Supporting event organisers on a daily basis is our priority. We are therefore closely following the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently affecting the entire world. Our teams remain available, attentive to your needs and committed to providing you with advice, ideas and support throughout this difficult time.
Above all, it’s important that you follow the authorities’ recommendations. At the same time, you could also take advantage of this moment of uncertainty to get closer to your attendees despite the distance, and regardless of the status of your event, be it proceeding (provisionally or definitively), postponed or cancelled. In an earlier article, we list all our recommendations for making the right decisions as an event organiser during the COVID-19 crisis. This article tackles another subject: how to communicate with your attendees during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Delay when the situation permits
- Communicate clearly in the event of a postponement
- Call for solidarity in the event of a cancellation
Firstly, you should not rush to communicate until your event’s situation is fixed, especially if it takes place outside the periods affected by the restrictive measures imposed by the authorities. You should therefore initiate a delaying communication strategy that includes the following elements.
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Re-emphasise the context and the rules in place
It’s always a good idea to let your attendees know what might make it impossible to hold your event — restrictions on capacity, geographical location, venue layout, etc. — as they might not be as well informed as you on the small details that can reverse a decision in such situations.
Announce the possibilities being considered
Communicate the different stages of your organisation’s decision-making process to your attendees. If you don’t make an effort to show that you’re doing everything you can to fix the situation and satisfy your attendees, they might feel that you’re forgetting them. Detail how you intend to proceed, who you are in talks with, the possibilities of postponement of cancellation that are being considered, the new conditions for organising the event, and so on.
Plan a second phase of communication
If you have nothing to communicate for now, mention that you will get back to your attendees as soon as you have more information. Make sure they’re willing to be patient by offering exclusive or revisited content, such as a behind-the-scenes photo of the moment, an aftermovie from previous editions, etc.
Show your compassion
Although your event’s survival is of course one of your priorities, it’s also important that you take a step back from the situation, as everyone is affected, including your attendees in their personal and professional lives, your teams, and society in general. This is the time to show your compassion and your empathy towards those who support you and without whom the organisation of your event wouldn’t be possible.
Give thanks for current and past support
Whether your attendees have already bought their tickets or not, they follow you on a daily basis and are interested in your event. That’s enough reason to thank them for their support. Don’t forget that despite this difficult situation, you wouldn’t even have to worry about your event if they weren’t with you in this adventure.
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Announce the context of the postponement
Why has your event been postponed? Who made this decision? Give a clear explanation of the situation and the reasons for this choice. The more you express yourself in clear terms, the more likely it is that your attendees will be understanding and ready to attend your event on its revised date.
Be clear on the terms of the postponement
Be it a change of date, location or scheduling, be sure to clearly announce the conditions in which your new event will take place, regardless of whether they have all changed. If you don’t do what’s necessary, you risk attendees not getting the experience they expect. It would be a shame to disappoint them after making such an effort to organise your event at all costs.
Set up a refund procedure
You are required to refund attendees who request this, even if your event has been postponed. However, you are free to set your own terms and communicate accordingly, with these terms including:
- The date of communication for the refund procedure — This can be different to the date on which the postponement is announced;
- The refund claim period — It’s up to you to specify a start date and an end date;
- The refund date — Either just after the end of the period, or x days later;
- The difference between the distribution channels — Detail the policies for Fnac, Ticketmaster, See Tickets, etc.;
- The procedure for anonymous tickets bought in person — Announce your refund policy regarding these buyers.
Announce the bad news
Your attendees may not be as well informed as you and may not be familiar with the restrictions that apply to your event in particular, in terms of dates, capacity, location, etc. Remind them of the facts in order to avoid misunderstandings and reduce the audience’s disappointment.
Communicate around refunds
In the Frequently Asked Questions part of our earlier article, we went over all the principles and procedures for processing refunds in the event of a cancellation. Regardless of how you proceed — in terms of deadlines, full vs. partial refunds, etc. — your way of communicating will have an impact on attendees’ patience and their generosity if you later make a call for donations. If a full refund of all tickets jeopardises your event, take the time to develop a strategy to reassure attendees that there will be a refund procedure in place.
Take your time before setting up your system, mention the exceptional situation and ask for your attendees to be understanding. In particular, inform them that you’re doing your best to manage your event’s cancellation as well as possible.
Call for your audience’s solidarity
The current situation is entirely new and unpredictable. In this context, attendees of cancelled events are usually as affected in emotional terms as the organisers. We’ve therefore observed occasional surges of generosity taking place.
If you’re close to your audience, and your event plays a major role in your area’s social cohesion and cultural development, consider collecting donations to ensure the survival of your event or charity. Weezevent offers you all the tools you need to carry out a fundraiser which could be of great help for your event’s future.