I hosted a webinar recently called “how to plan right when things go wrong” (a snippet of the webinar can be viewed in the clip above) ……. Well, little did I know how wrong things were about to get. The webinar was great and the main focus of it all was crisis management. As event professionals, we understand that crisis will happen and it’s all about how to approach it.
Well, no one was prepared for the crisis of covid-19 and the impact it will have on the event industry until it happened and here we are right in the middle of it all. In full disclosure, I had one event cancel and three events get postponed in the month of April and we are yet to reschedule a new date because there is a lot of uncertainty regarding what will happen next.
The last point I mentioned in the webinar was to be flexible and improvise when a crisis occurs. This point has been so real over the last few days. Here are some tips on what to do with the crisis we are faced with.
One of the first things you need to do is stay in touch with your clients. Make sure you are speaking with them and calming their fears. It is important that they are hearing from their planner at this time, be the voice of reasoning. One option is to send an email with a newsletter; however, I still strongly recommend you call your clients directly and have a conversation with them.
Contact the venue and find out what their plan is for Covid-19. You should email the venue before you speak to your client. Are they willing to allow the client to postpone their event (which majority of venues are doing) or are they willing to allow a cancellation altogether? You want to get all the information you need from them, so you have enough information for your clients to make the best decision for their event.
After you have spoken to the venue, come up with options for possible outcomes before you call your client with the feedback. Remember one of your jobs as a planner is to be the professional who offers solutions and not just states problems. Make sure you have thought of possible suggestions of how they can approach the feedback from the venue and the next line of action.
After getting back in touch with your client, it is important to get a firm decision on if the event is canceled or postponed, so you know the next steps to take. Keep in mind if the event is within 4-8 weeks and it is being postponed or canceled, guests will need to move plans around, so you have to make a firm decision and inform guests ASAP. For instance, our events in April have not yet decided on what the new dates will be, but because we know we are postponing the events, we are proceeding to inform the guest. It is okay to let people know “due to the uncertainly of the virus we are unsure of the new date of the event but when we have feedback, we will inform you.” I have created free email templates for you on how we informed the guests about the event. You can download here.
Aside from contacting the guests, it is important you immediately contact the vendors to let them know of the change to the event date due to the virus. I have found that most vendors have been very accommodating and willing to work with the client in the best way possible on the future date. I have created free email templates for you on how we informed the vendors for the events we had to postpone/cancel. You can download here.
Last but not least make sure you stay calm. This situation has affected the world and can be devastating for a lot of people who have planned celebrations and some weddings and events and have people flying in from all over the world. I understand it is not only hard but destabilizing for the event industry and many other industries but take heart and stay calm. Ensure you are in constant communication with your client to ensure you are there to help them through the season. This too shall pass.
I truly hope you have found these helpful. Let us continue to pray for families and people with the virus for healing for them and pray that there will be no more deaths. Let us also use this time to show love and help people in our communities, especially the elderly that will need help with shopping.
Remember to keep washing your hands' people, for at least 20 seconds and keep your hands from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Lastly, please use this time to spend with family (for those working from home) and also as a time to make strides in working “in” your business; see this a valuable time to develop or improve on processes and systems within your business and to start working on those big dreams.