APEC 2020 Updates and FAQs
To our Attendees, Partners, and Exhibitors
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, public safety and the health of our community, government and corporate travel bans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) pandemic ruling, a difficult decision was made not to move forward with the in-person APEC event in New Orleans. The conclusion that we came to was not easy nor made without input and deliberation by the many individuals and organizations involved in APEC planning and sponsorship.
We understand that our community has many questions and concerns. No one expected or wished for this outcome, and conference management and leadership is continuing to work through a great many details, including negotiation of the many obligations to vendors and service agents required to put on an event of this size and caliber.
We are striving to be as transparent as possible and provide the APEC community with as much detail as we can without breaching any legal confidences we must maintain with vendors and service providers. Some issues are not resolved yet, including refunds, partial refunds, and future event credits.We ask for your patience as we define the path forward.
We are working with IEEE Meetings and Conference Events Emergency response teams to formulate a virtual event, deliver content, and allow authors to publish their work. Please use this FAQ page to find answers to your questions or to connect with those who will be able to assist you with your concerns. We will continue updating this page as more information becomes available.
APEC Refund Policy Statement – update April 20th, 2020
The Steering Committee and the Sponsors of the APEC conference, IEEE PELS and IAS in partnership with the PSMA, wish to thank our loyal community for their patience as we worked through the complex business negotiations required legally to reach our desired goal of maximizing your refund. Always, the health and safety of our APEC community was paramount in actions taken and our decision making.
The IEEE Societies and PSMA acknowledge the economic strain this situation has placed on our exhibitors, attendees, and vendor/provider partners. All of whom we consider part of our APEC community. To that end, dozens of individuals have worked tirelessly for weeks to assure a responsible and equitable outcome.
We would like to assure our community that the Sponsors have, since the beginning of this process, agreed to take no financial proceeds and in fact agreed to absorb a significant loss to settle obligations to vendors in order to maximize the refund to attendees and our valued and loyal Exhibitors.
To that end, the Sponsors have also agreed to absorb additional costs allowing us to now offer the following refund schedule:
- Exhibitors will receive a 100% refund
- Partners (i.e. APEC exhibiting companies who purchased APEC partnerships) will receive a 100% refund
- Attendees will receive a 40% refund
- Spousal tours and any extras (extra social tickets, proceedings/workbooks) will be returned at 100%
To date, all the technical and program materials have been distributed electronically via the APEC mobile app, website, or other electronic means to our registered attendees for download. We will continue to make other elements available as they become available. Furthermore, for our author community, we have arranged for all submitted papers to be published in IEEE Xplore (waiving the requirement for the papers to be presented).
As a multi-tiered and large-scale event, we hope our community can appreciate that APEC requires multiple years of planning and thousands of hours of labor, representing a significant investment across conference partners and service providers. Added to that complexity this year was the daunting task of interpreting and navigating the evolving national, state, and city-wide policies in the early days of the COVID-19 epidemic. Information regarding travel bans and health commission decisions were in flux right up to our decision point.
We wish the APEC community to please know that our decision to cancel when we did was to absolutely cap, or limit those financial obligations and expenses so that the organizers and sponsors would be in a final position to return as much money as possible to our attendees and valued exhibitors.
The timing and method of pending refunds will be updated on the website within the next 5 business days. We are determined to accelerate arrangements to handle the logistics to return monies to our hundreds of APEC 2020 exhibitors and thousands of loyal attendees.
We thank you all for your continued support and patience, and pledge to continue to work hard to advocate on your behalf.
The 2020 APEC Steering Committee, IEEE PELS, IEEE IAS, and the PSMA.
Why did you wait until so long to suspend the conference?
APEC leadership and sponsoring organizations were monitoring the ongoing developments of the COVID-19 outbreak for several weeks as we grew closer to the event. Information about the virus and public health safety was, and remains, highly fluid and we continued to monitor information from the WHO and CDC diligently. Indications were that we would be able to proceed with the in-person event. In recent weeks there materialized increased cases of infection, and changes in recommendations and/or bans from authoritative sources. Changes in the impending situation compelled conference leadership to move the event to a virtual format in order to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our community.
Who is involved in advising and making the decisions?
There are three groups involved, the sponsors, the steering committee, and the organizing committee.
