What to do when your event is canceled...
Updated: May 6
We truly are living through an unprecedented event. Never done or known before. When has every outdoor and indoor event in our country canceled in one week? The answer is never.
Last Thursday, I was at Costco with my two middle schoolers and experienced the panic. The panic set in when there were no shopping carts available when we arrived. No shopping carts? We actually waited in line by the front door for a cart.
I told my kids, “You guys are living through history. When you are older and have kids, they are going to ask what it was like during the coronavirus. They are going to read about the coronavirus in their history books.”
My sixth grader responded without looking up from his phone, “Dad, we don’t have books, it’s all on the computer.”
“You know what I mean!” I said. “Put your phones down and look around, look at everyone fighting for bottled water, meat and toilet paper.”
“I know, right.” My eighth grader chimed in. “I can’t wait to tell them we got two weeks out of school. Dad, can I have a churro and yogurt while you shop?”
I wish I was back in middle school. Thursday, March 12, 2020, was the most challenging day Magnolia Golf Group has experienced in over 20 years of business. Our staff huddled in the conference room and watched the TV as every major event in the United States cancelled or postponed. Then our phones started ringing. All of our March and most of our April events fell to the panic of coronavirus.
The coronavirus is affecting everyone and that is the unprecedented part of this hysteria. From The Masters to your local Chamber of Commerce charity golf tournament. The hospitality industry has been hit hard including venues, vendors, non-profit groups, artists, teams…it goes on and on. We are all in this together and we hope the information below will help.
Having a communication plan is critical. When the decision is made to cancel or postpone, use all forms of communication including emails, updating your website, and posting to social media platforms. Make a list of everyone involved from attendees, sponsors, vendors, venues, and volunteers. Using the phone to personally communicate with your top sponsors and vendors will help ease the process.
Reschedule Your Date
Do not waste time picking a new date. The quicker your new date is announced the better. Vendors and venues may be booked for future dates so start with a few dates and narrow it down for what works best with everyone’s calendar. If possible, have your new date confirmed when you communicate your cancellation.
Magnolia Golf Group is in a unique position in the hospitality industry. We are a vendor to many events but always manage events on behalf of our customers. Vendors, now is not the time to enforce cancellation fees or rebooking fees. Events, many of your vendors for your spring event will be without business for the foreseeable future. Think about paying them a percentage of their fee now to be applied to your future event.
Do you want some positive news? Your committee now has additional time to sell new sponsors. Get your committee together to communicate logistics and revisit your sponsorship levels. Adjust your sponsorship levels if needed and update your website and event brochure.
Prepare for the Future
Many events do not have a cancellation plan in place. Learn from the process this year and put together a cancellation plan so your event can act quickly in the future. Your plan should have all sponsor, attendee, vendors, venue and volunteer contact information and who will be communicating with each. Your communication plan should include who will update the website, who will post to your social media, and who will draft the emails.
My father used to tell me, “This too will pass.” And this will pass and our hope is that by working together all our events in the hospitality industry will be stronger! If we can help fill out our Contact Form and a Magnolia representative will contact you soon.
God Bless and wash your hands!