No one wants to cancel or postpone an event, but it often becomes necessary for a variety of reasons: weather, health concerns, and scheduling conflicts, just to name a few. You’ve spent hours planning and preparing. But now that your plans have changed, it’s time to think about how to press pause without making your audience feel uninformed or confused.
To help you shift from actively planning an event to canceling or rescheduling, we’ve laid out a few things to consider along the way.
8 Things to Consider When Canceling or Postponing an Event
Remember that this, too, affects your brand image.
You’ve put precious time and energy into your event. It’s natural that you might feel a tad defeated or like you want to check out mentally. Keep in mind, though, that your response during this time reflects strongly on your brand—just as much as the actual event would have. Your audience relies on your communication to keep them informed. And, remember, they were looking forward to this event right along with you.
Be upfront with your audience.
You will build trust with your audience by being upfront. The more transparent you are about the details, the fewer questions you will have to answer. Help your audience understand what went into your decision and provide plenty of information on refunds, rescheduling, and other details that they will be looking for. It’s helpful to make a list of all of the questions you expect to arise so that you can share your responses through social media and other channels, while also preparing your team for incoming calls and emails.
Have an FAQ page.
As we mentioned, there will undoubtedly be loads of questions coming in following your announcement. You can get ahead of that by putting together an FAQ page that can live on your website. In addition, be sure to link to the page in your email marketing as well as social media.
Issue refunds quickly.
Though it’s a large expense, refund your confirmed attendees as quickly as you can following your event’s cancellation. If postponed, offer them the option of requesting a refund in case the new dates no longer work for them. Your audience will see your timely response as an act of integrity.
Don’t let planning time go to waste.
Depending on how close you are to your original event date, you may have already made progress on content and materials (e.g., webinars). Don’t let that hard work go to waste! Use your content to give your audience a glimpse into what they can learn from your organization. For anything that you can’t use this time around, save what you can for the future.
Claim your event insurance.
Organizations often worry most about the lost revenue when their event doesn’t happen as planned. If you have event insurance, check to see if it covers canceled events. If you don’t have event insurance, consider shopping around to find one that covers cancellation to protect you in the future if this happens again. This type of insurance can also cover an attendee injury or lawsuit, venue damage, and liquor liability.
Stay connected to your audience.
Keep your attendees consistently informed throughout the process, as well as in between events. Let them know what’s happening behind the scenes, what you’re planning, and what you’re excited about. While you shouldn’t bombard them with content, your audience will want to hear from you from time to time to feel informed. Your audience will be more likely to remain interested and share your information with friends and family if you stay in touch.
One lesson we learned from COVID-19 is that most any event can be conducted virtually, in some form. Brainstorm with your team on ways to bring your event’s spirit to life in the event of cancellation. This can be an opportunity to explore your event in a whole new way!
Contact Green Apple Strategy to begin planning a proactive marketing strategy. We keep your audience engaged so that you can focus wholly on your events and core functions.