How do you stand as far as events being postponed vs. canceled and have you been able to pivot any events to virtual?

How do you stand as far as events being postponed vs. canceled and have you been able to pivot any events to virtual?
A prominent plea in the last few weeks from the event industry is to 'postpone, don't cancel' events. Event professionals talk to us about how they are guiding their clients and navigating the current environment.

For the events that could not postpone, we suggest or have implemented a smaller event, a more intimate event experience, or canceled the 2020 event to gear up for an even better 2021 event.

There’s a global movement in the events industry to #saveevents. I agree with that of course, I mean that’s what we do, plan events.

I have suggested that our clients postpone events unless you have a large attended public event with multiple attendees/speakers traveling to your event from now until June. There are exceptions, however, for the Daffodil Festival in Nantucket – we are postponing to plant more daffodils and October is great for planting. We plan to repurpose it as a cause-related event for that mission.

Then there are events that could not be rescheduled due to availability (for large attended events in Boston) or the client had other fall events in the cue. In that case, you could create a live stream content-based event like The Ad Club did for their March planned Women’s Leadership Forum. The event is highly interactive as a live event with multiple activation experiences, but with creativity, they made it work. The digital event, now in June, will provide the same immersive content, networking opportunities, and interactivity from the comfort of your home or office (if back to work).

For the events that could not postpone, we suggest or have implemented a smaller event, a more intimate event experience, or canceled the 2020 event to gear up for an even better 2021 event. For our nonprofit clients – it’s tricky – events are important. Nonprofits rely on the event fundraiser for dollars, partnerships, and exposure for other sources of funding. We have provided our nonprofits with additional recourse and we have been there for them to write a grant if needed or help with other services like creating or featuring social media posts to highlight they’re doing good measure due to COVID. We are urging our nonprofits not to press pause, to keep fundraising, and to communicate with their funders – that’s key. We are working with a more strategic effort and working harder to ensure revenue for our non-profit organizations.

We literally feel like we have gone into overdrive as an “Event Fixer”. There’s so much we wish we could do during this time like volunteer, so we are providing free services to help our nonprofit clients. Our goal is to keep our clients fully informed and maintain everyone’s safety. As a result, AJ Events has implemented the following measures for events moving forward, not just for COVID but for flu season. We have built contingency plans for all of our events in case COVID-19 continues to spread or returns. For all events, moving forward, we will implement cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and for attendees.

We remain committed ensuring that our social clients’ celebrations remain positive and filled with excitement throughout the process and to help non-profit organizations at this extraordinarily challenging time. We know that nonprofits will likely be hit hard, and we hope that you will continue to support non-profits that depend on all of us.

While the short-term remains uncertain, once this crisis passes, the events industry as a whole is eager to connect face-to-face, to regroup, plan, educate, and celebrate.
#saveevents
"For the events that could not postpone, we suggest or have implemented a smaller event, a more intimate event experience, or canceled the 2020 event to gear up for an even better 2021 event." @ajwevents Click to Tweet

AJ Williams

Founder/ Creative Director

AJ Events, Boston, MA

We are rescheduling weddings by prioritizing what is important to the client and the most important aspects of the event according to the client.

Our approach is very client-based and client-focused. We base our postponements on what the couple deems as fit.

We are rescheduling weddings by prioritizing what is important to the client and the most important aspects of the event according to the client.

First, we coordinate with the venues as to which dates they have available. Finding a venue for some couples is one of the most important aspects to them so we have been able to accommodate our clients in that way.

If the venue has an available date that matches with us (the planner), then we go ahead and rebook. Then from there, we get in touch with the other vendors for availability dates.

Some weddings are rebooked for next year if the wedding date is important to the client.

Some other weddings are being canceled due to international travel bans due to the COVID19 crisis. We have 2 weddings we postponed due to most of the guests, and in a case the couple’s parents, not being able to travel to the US due to US embassies in the country of origin being closed. These weddings are getting pushed back three months to the summer/fall, in hopes that after restrictions are lifted, those weddings might hold.

Another way we are trying to deal with this is by encouraging micro weddings. Weddings with 25 or less guests after the strict restrictions are lifted for those who do not want to reschedule till next year.

We are also available for virtual appointments for any brides or couples who are very concerned about one thing or the other. We have been using Zoom or Skype for our meetings and design meetings

Still available via email through our website: www.revesetheres.com  or [email protected]om

"We are rescheduling weddings by prioritizing what is important to the client and the most important aspects of the event according to the client." @reveseventsllc Click to Tweet
Emilie Makor

Emelia Makor

Co-owner

Reves Etheres Events, Harrisburg, PA

We have had 3 conferences canceled because there simply was not enough time to transition those conferences to a virtual opportunity by the original conference date. 

