It goes without saying that times are tough for event organisers. Many of you will have your heads down in strategy docs, or on calls with suppliers, trying to plan the best way forward for your event. 

Whatever your situation, we want to show you that you’re not alone. 

So over the next few weeks we’ll be grabbing (virtual) coffees with event organisers across Europe facing similar challenges, to provide inspiration and learnings that you can plug into your own strategy. Because there’s no-one better in a crisis than an event planner. 

First up is Amy McKeogh of Design Pop, who explains how she successfully postponed her next event while maintaining good relationships with suppliers and attendees. 

Tell us about your event? 

Design POP is a Design and Food festival that takes place annually in Cork City, Ireland.

How has the Covid-19 situation affected it? 

Design POP was scheduled to take place over the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of May but has been rescheduled for the 28th – 30th of August. I feel very lucky to be in a position of being able to reschedule my event and not have to cancel it. There has been fantastic support from all the people involved in the festival, from speakers, sponsors, the team and the public.

What actions are you taking/have you taken? What else did you consider doing? 

The first action I carried out was a team call with everyone on my team to discuss the viability of the event being postponed and what implications this would have. 

Although Design POP is an outdoor event in parts of Cork City, we rely on visitor numbers to ensure our sponsors and participants get the required public engagement with their brands. This meant that although our event would be classed as safe for the public in May, the general atmosphere and feeling in Ireland in that time would not align with our goals and therefore we should reschedule the event. 

From the perspective of our attendees, we felt it was important to remove any fear and trepidation around gathering, so that the only thing on the public’s mind was celebration, creativity and engaging with Design and Food. 

Before securing new dates, I spoke with my main partners and suppliers to ensure the new dates worked for them. It’s important to contact the venues and give them the postponed date as soon as possible, allowing them enough time and information to begin to rearrange their schedules. I am hopeful that being proactive, picking a new date and announcing it to the public will ensure minimal clashes with other rescheduled events. 

It’s also been important to reassure our exhibitors that the planning has been slowed and not stopped. 

How are you letting your audience know about the postponement?

I have updated the dates and informed all ticket holders on Eventbrite. It’s easy to do and having all the information on ticket-holders in one place is very convenient. We’ve also issued a press release and announced it across all our social media channels. 

So far the feedback has been incredibly supportive and considerate. Many people are commending us on making an early decision on rescheduling the dates. 

Any other thoughts to add?

Yes, just that everyone I have engaged with on this matter has shown great compassion, understanding and support. I think there is a general sense of support from other event creators and the sense of community and helping each other is shining through in this strange time. 

We must remember that we are all in this together and to see this as a great opportunity for us, as event creators, to develop our events further and have them as markers in the calendar for everyone to look forward to when this isolation is over. 

Key takeaways

  • Speak with suppliers, venues and internal stakeholders before arranging new dates for your event
  • Be clear and proactive in communications with attendees
  • Leverage your community to drive momentum towards the rearranged event.

We stand with all of you and the broader event community during a time when our industry is being deeply affected. Find blog posts and resources on our Covid-19 resource hub. 

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