First there are three sponsors: IEEE Power Electronics Society, IEEE Industry Applications Society, and Power Sources Manufacturers Association. Each sponsor has its own internal governance. They have the liability for any losses, and therefore ultimately have the responsibility to make carefully-considered financial decisions.
The steering committee consists of past general chairs of APEC, plus the current general chair and program chair. The members of the steering committee are equally represented by each of the three sponsors. The steering committee makes recommendations to the sponsors that they believe are in the best interests of APEC’20 and the long-term health of APEC as a series of conferences. The steering committee members have extensive ties to the attendees and exhibitors, and therefore an understanding of the challenges and opportunities. Thus, they are able to give insight to the sponsors’ leadership teams, who may not be as deeply involved in this particular gathering.
The organizing committee consists of all of the volunteers who were responsible for the content of the planned conference. Like the steering committee, members of the organizing committee have extensive ties to the attendees and exhibitors and also have a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities.
In addition to the sponsors and the committees, APEC is managed by SmithBucklin, with professionals that run many conferences and trade shows. They facilitate the decisions and actions made by the other entities.
Were other events suspended as well?
Yes. All in-person APEC-related events, including social events, the Micromouse contest, and IEEE PELS and PSMA meetings had to be cancelled.
I read that there are plans to hold a virtual conference instead of the in-person event. When will that be and where can I get information about that?
Planning is underway to assemble and deploy a virtual conference experience in the near future to preserve value for attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. Dates and details will be shared on www.apec-conf.org when they become available. Additionally, when it becomes available, information will be emailed to all attendees who registered for the in-person event.
I have questions about a specific area of the conference or exposition. Who do I contact?
General APEC Inquiries: email@example.com
If I booked my hotel through the official housing block, how do I cancel my reservation?
The official hotels have been working with APEC on changes to cancellation procedures. At this time, hotel reservations should be directed to and settled with the national chains, most of whom have publicly announced to refund and accommodate requests. Please contact your hotel.
I booked my hotel outside of the official housing block? Can I get a refund for my reservation?
Unfortunately, APEC is unable to assist on accommodations booked outside of the official room block. We encourage you to work directly with the hotel or service you booked with on any cancellations or refunds.
Will APEC be reimbursing flight cancellation fees?
Unfortunately, APEC is not able to offer reimbursements for costs related to travel to and from New Orleans. Please contact your specific airline carrier to inquire about their change/cancellation policy.
Will I get a refund on my registration?
See updated statement above.
When will the Virtual Event be held?
Planning is underway to assemble and deploy a virtual conference experience in the near future to preserve value for attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. Dates and details will be shared on apec-conf.org when they become available. Additionally, when it becomes available, information will be emailed to all attendees who registered for the in-person event.
Will the proceedings be made available?
Conference proceedings are now available online and through the mobile app to all registered attendees. Login information was emailed to all registered attendees. Updates regarding access to the virtual conference and additional content will be published on www.apec-conf.org as soon more information is available.
Will exhibitors get a refund?
See updated statement above.
Will exhibitors be reimbursed from third-party vendors?
Unfortunately, APEC is unable to assist with services contracted through third-party vendors. Please consult your vendor agreement and contact the provider directly to work on a solution.
How will my freight shipped to the Advance Warehouse be returned?
T3 Expo is currently working on returned logistical freight details. Once we have final information, we will be in contact with affected exhibitors and share the information on our website at www.apec-conf.org.
What is happening with booth space selection for APEC 2021 in Phoenix, AZ?
We are working through the details and will provide an update on our website at www.apec-conf.org regarding booth space selection for APEC 2021 in Phoenix, AZ. All exhibitors who paid for 2020 space will be notified by email when information becomes available.
Will exhibitors lose booth space priority points?
APEC will honor exhibitors keeping their historical booth space priority points.
I was scheduled to present an industry session. What happens to my presentation?
Presentations will still be made available in the conference proceedings, which are now available online and through the mobile app.
Will my paper still be published?
Peer reviewed papers accepted by the conference will be included in the planning for the virtual conference, allowing the papers to be published still in the conference proceedings, and submitted to IEEE Xplore.
I’d like to participate in the virtual event. How can I do so?
The APEC planning committee is working out the details for the virtual event and will email primary presenters with details when they become available.