David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD


Proper Planning Prevents…Nothing


 As I’m sure I’ve written many times before, savvy travelers do their research.  We check fares, determine back-up travel plans, hunt for bargains and deals, reserve hard to get slots at venues and restaurants, and ensure we have an edge over those who don’t do their travel homework,  Well, for now, in the words of Emily Litella, “never mind.  These last three years of COVID have taken a wrecking ball to any semblance of proper planning. 

With the start of any new year I’d always have been meticulously making reservations for the many industry conferences I planned to attend.  This includes buying airfare before all the bearable seats on planes are taken, booking hotels and ground transportation, making dining reservations, pre-purchasing access to any high-demand venues I wanted to visit, and all the rest.  Sadly, COVID-19 has forced me (and likely many other ‘planners’) to be constantly pivoting. 

First of all, just the fact that an event or conference has been announced doesn’t mean it will actually happen.  We are living through an era where hundreds of concerts, shows, conferences and events of all types are subject to unexpected changes. (I wanted to post a picture here listing some examples but it would have been longer than this entire blog.)  All of Broadway closed, reopened, and then have experienced rolling closures. Some of the world’s biggest business conferences have been outright cancelled in some cases, postponed in other cases, and then the postponements have sometimes been further postponed or cancelled. 

For one example, people bought tickets to see a Broadway show over the holidays, flew to New York to see it, showed their required proof of vaccination to get in, took their seats, and only then were told that the show had to be cancelled.  Yes, the theater probably refunded the ticket price, but what about the costs for the flights and hotels?  For another example, one of my industry’s international conferences that was due to take place in Barcelona on February 1st announced (only on January 11th) that it would be postponed until May.  I’m sure there were exhibitor displays and other freight already on their way to Barcelona at the time.  The attendees hopefully had time to cancel their travel arrangements without penalty, but that’s certainly not guaranteed.  (This is especially true now that many hotel websites have begun prominently listing their least-expensive, non-cancelable, non-refundable rates at the top of their list.)     

Then, even beyond entire event cancellations, we honestly can no longer have any faith that advance research will yield useful results.  Are you looking for a restaurant to reserve at your destination?  Google and other websites may still show a place that has long since closed, or one that used to offer outdoor dining in 2021 but no longer does so in 2022.  When my wife and I traveled to San Diego last year, we walked up and down 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter and found some of the venues open, some temporarily closed and some permanently closed – all with no rhyme or reason.  In San Diego alone over 100 restaurants have permanently closed – and the list isn’t just little mom and pop establishments.  Fortune Magazine estimates about 90,000 restaurants have permanently closed in the US.  The problem isn’t limited to permanent closures either.  At the recent CES conference I attended I walked back from the day’s press events at one hotel/casino only to find their 24/7 restaurant was closed – either because they did not have enough healthy people to staff it, or because they just assumed the lower demand would not warrant opening it.  Just because you’ve done all the needed research correctly doesn’t mean you’ll be successful if there has been one of the much more common last-minute changes.   

Then of course, I haven’t even mentioned air travel.  The Omicron variant has wreaked havoc on air travel, causing staff shortages of flight and ground staff at all the world’s airports.  We had the usual cancellations due to weather… and we can now add to that list of reasons for havoc the threatened cancellations due to the US telecom companies imminent 5G rollout.  If you’ve never trusted airlines (like me) you sadly have even less reason to trust them now.

All of this means that my personal advance planning activities are on hold for who knows how long.  Will I go to the business conference in March?  Will I add a few days and have my family join me and make it a business and pleasure trip.  Who knows?  Heck, I don’t even know if I can find a restaurant with a safe outdoor dining area to eat in in my own neighborhood next week.  Who suffers because of this?  Well, we all do.  Businesses don’t get revenue, they can’t plan on expected loads, and travelers like me just continue to get frustrated. 

Now, mind you, frustrated is better than dead from COVID, but it’s still…..well…..frustrating.





The CDC recently took the time to announce what I’ve been advising everyone since the start of COVID – wear a damn N95 or KN95 mask, as cloth masks don’t do squat.  Um, duh.  I’ve even taken it one step further, wearing a disposable surgical mask over the N95.  It doesn’t really protect me any more than the one mask, but the cheap disposable one protects the N95, keeping it tighter to my face and allowing me to use it longer. Mask-up people.  Stay alive.  



This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.


As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.  Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.  Thanks!