Every company, small business, family, and individual has been tuned in to the news to stay updated on the growth of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). Gatherings have been postponed and many have been cancelled. Some organizations are finding ways to move to an online way of functioning, including public schools, colleges, businesses, and churches.
There are steps that need to be taken to professionally and successfully make major changes to your event, including cancelling it.
Read more to learn what we suggest for postponing or cancelling an event.
Research, research, research.
Before making the decision to cancel or postpone an event due to a public health situation, find reputable websites, news stations and medical centers and gather the information that you need. Educating yourself on the situation is incredibly important when making decisions that could impact the people involved in your organization, whether it be a school, business or event.
Fact check with experts before posting anything or coming up with your concrete plan. Researching and gaining knowledge on the key aspects of the health risks could be the difference in the reaction of those involved.
Communication is key.
Communication is the most important part of changing an event or gathering, but the respective parties should be the first to get the news.
Vendors and others who have contracts pertaining to the events, speakers, media attendees, and personnel directly involved with the planning should be notified before any public statement is made. If individuals have made travel plans through your organization, paid dues, or purchased tickets, booths, stage time, etc., come up with a reimbursement plan and ensure that each person gets back what they paid if the event is cancelled.
If postponing is an option for the event, advise ticket holders and others involved to keep their tickets and receipts if they will be honored at the new event time/space.
You do not want to leave your event attendees and personnel in the dark about your plans. Continue communication with everyone as often as possible. Give updates on not only your event, but other events in your industry that have been impacted.
Setting up a way for specific communication about the event being affected could be very beneficial. If you have a website, consider posting a FAQ section where people can stay up-to-date and have their questions answered. An email address or phone number that people can reach out to to get more information or ask questions could also be very beneficial.
Best of luck to everyone in these uncertain times.