Whether it’s due to poor weather, last minute vendor issues, or simply low registration rates, sometimes it becomes clear that the best choice for everyone is to turn to an event cancellation checklist. Though it can be a difficult decision to make — especially after all of the planning and hard work you’ve put into it — it doesn’t have to be written off as a complete loss.
There are upsides to handling a cancelled event swiftly and professionally and even alternative solutions if you’re on the fence about whether or not to cancel your event. If you’re looking for an event-saving alternative, we suggest looking into the features and capabilities a learning management software (LMS) platform can offer before you begin step 1 of an event cancellation checklist.
If you’ve already exhausted all alternative possibilities, and need some fail-proof steps amidst the countless new to-do items, we've got you covered. Take a look at our:
101 checklist to see how you should start the process of cancelling your event.
1. Produce a Consistent Cancellation Message
- Include reasoning for your event cancellation as well as how you plan to handle refunds.
- Use concise messaging and clear action steps but is concise.
2. Send a Message to All Attendees ASAP
- Try to tell all of your attendees (as well as sponsors, speakers, and vendors) at the same time, otherwise it may leak before you’re ready!
- Some event management platforms, like ePly, provide mass emailing tools for mass emailing all event stakeholders and attendees so you don't have to spend all day making sure you've covered all of the bases.
- Consider including an incentive for signing up for your next event or offering to roll tickets over to a future event.
- If you've decided to deliver your event virtually using live streaming or webinars, be sure to include information about how to access that content on the day of the event.
- Send a separate message to remind your partners / affiliates to stop selling tickets since you had to cancel your event
- Turn off any ticket options on your website, online event registration system, social media, or any other automated channels and replace with a message .
4. Post and Monitor Your Communication Channels
- Once your attendee message has gone out, be sure to post on your event’s landing page and social media channels that there has been a cancellation to your event (and why)
- Actively check your event email and social media channels for any feedback and respond swiftly and appropriately
5. Market Alternative Content
- Though it’s unfortunate to have to cancel your event, make sure you use this window of heightened audience attention to market other events that your organization or business is still hosting
- Consider offering insider access to webinars, podcasts, or other gated content as a way to thank those who registered in the wake of having to cancel your event
BONUS: Consider Hosting Your Event Virtually
- Whatever the circumstances may be, see if you’re able to offer a virtual event or conference before you completely cancel your event! Instead of losing time and money, converting your event to a virtual event may actually generate more ROI than your in-person conference .
Planning an event, especially a big one, can seem like a daunting task. There are a million things to do and, if you’re like most organizations, very few people to help. But don’t worry! We’ve broken down the event planning process into nine simple steps for overall success. Check out our guide, 9 Steps to Event Planning Success to streamline your “to-do” list and make the most of your event!