Many hotels will be happy to provide you with all of this information. Covid rates are reported differently in different outlets, so make sure you understand what you’re looking at when making decisions.

2. Flexibility
Being flexible always makes for a better trip. Being on vacation has a way of making even the most scheduled person willing to branch out a little and go off the beaten path. An open mind is especially important now. Not only do you need to have a flexible mindset, but you also need to make your plans as flexible as possible. Non-refundable tickets and reservations might be cheaper, but if you suddenly feel unsafe going to a destination, you don’t want to feel like you have to go because of money. The rules around what is and isn’t “refundable” differ from airline to airline and hotel to hotel. Make sure you completely understand what does and doesn’t qualify for a refund. You may also want to consider if you can be flexible with the timing and location of your trip. Many hybrid and remote workers have found the ability to travel while working to be a benefit. Traveling to locations at less crowded times may keep you safer and be less stressful.

3. Communication
No matter who you’re traveling with, you need to talk about your comfort level with travel. Your traveling companion may have the same ideas as you about water skiing vs. lounging on the beach but different ideas about what Covid safe means. Make sure to have an open and honest discussion about the comfort level of everyone in the group. If you are a “bleisure” (business/leisure) traveler and working while on vacation, check with the hotel about wi-fi speeds, places to work, and outlets. When making reservations, make sure to ask how and when the hotel or destination will inform you about Covid concerns or cancellations.

4. Patience
Canceled flights, glitchy phone apps, supply chain shortages … travel requires more patience than ever. You don’t want to freak out and wind up the next viral video on YouTube. Practice your deep breathing and make sure you are prepared to be patient with officials, your fellow travelers, and yourself. Keep in mind that almost every industry is having trouble with appropriate staffing. Be prepared for long waits at tourist sites and restaurants. If you’re traveling with kids (or immature adults), make sure to pack plenty of snacks and distractions to help with delays. Headphones and a meditation app may be your saving grace.

5. Health
If you’re planning a great trip in 2022, you want to make sure you stay healthy to enjoy it. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep and water. Don’t forget when planning your trip to look for a hotel that can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle with gym equipment, spas, and healthy food options. Check out our recent article about the importance of nutrition and immunity.

Here’s hoping for great adventures in 2022!


Oatmeal is a comforting, nutritious pantry staple that serves as the perfect base for so many meals. Traditionally thought of as a breakfast item, we’ve got lunch inspiration, snack recipes, and even oatmeal-based desserts.

January is National Oatmeal Month – let’s celebrate with a few delicious FLIK-approved recipes that star oatmeal!

For Something Sweet

Skip the sugar or maple syrup on your oatmeal and top it with fresh fruit. Berries and stone fruit are delicious natural sweeteners that enhance your daily oatmeal routine.

Need inspiration? Try this recipe for Stone Fruit Oatmeal.
If your mornings are hectic, try Overnight Oats. This simple preparation for oatmeal takes the guesswork out of “what’s for breakfast” and serves as a great option to grab and go or eat right at your home desk without any mess.

Get creative with your overnight oats and go veggie-forward! Try this recipe for Carrot Cake Overnight Oats.

For the Perfect Snack

Check out Chef Michelle making Pan Seared Oatmeal Flax Squares, Orange Compote. Like a granola bar, but better, these delicious bites serve as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Both hearty and filling, these good-for-you treats will be a household staple after just one bite.

For another snack option to eat by the handful, try this Quinoa, Oat, Sunflower Seed, Dried Fruit Granola.

For Something Savory

Savory whole-grain breakfasts are so in vogue and FLIK, of course, has got you covered. Our recipe packs a full serving of vegetables into each individual portion. Our recipe for Kale, Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese Breakfast Barley packs a full serving of veggies into each individual portion. We love the flavor of almost sweet caramelized onion, tangy goat cheese, and hearty barley, simply swap out the barley in this recipe for oats and VOILA!

If savory breakfast is your jam, try these Savory Breakfast Ideas to Keep You Full All Fall

For Dessert

Step into Chef Nyiasia’s kitchen while she creates delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Bars — perfect for dessert, breakfast, snack, midnight snack, or really anytime. Not a fan of raspberry? Swap in your favorite flavors — strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, apricot — the options are endless!


As the holiday season fast approaches us, many of us will take the time to reflect upon things we are grateful for. For many, the pandemic has shed light on being thankful for what we have, big and small, from our health, family, and fortune, to simple things like sending our kids back to school or watching a movie someplace other than your couch.

