Rescheduling an event is no small task, and a conference is no small event. The unknown nature of the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbates the issue, and adds a host of unknown, challenging variables. It can be particularly draining to weigh your options after all the energy and effort you put into your original plans. Do you cancel? Do you postpone? What’ll happen to my speakers?
While no one can say when restrictions on large-scale events and non-essential travel will be lifted, it’s becoming more and more clear that conferences planned for the summer–and likely the fall–are going to be impacted too. This is disheartening news for many, but shouldn’t be seen as an end to the conference season. We worked with our conference clients through the initial chaos of the pandemic—where last-minute cancellations and frantic postponements were rife—and summer event planners have one particularly important advantage: time to plan ahead.
As every planner knows, time is your most important ally for changing plans, marketing events and preparing for the big day. This is less crucial if you are pivoting to a virtual conference, as logistics like renting the venue, re-booking travel and organizing catering are no longer an issue. If you are tied to a specific date and need a quick rescheduling turnaround, a digital event is almost guaranteed to be your best option (particularly with the added importance of social distancing). If you are keen to continue with an in-person event, we recommend Conference Manager’s guide on where to start when rescheduling a conference.
Our Vancouver-based team worked tirelessly through the start of the pandemic to reschedule or cancel conferences across the province; in one case having to cancel a conference with less than 24 hours before doors opened. Although this was a frantic period, we learned a lot of lessons. One of the most important takeaways? Go virtual! There are so many unknowns regarding when things will return to normal, and there’s nothing more defeating than rescheduling your in-person event for the summer, only to learn that too will have to be cancelled, postponed or put online. Trust us, it’s a lot easier (and will save you a lot of headache) to plan a virtual event rather than assume large gatherings will return soon. Read this blog on the pros and cons of virtual conferences if you’re looking for more information.
If you have a conference scheduled (or rescheduled) for the summer or fall, we recommend considering a virtual option. This is a rapidly changing situation, and in times of uncertainty it’s best to plan strategically. Maybe large gatherings will be allowed, but maybe they won’t. Maybe your guests will be comfortable gathering in a conference hall, but maybe they won’t. Maybe travel restrictions will be lifted and your speakers can travel to you, but maybe they won’t. That’s a lot of ‘maybes’, and they add up to an event that is very difficult to plan.
The Brix team is dedicated to bringing events to life in a digital space, and we want to work with you! Our office is in Vancouver, but we work with teams from across Canada. Learn how we can help with virtual conferences, webinars and video production, or contact us if you have any questions.
Stay healthy and stay safe!
The Brix Team