5 Steps to Cancel or Postpone Your Event Without Damaging Your Reputation
1. Act Fast
You should begin monitoring the weather a week before your event, so you can prepare for any expected weather. However, keep in mind that there are no guarantees when it comes to the forecast, so be ready for anything. As soon as you realize weather will interfere with your event, you need to act fast to communicate the plan to all parties involved, including attendees.
2. Come Up With a Game Plan
Hopefully, you took our advice and came up with a weather plan during your planning process. [View our 6-step severe weather plan] Evaluate the current and forecasted weather for your event and decide if you need to cancel, or if it would be lucrative to postpone the event or rearrange the schedule around the weather. If you have event weather insurance, your policy may cover the cost of a new venue if you need to move the event indoors.
3. Spread the Word
Once you have your game plan, get the word out! You need to communicate the plan to all parties involved: performers, vendors, attendees, etc. And you need to do it ASAP. While ticket holders will usually understand if severe weather disrupts their plans, they’re not as forgiving once they’ve taken time off work, drove across state lines, and shown up at the venue only to be turned away. Communicate the plan as clearly and efficiently as possible. If you don’t have all the details in place yet, it’s okay to inform everyone of the cancellation and ask them to stay tuned for news about rescheduling or ticket refunds. There are numerous ways you can spread the news, including social media, the event website, email, text alert, and audio/visual announcements (if attendees are already at the venue).
4. Offer Refunds
This step is optional, but we highly recommend it if you cancel an event where tickets were sold in advance. If you don’t think it’s worth it to offer a refund, you should check out our blog showing how holders of canceled tickets take social media by storm. The negative publicity and damaged reputation of canceling an event without offering refunds could end up costing you more than the refunds. If you planned ahead and invested in event cancellation insurance, your policy may even cover the cost of refunds.
5. Evaluate and Learn
Once all is said and done, you should evaluate how the process went. What could you have done better? This will help you better prepare for future events. If things didn’t go smoothly, you’ll need to do some damage control and assure fans you are implementing procedures to prevent this from happening again. In most cases, a risk management plan in combination with event cancellation insurance can help you avoid severe consequences due to adverse weather. Sure, you’ll be bummed that your event didn’t go exactly as planned, but your reputation and bank account will remain intact.
What’s the worst event experience you’ve had and how could it have been handled better? Let us know in the comments below!