Now, I am sure most of us have cancelled an event or two during our careers. If you only ran events that you KNEW were going to run you probably wouldn’t do much that was innovative or new.
So having to cancel an event is in itself not a bad thing, to me it is proving that your failure with this event is an investment in the success of the next one.
And of course when we look at canceling an event, it’s not a binary choice, there is also the opportunity of postponing and having another stab at the event.
So why would any organiser be considering cancelling an event?
If you are, then you are probably worryingly short of achieving your objectives.
So let’s say for example, your 1000 people conference has less than 100 attendees. Your objective was to earn a profit and with those low numbers you are going to run a loss. And let’s say you are only one month out for the event. Is it a black and white decision? Would you cancel?
Hold on, I don’t think that you have enough information to be able to make that call.
Perhaps attendees tend to book late, perhaps your early booking rate is up soon, maybe you’ve just gone to market, or you have yet to launch your final programme!
So any of these factors would come into play and have an effect on what looks like a pretty clear cut decision in this example.
So my first point is: that you have to soak up as much information as possible before you make the cancellation decision.
You don’t want to cancel without giving your event the best chance to succeed!
So now that you have some more information, for example, are the bookings likely to flood in tomorrow or next week! You should be more confident in the decision you take.
However, even with that information you still have to think about making that call.
Number one: is there any kind of reputation risk?
Number two: how much effort have your already put in (aka a “sunk cost)
Number three: what are you committed to in the future?
Depending on a few calculations on the above you might not be so quick to cancel.
William discusses all of the above and MORE during an interview with experienced events professional Ángeles Moreno.