Coronavirus Disrupting Small Business Conference Circuit

Coronavirus Disrupting Small Business

The nationwide coronavirus outbreak pushed business conference organizers to change their plans recently.

As a result, some high-profile events popular among small businesses and entrepreneurs got canceled or found themselves severely altered. Changes arose from fears of the COVID-19 issue.

Check out this list of the companies we know have canceled or changed events so far:

  • Zoho
  • Salesforce
  • Adobe
  • Oracle
  • Google

The change in plans likely will affect a lot of business travel plans in the coming weeks and months. These events draw thousands to their host cities. Outside of those who planned to attend these conferences, hundreds of small businesses who benefit from the spikes in tourism from these events will likely see a drop in sales, too.

Coronavirus Prompts Cancellation of Popular Business Conferences

Right now, the companies hosting these events hope guests who planned to attend understand why they’re taking this drastic step.  Here’s what each company is saying about their events and the decision they reached to cancel or change:


Zoholics 2020 functions as Zoho’s annual big customer event. The company had scheduled the event to be held from April 28-30 in Austin. But last week, the company said the event won’t happen. It also canceled Zoholics events in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Zoho also called off its partner event, Inspire, which was scheduled for April 27.

An online alternative for these events is possible, the company says.

The company says it’s refunding ticket purchases to Zoholics and other events. It’s refunding money to sponsors and vendors who paid for space at Zoholics and other events.

Zoho says its schedule changes are through April. It will reassess events beyond April 2020 as the coronavirus situation develops.

The company is not taking any chances with its workforce either. Last week, Zoho said it’s implementing a Work from Home policy for all its employees.


Salesforce canceled a number of upcoming events. It gave the coronavirus outbreak as a reason. We found this message from the company on a promotional page for its upcoming Salesforce Basecamp event in Baltimore on March 11.

coronavirus small business conferences

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to postpone the Basecamp in Baltimore initially planned for Wednesday, March 11,” the company says. “Thank you for your support and we look forward to welcoming you to a future Salesforce event soon.”

Small Business Trends expert analyst Brent Leary tells us Salesforce also canceled its Analyst Summit later this month.

The schedule changes with Salesforce seem to be limited to events in March for now. Salesforce is still taking registrations for its Basecamp events in New York and Kansas City in early April.

Adobe and Magento

Adobe took the unfortunate step of canceling the in-person portion of its popular Adobe Summit conference recently, too. The company and Magento Imagine together had planned an event in Las Vegas from March 29 through April 2.

Adobe informed attendees recently that Adobe Summit and Magento Imagine will be an online-only experience in 2020.

coronavirus small business conferences

“Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the necessary measures to protect the health and wellbeing of Adobe Summit attendees. As a result, we have made the difficult but important decision to make Summit/Imagine 2020 an online event this year and cancel the live event in Las Vegas,” Adobe says. “While we are disappointed that we will not be together in-person with our community this year, we are excited to host Adobe Summit as an online experience.”

Adobe plans to refund all registration fees for the events. And stay tuned. The company will issue updates on how to participate in the online events soon.


The Oracle also altered its Modern Business Experience 2020 due to coronavirus fears.

The company has transformed it into an online-only event starting on March 24.

oracle modern business experience

As a result, Oracle says it will offer an alternative. Those who planned to attend MBX in Chicago later this month may attend its OpenWorld event in Las Vegas later this year. If you cannot attend, Oracle offered to give money back for the MBX cancellation.


Google announced changing its Google Cloud Next ’20 event to online-only as well. The dates of the event, April 6-8, remain in place however.

“Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO and other relevant entities, Google Cloud has decided to reimagine Google Cloud Next ’20, which will still take place from April 6-8,” the company said.



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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.