Well, there went that huge event you’d been planning for months!
We’re writing this in early April and we have no doubt that event planners and managers around the country either canceled events and conferences planned for March; have cancelled or soon will do so for events scheduled for April and even May; and are crossing all fingers and toes hoping events scheduled for June can still go on (all the while knowing deep down that, well, June’s most likely a nope, too).
What’s an event planner and/or event marketer to do?
Cancel or reschedule your event with honesty, care and aplomb.
Provide accurate information (such as refund policies) as soon as possible.
If you do decide to cancel or reschedule an event, you should aim to do so as far in advance of the date scheduled as possible.
(In fact, because the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown the world into such upheaval, and just about all of us are sheltering at home across the globe, you’ve probably already received calls and questions regarding events planned for summer, haven’t you?)
But whether you have or haven’t decided to make some changes, once you do, make sure you provide information such as:
– What date, if any, you’ve set to reschedule the event.
– If you’ve decided to keep the event “on,” but hold it remotely, how can attendees access it and if you’ll offer partial refunds to those who attend virtually.
– How attendees may receive a refund if you decide to cancel completely.
– Particularly for those attendees and even vendors who would have been traveling from afar, information on canceling hotel and air reservations.
– And so on.
Our point? You know who your attendees are: what are their main concerns regarding cancellation/rescheduling and make sure you answer those thoroughly.
There’s no such thing as too much information
Don’t think you’re overwhelming attendees with the type of information mentioned above: they will let you know when they’ve had enough.
That said, this is not the time to broadcast the cancellation/rescheduling via just one medium. Instead, let attendees and vendors know about the changes via email, social media, texts, news releases, your website, possibly even via phone call.
Ask your legal team to give your messaging the once over as well.
Doing so will help you use appropriate language in your cancellation communications. You have something of a legal relationship with your vendors and even your attendees and your legal eagles should make sure you haven’t left yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit (or two).
We hope you have an ERP available to help you manage those communications, and your event management needs, like Aysling.
Aysling’s enterprise resource planner and client relationship manager – which actually can help you hold and manage events from start to finish – also can help you cancel/reschedule the event… from start to finish.
You’ll be able to refund attendee tickets as well as your vendors’ and exhibitors’ fees quickly and easily. When you’re ready to schedule the event in the future, you’ll be able to let your vendors and attendees know with the push of a button.
No matter when you hold an event again, Aysling’s Smart CRM can help you create custom drip campaigns to capture the attention not only of attendees and vendors who registered for the cancelled event, you also will be able to attract the attention of non-registrants in your pipeline.