6 Key Tips When You Have to Cancel an Event

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Event teams dread canceling event plans, but sometimes it happens. When it does, you need to be prepared. If the worst happens to your event, here’s what to do.

1. Cut It Off

Take immediate action. You can’t waste any time here. Confirm that the event will indeed be canceled, and then notify everyone – and we mean everyone. All operations need to be stopped. That includes selling tickets, arranging for caterers, preparing for special presenters, deciding on what technology to use, and anything else. Continuing with any of these processes will just waste time and money – not to mention angering your venue, attendees, and presenters. The band-aid rule applies here. Cut it off immediately and avoid lingering pain.

2. Use Your List of Contacts

During your event planning, you should have gathered a list of key contacts for your venue, your sponsors, and so on. While the event may not be happening, that list will be a godsend when it comes to canceling: It tells you exactly who you need to notify regarding the news and any potential alternatives. Dig out that event contact list immediately and use it to its fullest extent. It’s vital to contact the right people in the right organization ASAP, or everyone who hasn’t heard the news will be confused.

3. Provide the Full Story if Possible

Today’s event attendees are high-information people. In other words, they like being kept in the loop whenever possible. If you just cancel the event without any explanation, they’re going to be irate – they’ll feel it as an act of disrespect. So work on sending out an email with a fuller explanation as to why the event is no longer happening. Include details, apologize, and let them know how it looks from your perspective. That will help you save a lot of goodwill in the process. Of course, there will probably be some things that you can’t share when canceling event activities, but be as open as you can.

4. Refund

Your final event plans need to include any necessary refunds to your attendees for the expenses already incurred. Consult your cash flow statements carefully and note what sort of refunds you need to provide. In turn, remember to seek any potential refunds of your own from venues or caterers for canceled plans.

5. Update the Media World

If the media was in any way notified or involved in your event plans, you also need to send a message to any contacts you may have there. It’s going to look very awkward if a publication announces your event even when it isn’t happening.

6. Consider Event Insurance if This is a Regular Risk

Event insurance can help protect large events from major losses, such as those caused by a sudden cancellation. If you are investing a large amount of money in regular events and there is a chance of cancellation, consider using event insurance to help cover the unexpected.

For more information on how to prepare for event risks and emergencies, take a look at Fourth Wall Events and ask us any questions you may have!

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