Sometimes, canceling an event is inevitable. And while it can be a terrible feeling to put so much energy into something that gets pushed aside, it’s vital to take a breather and enact on a follow-up plan in order to keep registrants happy and informed.
Learn how to create yours by incorporating the following steps:
1. Send An Apology Letter
The first thing you need to do if you have to cancel your event is send a heartfelt apology to the people who registered to attend. Email is timely and works great. However, if your guest list is small, a phone call is also a great way to show that you really care.
Your apology letter should include:
- Clearly stated event information and a link to your website to help remind registrants why they are receiving the email
- Your contact information if they want to reach out directly
- A refund plan if your event had a ticket fee (See next tip)
- The reason for canceling. Build trust by being honest, but keep it professional.
2. Issue Refunds
If your event had a ticket price, you need to let your guests know how and when they will receive their money back. If you know this information already, then put it in the apology letter. However, if you need some time to figure it out, then at least tell your guests that you will be sending a follow-up email regarding this information. The worst thing you can do is lose trust with your registrants by not being clear about where their money went.
3. Include Next Steps
Are you going to try and reschedule? Or maybe you would prefer to set more 1:1 meetings between registrants and your salespeople. Perhaps your in-person event is turning into a virtual one. Whatever it is, make sure you stay top-of-mind to your registrants by creating excitement and shifting the focus to another company event or content offer.
4. Offer Incentive
Even if you have plans to reschedule your event, there is no guarantee that your registrants will be able to attend on the new date. Make sure you provide information on the value of your event during any email or other exchange that you have with your registrants.
In addition, incorporate other offers, such as e-books or guides, or links to on-demand webinars that are similar to the event topic. By providing other (free) educational resources, you are helping to build trust and excitement around your brand.
TIP: Event registrants are looking for an interactive experience, and an email linking to a form to download a guide isn’t going to impress them. If you’re canceling your event altogether, follow-up by sharing links to your on-demand webinars or podcasts, invitation to another event, or even an opportunity to have a 1:1 meeting. If your contact was already willing to sign up for an event, then don’t let them fall backwards in the funnel!
5. Check Your Links
Have you ever registered for an event that happened in the past, but because of the lack of information on their website you didn’t know if the event was coming up in January of this year or last year? Well I have and guess what….it was last year.
If you’re canceling your event, say so on your event page. Make it clear to anyone on the site that the event is not happening, and if they registered, what the next steps are, new date and time, etc. Also, make sure any social media posts you have scheduled get deleted.
TIP: I recommend keeping the website up until the event date passes to avoid any confusion. Feel free to create a 301 redirect that goes back to your homepage or other event page later on.
6. Inform All Event Staff & Participants
One of the first things on your list should be to send an update to your event staff and other participants. Additionally, provide them with some information that they are able to provide registrants for the event if need be. By keeping your event team well-informed they feel more empowered to have better interactions with your potential customers.
7. Make Sure Everyone Gets Paid
Finally, pay everyone who contributed to the event for their work so far, as well any other commitments made, such as rentals, caterers, and other event services.