COVID-19 has been a learning opportunity for us all. I’m hoping people have been able to learn from this and make the necessary adjustments for future events and weddings. Regarding Andrew Roby Events, we have had 3 conferences canceled because there simply was not enough time to transition those conferences to a virtual opportunity by the original conference date.

Those conferences are working diligently on a virtual component that allows attendees to still get the value that makes conferences so remarkable. All meetings have moved to a video conference element which is great because many businesses are still operational.

As it relates to weddings and social events, we have been extremely lucky. All but two of our weddings have now been rescheduled. We have had birthday parties moved to later in the year. For the weddings and events already scheduled for later this year, we are keeping a close watch on the developments and guidance based on the states where each event takes place.

The biggest concern that many people have is whether or not to begin planning for future events. For that, we say YES! Now is a great time to lock in prices and get things on the books before venues and dates are taken. I see a huge rush as you now have 2020 events and weddings competing with 2021 events and weddings for dates and venues. Getting in front of that is truly key at this moment.

Overall, we remain positive as we know the show must and will go on.
"We have had 3 conferences canceled because there simply was not enough time to transition those conferences to a virtual opportunity by the original conference date." @MrAndrewRoby Click to Tweet

Andrew Roby

Event Storyteller

Andrew Roby Events, Washington, D.C.

Some clients have elected to choose a back-up date already, while others are in a holding pattern and want to see how the next 2 weeks play out in the world.

As far as our scheduled upcoming client events are concerned, almost all have been postponed until late Summer or Fall/Winter. Very few have been downright canceled (thankfully). In terms of dates, however, that’s another story. Some clients have elected to choose a back-up date already, while others are in a holding pattern and want to see how the next 2 weeks play out in the world.

As a whole, we continue to re-write the book every day – not only in the events industry – but around the world in every industry. It’s almost impossible to have a full-blown, well laid out strategy moving forward, as we have no idea of timelines or where this virus is headed. Even after the initial spike is over, experts are predicting 2nd, 3rd, and 4th waves – and potentially more beyond that.

It’s an interesting, crazy, scary, weird, exhausting, and unprecedented time with an array of emotions and a swing of sentiments. That said, it’s important for everyone in the events industry to remember why we’re here. We create moments and memories for people. We’re artists who paint pictures of social engagement and human connection. We need to continually reflect back on this, but also look ahead as there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We will emerge from this pandemic with a newfound rejuvenation and energy. Events will be needed more than ever to reconnect people and recreate those moments of human bonding and connection. Trust me when I say that events are not “gone” – they’re more important now than they’ve ever been in history.

#PostponeDontCancel

"Some clients have elected to choose a back-up date already, while others are in a holding pattern and want to see how the next 2 weeks play out in the world." @brinkevents Click to Tweet

Aidan Henry

Owner & Creative Director

Brink Events, Victoria, BC

We have been successful in securing new dates in the late third and fourth quarters of this year with the hope that we are past the social distancing and event ban period of Covid-19.

Most of my couples have “Postponed”. We have been successful in securing new dates in the late third and fourth quarters of this year with the hope that we are past the social distancing and event ban period of Covid-19.

Venues have been super in communicating, moving payments, and trying to be as supportive as possible which is SO amazing for our industry. It’s refreshing to see people reading their contracts and making smart decisions.

 

The initial heartbreak I get, but Covid-19 is truly something outside of the norm and we are all working to make the adjustments necessary to accommodate our clients, our staff and our families! I have had a positive experience with the process, people have been understanding, cooperative, and mindful. I’ve noticed that email tones are softer and folks are trying to support one another however they can. I’m hopeful that we all walk away from this with some new lessons, stronger relationships, and a new perspective on “when things go wrong”.

 

I have had a few couples reach out for small ceremonies at a location that we manage but the costs are higher because of the extensive sanitation that we would have to do after the event. So, that hasn’t really worked out. I hope that people take that into consideration if they go to a place to host a ceremony and if they are renting their space out. Your facility needs to be “disinfected” before anyone comes in and then after they leave.

 

We haven’t helped anyone virtually but we are looking at hosting some virtual events over the next few weeks for couples making wedding plans for later in 2020 and beyond. I’m pretty excited about that!
"We have been successful in securing new dates in the late third and fourth quarters of this year with the hope that we are past the social distancing and event ban period of Covid-19." @ckevents1 Click to Tweet

Covesa Gragg

Founder and CEO

Covesa Kelly Events, Cleveland, OH

A wedding should only be canceled if the couple is no longer together.

