When it comes to attendee satisfaction, communication is everything. Despite the fact that restrictions are easing and the world is opening back up, there’s always the chance that you might have to postpone or cancel your event. So, it’s a good idea to have a solid event communication plan in place.

Luckily, we’re here to help with advice on how to determine whether your event can happen or not, and how best to communicate your decision with your guests. But remember: staying up-to-date with current government guidelines is still essential when organising your event.

When will I know that my event can be held safely?

1. When you’ve carried out a risk assessment

To see whether or not your event can go ahead, it’s important to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment. First, assess what your risk factors are i.e. the aspects of your event that could increase the chance of COVID-19 transmission. These might include having a small indoor venue or guests forgetting their face coverings. After you’ve assessed the risks, work out ways to mitigate them with safety measures such as socially distanced seating, a PPE policy, and timed entry slots. Eventbrite can help you to plan a COVID-secure event with handy features such as the ability to gather attendee details for contact tracing.

2. When you’ve checked and complied with local rules and regulations

Not only is it vital legally to check both national and local rules, but it’s also a great way to help you to feel more confident about planning your event. If you’re unsure about anything, contact your local authority or council for advice. It’s also a good idea to stay on top of event industry news and keep an eye on the UK government’s Events Research Programme, which is looking into ways to safely host large-scale events again.

Here are the current nationwide restrictions in relation to events:

  • England: For indoor events, attendance is restricted to 1,000 people (or 50% of venue capacity if lower). For outdoors, it’s 4,000 people (or 50% of the capacity if lower). Huge venues like stadiums can house 10,000 people (or 25% of the capacity if lower). Further easing of restrictions will not take place until at least July 19.
  • Scotland: Most areas are in level two or one. In level two areas, a maximum of 100 people is advised at small indoor events. Outdoor grouped standing events can have a capacity of 250, while outdoor seated and open space events are limited to 500. Level one regions can have 200 people at indoor events, 500 people at outdoor grouped standing events, and 1,000 people at outdoor seated and open space events. From July 19, it’s hoped that the whole of Scotland will move to level zero, allowing events to welcome more attendees.
  • Wales: Up to 4,000 people can attend outdoor events if standing, with 10,000 allowed to be seated. Indoor events, however, are limited to just 30 people. The next review will take place on July 15.
  • Northern Ireland: Outdoor events can host up to 500 people, and it’s hoped that indoor events will be allowed from July 5.
  • Ireland: Up to 100 people can attend outdoor organised events. Meanwhile, 200 people can attend events in venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more. It’s expected that restrictions will be eased further in July.

3. When staff are fully trained

Ensure you’ve trained staff on how to comply with health and safety rules to reduce the risk of transmission. Make sure everyone’s comfortable with the applicable restrictions and policies and knows how to communicate rules to guests upon entry as well as how to keep areas clean. Prior to your event, it’s worth holding a run-through with staff to discuss any issues that may arise. For instance, talk about what to do if a member of staff or attendee shows COVID-19 symptoms or if guests refuse to wear face coverings.

Once you’re confident with all of the above and have carried each step out, it’s time to inform attendees that your event can go ahead as scheduled. In the meantime, keep attendees in the loop. Update them on what you’re doing to assess the safety of your event and let them know what will happen if it has to be changed or cancelled.

How do I communicate the good news to my attendees?

1. Inform every single one

In the digital age, that means promoting it on your website, sending emails, and pinning it to the top of your social media channels. The more places you communicate the news, the easier it will be for all attendees to see it.

2. Outline health and safety measures

As part of your event confirmation, make it clear that you’ve taken all the necessary measures to ensure your event can go ahead and state what you expect from attendees in return. For example, outline your PPE policy and send them a venue map in advance so they can see where to enter and exit. This will not only let guests prepare for what they need to do on the day, but will also help to make them feel more secure at your event.

3. Make them aware of refund policies

In your event details email, let attendees know about any back-up plans or refund policies that you have. You may have planned a hybrid model so that you can easily switch to a virtual event if needed. You might also have a flexible refund policy that offers the option of credit for future events or full refunds. In the event that restrictions change and you’re forced to postpone or cancel, your attendees will then have all the information that they need.

Expect the unexpected

It’s impossible to guarantee anything in the current climate, but preparing thoroughly will go a long way to helping your events succeed. If you’ve covered all eventualities in your communication plan, then you increase your chances of keeping attendees satisfied – even if your event is unable to go ahead.

Safety is the number one priority, so use our COVID-19 Safety Playbook to help you along your journey. And remember to stay up-to-date with the latest government guidelines and advice.

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