Rescheduling your event will take extra consideration during these uncertain times where our new “normal” is not yet clearly defined. At this point, you have hopefully considered all of your options; and have determined if your event can be held virtually.
If you’ve determined hosting a virtual event is not the direction you’ll be going in, you’re likely considering either canceling or rescheduling your event. Here are some things to consider if you are rescheduling your event.
- Review Your Contracts
As a diligent planner, you likely reviewed your venue and vendor contracts prior to signing. However, at the time, like the rest of us, you had no idea that we would be in the middle of a pandemic and needing to make very difficult decisions regarding the fate of our events. Reviewing the contracts again and pulling out any information regarding postponement and cancellation policies is a great first step. . Once you’ve done this, it’s also worth reaching out to your vendors and seeing if they are making any special concessions due to the unforeseen circumstances. You may be surprised by how understanding and flexible people can be during these challenging times.
- Assess Your Financial Losses
Once you’ve gone through your contracts and have determined what’s at risk, you can make a more informed decision and feel comfortable either moving forward with a new date or cancelling altogether. Sometimes the financial impact of rescheduling an event can be significant, due to rescheduling fees, poor attendance if guests have scheduling conflicts on the new date or still do not feel comfortable being in large groups and for many other reasons. In this case, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of rescheduling with the potentially great financial loss.
- Find a New Date
Perhaps one of the scariest things about this pandemic, is that we don’t know how long it will last, which also makes picking a new date particularly challenging. If you do decide to have your event on a future date, like with everything else, there are certain things you should consider when determining a new date.
First, if this is an annual event, how will rescheduling impact your scheduling for future years? Chances are, the rescheduled event will fall quite close to the following year’s event. Will you continue to hold the event around the same time as the new date? Will you skip the 2021 event? Or, will you choose to still hold the 2021 event even if it was just a few months after the 2020 event?
There are many things that go into making this decision, but it’s generally a good idea to keep your annual events within the same month or two since people typically plan around the event being the same time of year.
If it’s not an annual event, you have a bit more flexibility in the rescheduled date. It’s important to consider your industry’s calendar and other important events/activities that may be happening around the same time. Make sure your new event date does not conflict with other major conferences, tradeshows or holidays so your attendance is not negatively impacted. Finally, you’ll need to reach out to speakers and vendors to see if they’re available on the new date.
This is a very challenging and stressful time for many people, particularly those in the hospitality and events industry. Whichever direction you decide to go in with your 2020 event, clear, detailed communication with your attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and any other key stakeholders is one of the most important components to a successful event (in any format) and maintaining your company’s reputation.
Remember, we will get through this and celebrate together again. When that time comes, we hope you will reach out to Swank for your planning needs. In the meantime, we’re here as a resource to you and can also assist with planning virtual events. Please take care and stay safe.