A wedding should only be canceled if the couple is no longer together. Yes, I said it. It is life and things change.

Now we are living in a time where there is so much uncertainty. Having to move your event to another date due to a natural disaster is fine. At least your venue did not have a fire 5 days before the event and you have to get a whole new venue.

It is how your vendors are treating you. I have a client and their wedding date is July 2020. When Governor Cuomo of New York put the 8-week hold on gathering, the couple reached out to their venue to see what their protocol and procedures are. The venue stated, “we are only dealing with April and May events now”. Of course, the couple felt cheated and not even respected that their wedding is the most important and memorable day for them. If the venue had said instead, ‘currently, we are going to deal with April and May events but sometime in April reach back out and we should have a better understanding or grip of the situation’, I think the couple would be a little more at ease.

My couple and I spoke and after this situation, we decided to wait and last week we reached back out to see what is the next step. The couple was honest to say I want to change my date. Guess what, their new date is in 2021. This will give the venue a chance to move another event to a now available 2020 date and they have booked an event for 2021.

"A wedding should only be canceled if the couple is no longer together." @chandaievents Click to Tweet

Chandai Raghunauth

Owner and Planner

Chandai Events, New York City, NY

When it comes to postponement or cancellation, it's important to consider solutions for each event on a case-by-case basis.

When it comes to postponement or cancellation, it’s important to consider solutions for each event on a case-by-case basis. As an event planner, I strongly believe it’s my professional duty to act in my clients’ best interests, just as a fiduciary or attorney would. I’ve been paid to advocate for my clients and always strive to serve their individual needs.

While postponement is typically the best way to protect the clients’ initial investment in the event, cancellation may still be the best option for a client. Some clients may be facing financial hardship or serious health concerns, and it’s important to understand that the impacts of Coronavirus go beyond social distancing rules. Every situation should be treated as unique and handled with compassion.

The most important thing to do is to be a good listener; our clients need someone to talk to as they process the grief over their events. The next most vital thing is to proactively share information that empowers clients to make the best decisions for them. Every event faces different risks. These risks may impact travel, communication, decor or flower sources, the physical health of the hosts or guests, the financial health of the hosts or guests, and more. Each client and event has different levels of exposure to these risks.

Just as there is no one-size-fits-all event plan or design, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the impacts of Coronavirus.

"When it comes to postponement or cancellation, it's important to consider solutions for each event on a case-by-case basis." @MeggieFrancisco Click to Tweet

Meggie Francisco

Wedding Planner and Designer

Meggie Francisco Events, Columbus, OH

Life celebrations, business meetings, fundraisers, and galas that would have occurred through the end of May and early June have either postponed or cancelled.

Life celebrations, business meetings, fundraisers, and galas that would have occurred through the end of May and early June have either postponed or cancelled. The majority of life celebrations have been postponed to fall 2020 or early 2021. The real issue seems to be when will it be safe to have the rescheduled events.

The first of our postponed events, a fundraiser, would have been held the last week of March. They originally aimed to reschedule three months later, the last week of June. In mid-March, a June date seemed possible. Now just weeks later, it seems less so.

Conferences quickly reworked their live events into a virtual platform and I even attended one this week. I see this situation as an opportunity to rethink non-profit events. Many of the non-profit organizations utilize the funds raised for overhead and operating expenses. So with postponing or canceling the events, they still need to raise their funds. Holding a virtual event could be just that opportunity and we would love to help create an online fundraising event experience with this goal in mind.

"Life celebrations, business meetings, fundraisers, and galas that would have occurred through the end of May and early June have either postponed or cancelled." @hidartist Click to Tweet

Heidi Hiller

Owner | Creative Director

Innovative Party Planners, Baltimore, Maryland

We have been fortunate to have no cancelations as of now and only postponements.

Unless the event has a date that can in no way be changed, such as Easter or Passover etc., then we feel it should absolutely be postponed and not cancelled. More than ever people are in need of happiness and celebration, so receiving an email saying a wedding will still happen later in the year or next year, gives guests hope that everything will soon pass. There will be variations as to how things are done. Maybe a wedding of 500 people will now have their closest 200 instead, but it will still be stunning and even more meaningful.

It is more uncertain for corporate events since many of them are strategically tied with specific launch dates and since many companies have suffered immense losses and are uncertain about their financial future.

We have been fortunate to have no cancellations as of now and only postponements. As of now, we have not had any virtual events but we are ready for any virtual requests.

