There may come a time in your marketing career where you need to look into rescheduling events. Whatever the reason—a simple mix up or a force majeure—the unexpected happens. Here at Kapow, we’re dedicated to helping you troubleshoot this thorny but necessary marketing skill. Check out our tried-and-true tips and tricks for when you absolutely must reschedule an event below:
The top reasons for rescheduling events
Some of the top reasons for event rescheduling are:
Health and safety concerns: whether it’s a global health crisis or a small scale concern, sometimes things happen that could jeopardize the health and safety of your attendees. Take the opportunity to be in touch with them early and often to let them know their safety is your top priority.
Logistical snags: This is the most common reason for rescheduling events. The venue can no longer accommodate you, there’s a conflict in scheduling—there are tons of reasons. Exhaust your resources in terms of trying to solve this, but if all else fails, communicate this to your attendees ASAP.
Goal miscalculations: Good marketers always have a goal in mind when hosting an event. If you’re at risk to not meet your stated goals, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
Timing and climate: We’re part of a wonderfully connected world, but this comes with event risks. Is there something in the world that would make your event seem tone deaf or inappropriate? If so, hitting the brakes and taking the time to spin your event in a different way could be a worthwhile use of your resources.
The risks of rescheduling events
Rescheduling events should be a last resort, not a panacea for anytime anything goes wrong. Before you pick up the phone or send that email, make sure you consider the angles. Here are some of the risks inherent in rescheduling your event:
Attendee attrition: Getting your guests to show up to your event can be a huge challenge in of itself. Once your guests RSVP, there’s nothing worse than knowing you have to go back to them and ask their flexibility while you make changes. The more notice you provide, the better chance your guests will understand and there will be no love lost. However, there’s always a risk that they may not be able to attend the rescheduled event.
Monetary loss: Once you know you have to reschedule, it’s critical to reach out to your venue and see what your options are. If you give the venue enough notice you may be able to salvage your deposit by working with them to reschedule the event at their location. If your giveaway swag isn’t perishable, it’s entirely possible to sit on it until you’re able to use it further down the line. For time-sensitive gifts, you can send them to your attendees with a handwritten note to apologize for the change of plans.
Missing out on an opportunity for face time: It’s important to regard rescheduling an event as a temporary delay in getting face time with your clients. That said, it’s important to remember that if your prospective attendees cannot attend the new date, you’ll be missing out on valuable face-to-face interaction you would have otherwise been guaranteed. Make sure your sales teams are reaching out to your clients with the rescheduled timeline to create additional touchpoints and increase the likelihood of getting that second “yes.”
How to reschedule without losing momentum
There’s a saying that “you don’t change horses in midstream,” and while that’s generally good advice, any marketer worth their salt will tell you it’s not always applicable in our line of work. The truth is there’s never a “good” time to change your plans, but some moments are better than others. As soon as you feel that rescheduling your event is inevitable, reach out to your attendees. Let them know you’ve run into an issue and the only solution is to reschedule. Take this as an opportunity to get some 1:1 interaction and make sure your attendees will be able to attend the rescheduled event. If done right, you can take every marketer’s nightmare and use it to strengthen your relationships and heighten your brand equity.
Crafting an ideal rescheduling timeline
As soon as you think you’re on track to need to reschedule, start planning for it. Rescheduling is never ideal, but it’s still leagues ahead of having to cancel your event altogether. Practice the following steps as soon as you think an unavoidable roadblock is on the horizon:
Contact your venue ASAP with your cancellation
Reach out to your attendees first
Follow up with outstanding invitees that haven’t responded
Work with your venue to reschedule
Stay in touch with contacts during rescheduling process to gauge future availability and stay in good standing
Lock in new event date
Communicate to invitees and resend invitations
Work with venue to formalize event and finalize details
Stay in touch with attendees up to the day of your event
Execute your new event!
It’s important to note that this is a full-court press. Make sure your sales and marketing teams are personally reaching out to attendees to create additional touchpoints and garner goodwill. Showing your contacts that you value their attendance will make them feel important and seen. Following these steps will show attendees your professionalism, even when the event hasn’t gone to plan.
Looking for something a little more foolproof? Check out all of our favorite virtual event options. We here at Kapow are dedicated to creating unique virtual event solutions that are easy for you to book, plan and produce. Get in touch with Kapow’s event experts now to book your own virtual event or receive additional options that are certain to delight. Check back frequently for more marketing tips, tricks and strategies for virtual event marketing.
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