If you’ve made the tough call to postpone your event this year, you’re in good company. Events all across the world (with or without restrictions imposed) — are looking at whether their event can continue as planned. While you can’t postpone an event without disappointing fans, you can ease the blow by delivering the right message at the right time.
Here are some tips on how to best communicate with fans when rescheduling events, with an example of a recent event that handled this well.
- Communicate early and across all channels
From email and social media to your ticketing platform and media partners, make sure you get the word out so no one feels left in the dark. Do this as early as possible. Dropping a bomb last minute will not be as well-received as providing clear and concise information that lets people change their plans.
- Let fans know what to do next
The best thing you can do for your ticket holders and your staff is to be clear with instructions on what to do next. Be sure to include information on your refund and resale policies so that no one is left guessing (or inundating your customer service staff!)
- Be real with fans
Everyone knows the hard position that event businesses are being put in right now, so honesty is the best policy. Being straight with your attendees helps them to feel informed and puts them in a position to support your decisions.
How to write your announcement to postpone an event
Here’s a recent example from Sunshine Coast music festival, Bohemian Beatfreaks. You can view their full post on Facebook, but here are some excerpts for inspiration when crafting your own postponement messages:
“According to predictions the Omicron COVID-19 wave is expected to peak towards the end of January which falls during our event dates. It would be irresponsible both medically and financially to continue planning to host our event this month given all the information we have available and the news of these re-introduced restrictions. We also don’t feel it is responsible to add further strain to our hospital systems and healthcare workers that are already pushed to the limit with the surging case numbers.”
“Staging a multi day festival in normal circumstances is a huge financial risk and facing the high likelihood of a forced cancellation from Government restrictions or a potential COVID outbreak amongst our staff or patrons is just too much to take on for a small business such as ours. REL Events is a grassroots company that survives through ticket sales alone and a last minute cancellation would be a financial disaster, from which we could not recover.”
In this post, organisers have been realistic and upfront about the risks they saw if they were to continue as planned — both to ticket holders and the event itself.
“Fortunately we have made the decision before the bulk of our budget has been spent and will only lose about $80,000 from the event. Due to this early postponement we are in a position to offer refunds (less booking and ticket fees). However if you can afford to hold your tickets please do so. They will be redeemable for either Rabbits Eat Lettuce APRIL 2022 or Bohemian Beatfreaks NOVEMBER 2022, the choice is yours. Many of our artists and arts workers have already been paid. By keeping your tickets you’ll be supporting the music industry and helping to ensure the future of Bohemian Beatfreaks & Rabbits Eat Lettuce.”
In this example, organisers go a step further here to include what they stand to lose by postponing the event. While it’s not essential to include this information, this transparency treats ticket holders with respect. It also gives the organisers an opportunity to ask fans to support their event and hold onto tickets if they are able.
“If you would like a refund, instructions on how to request a refund or transfer your ticket will be announced on Monday next week as soon as we work out the details with our ticketing agent Humanitix. Instructions will also be emailed to all ticket holders.
All Glamping Packages & Bus Tickets will be automatically refunded within the next 7 days. If you purchased bus or glamping packages you don’t need to do anything; these will be automatically refunded.”
Finally, they let ticket holders know how they will receive information on what to do next. Instead of waiting while cancellation rumours swirl, they let fans know exactly when they can expect further instructions on what to do with tickets.
Postpone events without the pain
One of the best things you can do to protect your event during these times is to be prepared for anything. Launch your event with Tixel waitlists in place to reduce no-shows, stay flexible and sell out sooner. Learn more or sign up for free now at tixel.com/organisers