We’ve all been there – plans have been in place for weeks, deposits have been paid, the guest list and technology fine-tuned – and then, another COVID variant gets announced. It can be frustrating for everyone.
Guests are disappointed if the event is cancelled, yet many will not attend if there are concerns about COVID or an event is in a high-risk destination.
Instead of flat-out cancelling, consider these three simple solutions:
- Take it outside.
Most venues are familiar with handling outdoor events these days. Even those that don’t have pre-existing outdoor space can be converted in a pinch with tents and outdoor rooms. Being able to assure your guests that you have plenty of fresh air and space at the event can calm many fears.
- Divide and Conquer.
If travel is involved for your event, cancelling and rescheduling may not be an option. But consider this – most travel-oriented events take place over a number of days. Instead of crowding all of your attendees in the same spaces at once, split up into smaller groups and enjoy the experiences and activities in a series of sessions. It may mean a little more work goes into staffing, but those costs are typically far less than cancellation and rebooking fees for venue, airfare, accommodations, and food & beverage. This strategy also works exceptionally well with local audiences, as you can host a collection of mini events on separate weekends.
- Get Charitable.
Maybe you can’t offer a full refund – but you CAN give attendees something to feel positive about. By giving your guests the option to “donate” their event registration and other similar fees, you can still provide a way for people to come together in support of a favorite cause. You may also be able to offer this solution to hotel partners or entertainers who may be willing to donate a portion of their unused fees in exchange for special thanks and promotional visibility. All that’s left is to pick some charitable organizations that matter to your brand and your audience. Then, organize a donation with the names of all those involved, and, if possible, a brief COVID-safe photo op of the donation being made. Circulate press releases about the donation and the clever pivot from COVID. Lastly, be sure to provide tax-deductible information to attendees up front as well as after the donation.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry. The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020. Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry. If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!