Here are a few out of the box ways to give back to your community this holiday season:

LACE UP Tis the season for 5ks, turkey trots, and fun walks. Check out a local running website and search for races in your area. Pick a race fundraiser for a specific cause or group that resonates with you and show up on race day knowing you’re benefiting your health and a great cause! Our team in New York participated in a Veterans’ Day 5K recently to show support for all those who served.

SIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED A handwritten note or card can go along way. Call a local nursing home and ask for a list of residents (phone calls work, too!) or visit Support Our Troops to send a letter or card to a deployed solider. A heart felt message, funny joke, or “happy holidays” goes a long way this time of year (or any!).

SERVE IT UP AT THE FOOD PANTRY Volunteering at your local food pantry is another great way to give back. Whether serving meals, delivering groceries, or sorting and packaging donated goods, food pantries are a wonderful place to help keep community spirits high.

FURRY FRIENDS Our furry friends need loving, too! Visit your local animal shelter to offer a helping hand. Most shelters are short staffed and looking for help walking dogs, cleaning cages, or even playing with the animals. This is a great activity for the whole family, so get your kiddos involved!

DONATION BOXES Look for donation boxes in grocery stores, malls, and parking lots. Each shopping trip drop a few non-perishable food items, pieces of clothing, or old toys you can part with. Over the course of the holiday season, you will be surprised what an impact you can have on the local community.

One of FLIK Hospitality Group’s core values is around volunteerism and giving back. Read more about why this is so important to our associates here: What Makes FLIK Tick: On Volunteering & Giving Back

For more about our own community efforts, check out:

FLIK in the Community: Supporting City Harvest in New York City
FLIK in the Community: Doing Good(r) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with Merck
FLIK In The Community: Donating & Delivering Meals to Local Residents

Our Commitment to Keeping You Safe

As we face the possibility of another COVID-19 wave this winter, we are committed to keeping our event attendees, guests and staff safe and healthy. It all starts with Safe Space 2021, intentional and consistent safety processes we unveiled at the start of 2021.

At Flik, we firmly believes that we have to be the leaders in showcasing safe conferences and allowing all attendees to feel comfortable and have fun. We will continue to focus on safety into 2022 and beyond.

Safe Space 2021 – and beyond

Safe Space follows numerous protocols that are proven to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Temperature checks

One of the symptoms of COVID-19 and other influenza viruses is a fever. We conduct temperature checks on staff before they enter events; anyone with an elevated temperature is sent home to rest.

Disinfectant and sanitizer

Because COVID-19 happily travels through and often lingers in the air, we placed disinfectant misters in high-traffic areas, meeting rooms, guest rooms, elevators, and public restrooms. We also provide hand sanitizer stations throughout our building.

Traffic flow

By now we’re all used to changes in traffic flow, including wider aisles, one-way aisles and controlled entry and exit doors. These measures have helped us manage the movement of people and cut down on crowded public areas.


Like many hospitability companies, we have always focused on keeping public areas clean. This year, we stepped up cleaning frequency to reduce the likelihood of germs and viruses lingering on surfaces. We also moved to a contactless clock for staff to use when punching in and out of work.


Love ‘em or hate ‘em, masks are proven to cut down on the transmission of virus particles. They are required for staff, meeting attendees and guests. Forgot yours? We provide a mask to anyone who needs one.

Distancing measures

Space matters! For seminars, workshops and other education sessions at our facilities, seating is 6’ apart, and we encourage all meeting attendees and staff to maintain distance measures outside of meeting rooms. Plexiglass shields are installed at registration desks, and we offer touchless check-in at the front desk for guest rooms.

The great outdoors

COVID-19 doesn’t love the great outdoors, but we do. We encourage event planners to use our properties’ outdoor spaces for better social distancing and to take advantage of the sun’s natural disinfecting ability.

Food and beverage

Food and beverage service has been completely re-thought. Whenever possible, we use no-contact and pre-packaged meals, snacks and coffee service.

To learn more about our health and safety measures, please contact us!


The Bottom-Line

What you eat today, impacts your immunity tomorrow (well, many tomorrows from now). And don’t count on supplement powders, pills, drinks, or gummies to give your immunity a boost.

