The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic. As the viral disease continues to spread around the world, it is having a profound impact on the live events industry.
Many local and national government agencies are advising against or outright banning all non-essential public gatherings, putting live events organizations in the position to cancel or postpone events. The cancellations have been wide-sweeping, impacting theater, sports, music, comedy, attractions and more.
Coronavirus is stressful and is continuing to cause angst in our communities. Our industry usually serves as a happy distraction in the worst of times. We spend a night at the theater as an escape. Visit a comedy club for a much-needed laugh. Head to a concert to sing and dance away our worries. Attend a sporting event to get a breather from life’s daily stressors.
As live events professionals, we are all under immense pressure and the entire AudienceView team empathizes alongside you. Please know that we’re here to help and support you through this trying time. Even if it’s just to listen to your challenges as we work through this unprecedented time together.
Our team is diligently tracking communications from all levels of government to remain updated on developments and ensure we are operating under best practices in response to this situation.
In parallel, we offer these best practices to help you and your team:
Tips for Canceling or Postponing Events
- Take canceled shows off your calendar. This may seem obvious, but with so much going on, we believe it’s worth mentioning.
- Communicate early and often. Be honest and transparent in your messages. Reach out via email, social media and your website to ensure your entire customer base is well informed. Remember that everybody prefers to receive their information via different channels.
- Update your advertising campaigns. Events may have been canceled in the near term, but in the long term the show (and live events) will go on. Take a look at any ads you are running and refocus them on future events, capital campaigns or anything else that will help support your business.
- Offer a credit or exchange. Instead of immediately offering to refund tickets to a cancelled or postponed event, ask your customers if they would like a credit or exchange. This is a good way to keep the revenue with your organization. If they prefer a refund, give it to them and make the process easy so that they will remember having a positive experience and come back again.
- Make the ask. If your organization has a philanthropic arm that is focused on raising money, ask customers to consider transferring their ticket refund to a donation.
- Set expectations. Explain in detail how long it will take for a customer to see a credit on their account, receive a refund or get their new tickets if they chose an exchange. If you make the refund or credit process easy, you’re likely to retain their support and increase loyalty.
For AudienceView clients, we have a complete set of protocols in place to help if you need to cancel an event. For live events organizations that aren’t working with us, we’d love to show you how we’re not just a ticketing company, but a true partner. Just drop us a line.