18 May Rescheduling Your Event in a Time of Crisis
Chances are, if you’re like us and millions of others, you’ll have had something in the pipeline for this coming summer; a get-together, convention, social gathering or event you simply couldn’t wait to roll around!
But when fate shows its cruel hand, there’s simply nothing we can do. Countless events all across the world have been cancelled and/or rescheduled in the wake of the COVID-19 breakout.
And rightfully so! Not only was this a legal requirement for most but a moral duty to help stop the spread of the virus and, more importantly, save lives.
That doesn’t mean we need to feel too good about doing our moral duty, though. If you were one of the unfortunate people planning an event that’s had to be rescheduled (and thankfully not cancelled entirely) there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done to get your passion project off the ground again when all this is said and done.
So if you’re looking to reschedule an event that was on the horizon, here are a few things you might want to consider and do as you make your next moves:
Choose your new time wisely
Reach out to EVERYONE
Whenever a spanner is thrown in the works when it comes to rescheduling an event, it’s highly likely that someone, somewhere who was due to attend will miss out on the news. Even with the level of connectivity we’ve reached in the 21st century, somebody almost always falls through the cracks.
So it’s your job to make sure you pour some heavy-duty cement into those cracks and seal them tight!
Get in touch with EVERYONE that was due to attend your event – ticket holders, guests, freelance crew, you name it – and make sure they’re 100% aware that the event will need to be rescheduled, and inform them of the proposed new date if you have one.
The traditional way to do this is via email. You should have the email addresses of everyone that was due to attend if they purchased their tickets online. But, if you’re missing a few addresses, a good old-fashioned direct phone call is best.
Heck, if you need to, reach out to people you thought might be attending but who weren’t 100%. Putting in the effort with these potential attendees is what may guarantee their attendance in the future.
It might be time consuming, but it’s what must be done.
Keep people updated
Once the decision has been made to reschedule your event, the next mountain you need to overcome is keeping everyone involved consistently updated as to the progress you’re making heading into the new date.
Daily updates probably aren’t best for this – while it’s great to inform everyone of every detail you think they might need to know, over-saturating your audience can lead to them switching off.
Instead, try releasing a single message every week or so. If you’ve got a lot to say, this can be a particularly long write-up. But people are far more likely to read one long post (which gives the aura of importance) than countless smaller ones which might be dismissed as useless dribble.
You should use social media and your email list to do this, but primarily focus on social as emails of this nature are sometimes notoriously misplaced in the Junk folders of many inboxes.
And, of course, make sure you emphasise the important info. Dates, locations, guest or attendee information, safety information etc. These are the things people will need to know and it’s better that you fill them in first before they have to come to you with the request. Get ahead of the curve!
Now, speaking of guests and attendees…
Keep track of guest/attendee changes
Rescheduling your event brings with it a whole heap of confusion and potential calendar clashes.
If your original event was centred around the attendance of some important guests or attendees, there’s a very real chance your new date won’t be suitable to all of them.
We can try as hard as we can to please everyone, but when so many different names are involved it can be extremely difficult to keep everybody available. Which is why you need to do your absolute best in ensuring as many of the original line up as possible can return for the newly scheduled date(s).
If not, you may want to focus your attention on one of two things, depending on the type of event you’re hosting:
1 – Secure the biggest or most influential guest above all others. Or…
2 – Secure as many guests as possible, potentially sacrificing one or two “top names”.
It’s never easy, but these are the kinds of decisions that can make or break your rescheduled event. Think about your followers, your fan base etc. What would they be most disappointed/thrilled with? What are the financial implications of your choice? Will this impact your image positively/negatively?
If you can make a choice that’s right for your brand, your fans and your wallet, you’ve done an incredible job at holding this thing together.
Choose your new time/date wisely
You might be eager to reschedule your event for a time that’s as close as possible to your previous one, even if current events are pushing you further back than you would like.
But while this might sound like a smart move, you should consider all the variables, including the not-so-obvious ones before setting a new date in stone.
For example, if your event is an outdoor event and you won’t be able to reschedule it until October at the earliest, would it be worth hanging on until the weather starts to brighten up in the new year.
Or, you may want to be wary of other seasonal events that are on around the same time. You wouldn’t want to have attention drawn away from your event by an event with a bigger following.
These are just a couple of examples, though. There are potentially hundreds of variables to consider before rescheduling your event, so be sure to consider anything and everything!
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