More Details

Our immune system is our body’s active defense against pathogens. Its job is to recognize harmful intruders, work to remove them, and keep a memory so if the same intruder returns, it can be better at eliminating it. Immune cells come from precursors in bone marrow and develop into mature cells. They are found all over the body, including, skin, bone marrow, bloodstream, thymus, lymphatic system, lymph nodes, spleen, and mucosal tissues. Specialized immune hubs are found in mucosal tissue in the small intestine that work with the gut’s microbiota. It’s no wonder why it is so important to eat plenty of fiber-filled, prebiotic-rich plants to keep the gut healthy and maintain a ship-shape immune system.

The foods we eat provide our body with nutrients – the building blocks of immune cells. Nutrients also regulate our body’s cellular response to build more immune cells as they’re needed. Therefore, nutrient inadequacy hinders our immune function. Consuming adequate amounts of the necessary nutrients to support immune function is a long-term game: fill your plate with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, seeds, nuts, and spices year-round, not just during “cold season”. Eat an orange, red bell peppers, or strawberries every week to maintain vitamin C status, not just when you have the sniffles.

A weakened immune system and slowed immune response are part of the natural aging process. Obesity contributes to a similar reduced immune function as seen with aging (referred to as “accelerated aging”). While we can’t do anything about aging, we can do quite a lot to maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight – in turn reducing our risk or the progression of obesity, respectively. The right food choices promote immune function and a healthy weight pattern.

Take Action

Support your immune system with a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and daily exercise. Assess your overall meal patterns. Are there any areas for improvement? Are you getting your 5-7 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day? While that may sound like a lot, most servings are just ½ cup. Are you eating enough calories? An extremely low-calorie diet makes it difficult to meet nutrient needs, and nutrient deficiencies may suppress the immune system. Are you staying hydrated? Aim for 6-8 cups a day and observe your urine color to gauge hydration status throughout the day. Are you eating enough fiber? Aim for 25-30 grams per day, preferably from natural food sources like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, to keep your gut in good shape.

What’s Next for Conferences: Hybrid Events

The meeting technology that got us through the COVID pandemic has found a new life: supporting hybrid events, which is the next big trend for conferences. We see this trend turning into a permanent addition to the conference landscape, as it allows those who cannot attend in-person to participate from anywhere in the world.

Hybrid events marry the best of in-person and virtual

During a hybrid event, attendees can attend remotely, in-person or both. Events can even be held at multiple locations around the world. Unlike all in-person or all virtual conferences, hybrid events require you to deliver two experiences with one event.

For a conference that was previously restricted to a venue’s capacity, the sky is now the limit! Not only can you host more attendees, your conference is open to people whose budgets or schedules don’t allow for domestic or international travel. Imagine what this means for your conference’s attendance and success.

Another reason hybrid events are here to stay is climate change. Companies and organizations around the world are taking concrete steps to reduce their carbon footprints. One event hosted in multiple locations and/or that allows people to attend remotely can significantly reduce business travel and carbon emissions while supporting a move towards a more sustainable future.

But are hybrid events engaging?

With careful planning and the right technology, the answer is yes.

The technology already exists to help remote attendees fully participate. During a workshop, virtual attendees can use a live chat feature to ask questions and share insights. They can also be placed into virtual meeting rooms for small group work and discussions.

Consider creating a mobile app for more intimate discussions. Attendees can use it to connect with exhibitors, sponsors and guest speakers and chat with conference organizers.

Just remember that technology must work seamlessly with the in-person experience, or it will feel like two different events. Live streaming must be flawless, and your speakers must be comfortable in front of cameras and a sea of people.

Content is king

It is much harder to keep virtual attendees engaged than those who are in person. A computer screen just doesn’t convey the energy and mood of a room. When planning your conference, make sure the content is relevant to all audiences and think about integrating live polls to keep virtual attendees engaged.

To ensure your virtual attendees don’t get lost, have a dedicated event coordinator monitor their questions and comments during live sessions, remind attendees of upcoming sessions and introduce virtual-only sessions.

Timing is also critical. A one-hour keynote speech may be just right for in-person attendees but far too long for those attending remotely. Sessions should be long enough to deliver real value but short enough to hold everyone’s attention.

How to navigate time zones

If you are hosting a hybrid conference with a global audience, you also need to take time zones into account. An attendee in California is unlikely to make it to an opening keynote address that is being broadcast live from London at 9am GMT. The solution? On-demand video that can be viewed anytime.

You can also consider offering one session on three different days at three different times. That way, attendees can ask questions and participate in discussions.

Excited about hybrid events?

We are. At FLIK Hospitality Group we are dedicated to providing quality hospitality service that is unparalleled in the industry. Hybrid events are just one more way to do that. Have feedback or questions for our team? Email us at [email protected]