No one saw Coronavirus (COVID-19) coming, leading thousands of Event Organizers stunned when all gatherings of over 1o people were limited temporarily.
With event season quickly approaching, many Event Organizers had planned to host events in the foreseeable future and are wondering how to proceed. While we at EventSprout don't know exactly what's to come with COVID-19, our Event Organizers have given us some great insight into their experiences cancelling or postponing events. We've compiled some of the highlights they shared with us.
According to our Event Organizers who've experienced cancellations before, it's likely your fans are already expecting a refund. If they're not addressed soon, they may flood your inbox, post about it on social media, and chargeback their orders. To avoid these scenarios, it is always best to reach out to your customers before they begin reaching out to you.
Once you've made the decision to postpone or cancel your event, the next move is to contact your patrons and offer them options:
1. Ask them to consider their purchase a donation.
Event cancellations and postponements can have a huge effect on some of the events we love most. Make sure your customers know how much this donation would matter in order to keep the event running.
Make sure to note if you are a tax deductible donation.
2. Offer them their same tickets for the postponed event. Better yet, offer them an upgrade.
This may earn you major brownie points with your customers as you show them your commitment to their positive experience. Although the postponement may be initially frustrating to the fan, they'll appreciate the gesture and will be much more likely to purchase tickets again in the future. Plus - it's extremely easy to transfer your customers over to your next event.
3. If a refund is requested, process it quickly and in the same mode it came in.
Never send a check or give cash for an order that was purchased via credit card; this will help you avoid an additional chargeback. Note that if you refund someone via check that paid by cc, they could receive your check and still claim a chargeback through the cc processor and they will win, leaving you to have paid 2x. If you refund through the same system that processed the payment (EventSprout) that posted the initial charge, the cc company will see that and will not approve any other chargeback from that purchase, it is cleaner for you and safer for you.
Offering the above options may not result in 100% buy in, but it will certainly be better than offering only one solution. Offering options will make your fans feel like they have some control over the situation and allow them to be a part of the decision making process.