"We have been fortunate to have no cancellations as of now and only postponements." @plandesignevent Click to Tweet
Nicole Braghin

Nicole Braghin

Managing Partner/Creative Director

Plan Design Events, Miami, FL

I'm grateful that all of the events I am either planning or a part of have not been canceled.

We are in April; I think this has been going on for about a month now. I’ve had a few events that transitioned into virtual events. I’ve had events that have been rescheduled for later in the year or the first part of next year. There are two (2) events, where I was a guest and the Mistress of Ceremony, that have been rescheduled.

I’m grateful that all of the events I am either planning or a part of have not been canceled.

I’m still very excited about the event industry. So many wonderful things are coming after all of this is over. Continue to stay safe!

"I'm grateful that all of the events I am either planning or a part of have not been canceled." @designplan4you Click to Tweet

LaKisha James

Owner

Designer Events by LaKisha, Conyers, GA

We are fortunate to have all of our affected events postponed, not canceled, which is great!

We are fortunate to have all of our affected events postponed, not canceled, which is great! We, as well as our couples and vendors, have spent so much time, energy and invested so much love and passion into these celebrations so it is great news that they are moving forward! Love has not been canceled, and we need to remember that and remind our couples of that!

Of course, if our couples need to cancel we understand and empathize with them and their situation from these circumstances and we will do our best to help them through whatever decision they make that is best for them.

No one could have predicted this, it is no one’s fault, but together we will get through it and be celebrating soon!

"We are fortunate to have all of our affected events postponed, not canceled, which is great!" @JoveMeyer Click to Tweet

Jove Meyer

Owner | Creative Director

Jove Meyer Events, Brooklyn, NY

All of my clients are very upset and frustrated with the choices they had to make,  though all my April and May events moved to the Fall.

All of my clients are very upset and frustrated with the choices they had to make,  though all my April and May events moved to the Fall.  Friday night has become the new Saturday night.  All my vendors have been wonderful; very accommodating.

On a personal note, I can relate.  My daughter’s wedding is in October.  She had to cancel her bachelorette party in June.  The shower in August is a wait and see situation.

I am also a hostess for a friend’s daughter’s shower.  It is scheduled for a date that won’t happen.   I explained to everyone how we could do a really cool, creative, Zoom shower.   I see it as a great way to make lemonade out of lemons.  It would have been fun!! ie. send a box of shower decor for the bride to decorate her Zoom space, send lunch and Champagne and a personalized dessert for her and the groom, and have everyone send the gifts to her.  Open presents, do toasts and play a game…  The family decided they would rather reschedule the shower.   I tried.
"All of my clients are very upset and frustrated with the choices they had to make,  though all my April and May events moved to the Fall." Click to Tweet

Jamie Joffe

Owner/Planner

Jamie Joffe Events, Chicago, IL

I have had several events postpone and have been helping clients to implement sponsor benefits early, add additional benefits for those who stay engaged with the event, and also pivoting our marketing strategy.

It is completely up to the client, key stakeholders, and the type of event. I have had several events postpone and have been helping clients to implement sponsor benefits early, add additional benefits for those who stay engaged with the event, and also pivoting our marketing strategy.

I have also had events pivot to virtual, and, for that client (the audience was remote/virtual CIOS), it made sense to pivot to the virtual event. In that particular case, the client has a deep understanding of technology and several partners who could help pivot, so that made it a lot easier!

"I have had several events postpone and have been helping clients to implement sponsor benefits early, add additional benefits for those who stay engaged with the event, and also pivoting our marketing strategy." Click to Tweet

Beth Lawrence

CEO

Beth Lawrence Meetings & Events, Philadelphia, PA

As a wedding planner, I am seeing clients opting to postpone rather than cancel in order to protect the vision, efforts, and investment that they have poured into their special days this far!

As a wedding planner, I am seeing clients opting to postpone rather than cancel in order to protect the vision, efforts, and investment that they have poured into their special days this far! We have been working diligently with our couples and their families, during this time, to help make a stressful and heartbreaking situation a little more manageable.

Given the nature of my business, we are not seeing virtual events come into play. But, we have heard from industry peers that corporate events will see a lot more digital interactions moving forward as our world adjusts to the reality of our new future after this pandemic.

"As a wedding planner, I am seeing clients opting to postpone rather than cancel in order to protect the vision, efforts, and investment that they have poured into their special days this far!" @urban_soiree Click to Tweet

Renee Sabo

Founder and Lead Wedding Consultant

Urban Soiree, Boston, MA

I continue to counsel clients to postpone rather than cancel their event to avoid losing all money already paid in deposits and guarantees.

