Ten Essential Steps to Postponing or Canceling Your Event
As your company considers postponing or canceling a corporate event, do your best to double and triple-check this decision (and the implications to your attendees, your workforce, your brand, and your goals). If you’re postponing, you’ve got some work to do to keep your attendees interested! Naturally, some of the steps below will change, depending on the type of event – annual corporate event, awards ceremony planning, incentive travel events, Of course, if you decide to cancel your event altogether, you want to be sure this truly is the best decision – check out the pointers below as you consider your options:
Proactively discuss with legal counsel the risks of postponing or canceling your event, considering the potential implications on your company, attendees, and vendors.
Meet with your production partners – they may have some creative alternatives, such as a digital/pre-recorded event, a virtual event, or hybrid event.
Ask your registrants for their thoughts regarding cancellation or postponement – take their comments to the team. Ponder over them, consider them, and respond with appreciation to the sender.
Immediately reach out to your partners, suppliers, performers, vendors, production company and speakers to ensure they’re available for the new date/s, then book them.
Communicate early and thoughtfully. You want to eliminate any uncertainty around your event. If possible, provide the rescheduled date and venue as quickly as possible! Be sure to give the reason for your decision with a goal of connecting to each and every registrant – they really do want to understand and empathize with your decision. Eventbrite provides a few sample templates for crafting an event cancellation or postponement.
Check your agreements for a Force Majeure or other “out” clauses, renegotiate to the new date/s if possible, obtain refunds of deposits where you can.
Offer to apply the already paid registration fees to the rescheduled event rather than just a refund.
Have cancellation letters ready for those that need them, such as for those that are trying to get refunds for hotel reservations and airlines.
To get the word out (and announce your Save the Date), be sure the information you send is clear and concise while balancing it with an understanding and sensitive tone. Consider using the following methods:
- Send emails
- Announce it in your newsletter (if you have one)
- Feature the info on your Company Website
- Create an Event Website and feature the info there. If it’s a postponement, you can use this site to convey new details for the rescheduled event.
- Announce it on social media or place targeted social media ads
- Send mass text messages
- Set up a dedicated hotline for inquiries from your customers
- Establish a dedicated email address for customers to reach out to you
- Make personal phone calls to key customers before releasing the announcement
- Send out a Press Release
Most importantly, keep the communication going, move forward and stay positive!