There are many reasons why a scheduled event may have to be canceled or modified. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all about that! But issues like equipment failures, safety concerns with the meeting space, and natural disasters are other examples.
Nobody likes having to contact customers and let them know of a change to their event, especially if it’s a cancellation. However, having standard verbiage written, approved, and ready for use can, at least, eliminate the stress of having to craft a notice from scratch. Plus, when you take the time in advance to consider what you want to say, you know the emails you send going forward will be clear, concise, and contrite regarding the inconvenience.
To provide a foundation you can work from, we’ve drafted some email templates to cover different scenarios—from simple events to those with services like catering or equipment. You can access those free event cancellation email templates here.
5 Helpful Tips for Canceling or Modifying Events
In addition to having vetted email verbiage ready to go, here are five tips regarding canceling or changing events:
- Communicate with customers as soon as you know that their event will have to be canceled or modified. In some cases, minutes matter. In fact, one of our email templates can be used to provide a “heads up” on potential changes in order to give the customer extra time to develop a Plan B if needed.
- Consider contacting the customer using multiple communication channels. Our templates are crafted for use as emails, but texting or calling in addition to emailing can help ensure that the customer is definitely aware of the change.
- Be as generous as you can in compensating the customer for the inconvenience. You don’t want to lose them! This may include refunding money paid on canceled events, giving the customer an “upgraded” room if possible if they’ll be rescheduling, “comping” some extras like a special break service for moved or rescheduled events, etc.
- Help the customer tie up “loose ends” as much as possible. Had they already shipped materials to your facility? If so, ensure that they get returned promptly. Making an event cancellation or change as pain-free as possible is 1) the least you can do, and 2) a way to increase the chances that the customer will book space with you again in the future.
- Hold a “debrief” with your team to talk about why the event change occurred and whether there is anything you could have done differently to prevent the problem. In the case of something like the pandemic, it’s out of your hands, of course. But if it’s a facility issue, could preventative maintenance have kept the issue from occurring? The answers to these types of questions may be, “No,” but it's important to ask them nevertheless.
A Final Thought on Event Cancellations and Changes
One of the keys to handling event cancellations and modifications gracefully is having an event scheduling system that incorporates all aspects of events and tracks them seamlessly. The last thing you want to do is contact the customer to share the bad news and then have to contact them again when you realize there were issues related to their event that you forgot to address.
Mazévo is an event management system that provides both a holistic, big-picture view of events, but also lets you drill down into the details quickly and efficiently. If you’d like to see how our system enables scheduling teams to handle any curve balls that come their way effectively, please contact us to schedule a demo. And don’t forget to download our free event cancellation templates.