I continue to counsel clients to postpone rather than cancel their event to avoid losing all money already paid in deposits and guarantees. So far, vendors have been very good about moving deposits to a future date, if identified. Otherwise, they are indicating that they will apply the deposits once the couple has been able to find an alternative date, which is, dependent on several factors such as venue availability, a suitable alternative venue, and of course, availability of all vendors, including catering, music, and so on.

I am doing more and more virtual meetings with clients, utilizing Zoom meetings or FaceTime, in keeping with the social distancing mandate of our current times. However, I have not had any events actually move to a virtual setting, which may change. I think the dynamics of that would be interesting, but certainly not ideal.

"I continue to counsel clients to postpone rather than cancel their event to avoid losing all money already paid in deposits and guarantees." Click to Tweet

Rene Kraus

Owner/Chief Event Officer

Fete Perfection, Minneapolis, MN

To date, I’ve received 18 cancellations, and three postponements which include strategic sponsorships at major industry events and large-scale client produced conferences.

To date, I’ve received 18 cancellations, and three postponements which include strategic sponsorships at major industry events and large-scale client produced conferences.

While I may be biased, I don’t believe virtual events can replicate an in-person experience. My role, and company, focuses on elevating brands and amplifying corporate messages by transforming struggling events into extraordinary must-attend experiences. That just can’t be replicated in the same way virtually. I do, however, believe that COVID-19 has encouraged (aka forced) us to take a good hard look at our industry, events, and individual businesses to discover ways in which elements can be transitioned online and identify opportunities to pivot or create new products that may be missing in the market.

"To date, I’ve received 18 cancellations, and three postponements which include strategic sponsorships at major industry events and large-scale client produced conferences." Click to Tweet

Melissa Park

Global Event Producer

We are having several follow-up virtual (Zoom) meetings in regards to the postponed programs and ‘working’ on Plan B-C-D-E.

Well, I’m taking it (and our clientele) day by day …. No virtual events yet…

However,  You get the picture.😊

Truth be told I am holding my breath and crossing my fingers and toes … that even though it will become a logistical nightmare, all will work out in the end just a few months from now.

"We are having several follow-up virtual (Zoom) meetings in regards to the postponed programs and ‘working’ on Plan B-C-D-E." @MontrealPlanner Click to Tweet

Daniela Caputo

Owner/President

Montreal Event Planner - Daniela Caputo Event Management,

The last major project I was working on was a brand activation at SXSW, that was canceled rather than postponed.

The last major project I was working on was a brand activation at SXSW, that was canceled rather than postponed. As with many experiential events, they are time-sensitive as they often tie into a wider marketing campaign. So it doesn’t necessarily make sense to reschedule a live component.

I am seeing a big rush to explore the options for virtual events but I think it’s much more straightforward for structured events like conferences – we already have the technology for webinars and live streaming.

The big challenge for me is how to recreate an imaginative or immersive event concept in digital form. Answers on a postcard, please?!

"The last major project I was working on was a brand activation at SXSW, that was canceled rather than postponed." Click to Tweet
Venetia Harpin

Venetia Harpin

Immersive Event Producer

Los Angeles, CA

I have already reached out to the venues, and vendors and they are working with my couples to postpone to a different date if possible.

Right now, I have a couple of clients in the Springtime for weddings.  I really choose to only do a couple in the Spring due to temperatures increasing in Arizona, so the majority of my weddings are in the Fall this year. Right now we are playing it by ear. I have already reached out to the venues and vendors and they are working with my couples to postpone to a different date if possible.

This is a very trying time for many so we are just all trying to work together to get through it as much as we can. I have not transferred any events or weddings virtual so far, just the consultations where I follow up with my clients and give updated reports.

I know we all will get through this together as one.

 

"I have already reached out to the venues, and vendors and they are working with my couples to postpone to a different date if possible." Click to Tweet
Hesok Pittman-Boyd

Hesok Pittman

Wedding Planner

Bountyful Creations, Casa Grande, AZ

It feels like all of our clients are looking towards 2021 to go back to live events.

All 2020 events after March 20, except two, have been canceled. One moved from May to September and the other is keeping their event in October and making it virtual.

It feels like all of our clients are looking towards 2021 to go back to live events.

"It feels like all of our clients are looking towards 2021 to go back to live events." @pwolf_events Click to Tweet

Jodi Wolf

CEO

Paulette Wolf Events, Chicago, IL