Event organizers have been facing unbelievable pressure to decide how to handle the events they’ve planned for this year. Cancel? Postpone?
Once you’ve made the decision to postpone and your facility and hotel partners have found dates to accommodate your meeting, you’ve got a lot to do. It will be tough to reduce what is usually a 14-month process to six months, but possible.
Here’s a checklist of considerations to guide you through that process:
Reschedule speakers to the new dates
The faster you can get on their calendars, the fewer holes in the program schedule you’ll have to fill. Work with your speakers to:
- Shift dates/times
- Add content to address COVID-19 response
- Rebook airfare
- Reapply for CE credit
Confirm vendors for the new dates
Touch base with current vendors and confirm they can support the new dates and find replacements where necessary. Cover all areas of show logistics:
- Off-site events, entertainment, bands
Determine attendee, exhibitor, sponsor refund and/or credit policies
Inform all participants and give them the option to cancel or carry funds to rescheduled meetings.
Consider that holding two meetings close together (the rescheduled one and the following year’s meeting are closer together) may result in attrition
Determine the best way to handle the impact that will have on the organization’s revenue.
Move exhibitors’ physical materials
The size of your show will dictate how much effort this will take. Exhibitors will need support with their freight – having previously materials returned or shifted for the new dates. They will also need options and policies to apply funds to the later event.
Rely on your planning partners during this time. They can ease the burden of this extensive process and find ways to make the rescheduled show as powerful as the one you had originally planned.