7 Options When Covid-19 Cancels Your Event

October 27, 2020

Everyone knows someone who hasn't been able to celebrate their personal milestone event - birthday, anniversary, wedding, graduation, christening or housewarming - when they wanted to, thanks to Covid-19 in 2020.

Businesses have also had to postpone product launches, store openings, expos, conferences, festivals, markets, workshops and team days.

What do you do when your event's been cancelled? Here's 7 options to consider.

Outright cancellation
Sadly there will be some circumstances where the moment - and momentum - will have passed by the time we're able to meet en masse, not to mention in person, making them seem redundant.

For example, a company that was planning to celebrate its 80th anniversary back in April 2020 may feel having an 81st anniversary in 2021 won't have the same impact. There will be other events that can't really be launched again as life moves on, but may be recreated into an entirely new celebration.

Virtual roadshows/conferences
When you can't see your employees and clients around the country or worldwide, one option is the virtual event. Melbourne's Delegate Connect is a turnkey solution allowing you to deliver the entire experience virtually.

From panels and debates, to keynote lectures, attendees can engage with up to 30 simultaneous streams of conferencing, anywhere in the world.

From the first meeting until the closing remarks, Delegate Connect blends live streaming and VoD webcasting with Q&A, polling, live chat, and integrated CPD tracking & analytics to create a seamless virtual experience.

Recent virtual events were held for HammondCare, Techsauce Global Summit 2020 and the annual Visitor Information Services Summit for the Victoria Tourism Industry Council.

Rethink the purpose
What is your event to celebrate? If you would normally invite journalists, bloggers, influencers, clients and celebrities to a lavishly produced product launchat a fancy venue with giveaway bags and gorgeous catering, your real aim is to get the products in their hands to familiarise them with it and perhaps promote it online.

You could spend the same amount of money - or less - by sending them a gorgeous gift package, perhaps including a delicious goodie or two to their workplace. Their colleagues will see it arrived and watch the unboxing, too. Not as splashy, but it will achieve the same purpose. 

If it is a charity luncheon to raise funds for a social cause or health issue, you might retain more revenue for fundraising by collaborating with a brand that by the public making purchases you can donate a percentage towards the charity.


Indoor goes outdoor
It may be some time until we can gather together indoors en masse.

Can your event be relaunched as an outdoor event?

For example, a wine and cheese expo at a city convention centre will be enjoyed just as much - possibly even more - in a city park or large public garden.

A cinema premiere might be switched from a complex or Art Deco-era venue to a drive-in, or outdoor cinema.

A corporate VIP dinner could be switched to a rooftop drinks party.

Same time next year
Large-scale, outdoor annual public events require a long time to plan, obtain a sweeping range of permits and secure hundreds of exhibitors.

Held in world-class cities such as Melbourne with a full calendar of events, they cannot simply be rescheduled mid-week, or in other cases, in a different month because of the logistics, and scheduling conflicts of other regular events and the celebrities booked to appear.

Sometimes they can't be rescheduled simply because of the nature of the event. For example, a floral spectacular cannot run in winter because many flowers aren't in bloom then.

Instead postpone them to approximately same time next year when they would have normally run again, such as the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, and the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

On a smaller scale, you could consider delaying your event to the same time next year, so that a cancelled in-store opening one year becomes a first birthday special event the following year.

Offpeak months
Traditionally the majority of Melbourne corporate events are planned for the October-April period of the year when it's (relatively!) sunny and warm, and boasts long hours of daylight.

But if your event's been cancelled, there will be only so many dates available at venues.

If your event is not contingent upon a certain date ie Halloween, or Christmas, and could, in fact, be held at any time of the year, look seriously at offpeak months such as late autumn and throughout winter.

Offpeak time
There are only 52 Fridays, 52 Saturdays and 52 Sundays in a year. How about you take advantage of all those Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays? Melbourne venues could well charge a premium even over their usual weekend charges to compensate for their lost revenue in 2020.

Plus, they may be fully booked with events which were already postponed to a date in the future. So instead of a corporate dinner, why not hold a breakfast? Instead of a corporate day away on a Friday, book it for a Wednesday.

Enjoyed this? Discover why you need to determine how guests can get to your venue