The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) means we’ve had to stop socialising and gathering to help prevent further spread. Inevitably, this has had a huge impact on the events industry. Right now, you’re probably considering whether to postpone, or even cancel, your event to keep your attendees safe.

If you’ve made the decision to cancel your event, the very first step should be informing guests in a way that’s clear and reassuring. Email is the easiest way to do this, allowing you to communicate with each attendee quickly and simultaneously.

To get started, check out our guide to creating an event cancellation email, which includes handy email templates you can adapt and send out to your contact list.

Crafting the perfect event cancellation email

  1. Keep your subject line short and to the point. Make sure your subject line clearly communicates a cancellation so that there’s no chance of people missing or misunderstanding it. Keep things simple: now isn’t the best time for jokes or humour. It’s also a good idea to include the words ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19′ in your subject line to get recipients’ attention.
  2. Write clear and direct copy. To ensure attendees don’t miss the point of your email, go straight into the fact that your event has been cancelled. Thank them for their understanding and offer available information about next steps and a link to your refund policy. Don’t forget to include contact details, so guests can reach out if they’re unsure what to do next.
  3. Include important, informative links. Although recipients are likely aware of the global situation, it’s helpful to include links to authoritative websites. We recommend the WHO and Health Service Executive for further research. It’s also a good idea to include a link to an FAQs page on your own site, to help answer guests’ questions on topics such as refunds.

A couple of email templates to help

Example 1: For when your event is cancelled

Hi [insert customer name],

As we’re sure you’re already aware, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant that it’s now vital to limit social contact and avoid gathering in crowds. For that reason, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel [insert event name]. While we know this is disappointing, we hope you can understand the steps we’re taking to help keep our staff and attendees safe.

What happens next?
We’ll be processing refunds for everyone who bought a ticket to [insert event name]. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch here: [insert contact details], or take a look at our FAQs page: [insert FAQ page link].

Thank you for your interest in [insert event name], and for your understanding during these unprecedented times. To find out more about the virus and how you can do your bit, visit the Health Service Executive or WHO websites.

Example 2: For when your live event is moving online

Hi [insert customer name],

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel [event name]. The good news is: we’re going to be moving [event name] online.

Here’s how you can join: [insert joining details].

If you are unable to attend online or have further queries, please look at our FAQs page [insert FAQ page link]

As it’s now vital to limit social contact, we hope you can understand the steps we’re taking to help keep our staff and attendees safe and help prevent the further spread of the virus.

Stay safe, and please contact us if you have any concerns or questions. You can find out more about the coronavirus via the Health Service Executive or WHO websites.

The silver lining of cancelling events

We understand that choosing to cancel your event is a difficult decision, especially when you’ve lots of time and effort into the planning and promotion. However, by doing so, you’ll be keeping your attendees safe, helping to flatten the curve of the pandemic, and affecting positive change. And while cancelling your event may inconvenience your guests in the short term, in such challenging times they’re likely to understand and agree with your decision.

In order to help creators reduce friction and attendee questions when they change the status of their event, we have launched new  in-product email templates that  can be used when notifying attendees of cancellations. These emails contain guidelines with information such as refunds or next steps, and are fully customisable. You will be automatically presented with the option to email all attendees using these templates as you go through the process of cancelling or postponing the event within the Eventbrite platform.

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