COVID-19: Advice and support for the event, leisure and cultural industries

The measures taken by the authorities to ensure the effective management of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis have consequences for many industries. The events and leisure sectors have been among the first to be affected. However, many options still remain available to organisers to plan for their future.

The Smeetz team was determined from the very first announcements of restrictions related to the COVID-19 crisis to take all necessary measures to support organisers in the event, leisure and cultural sectors.

In the first part of this article, we discuss some questions that remain unanswered:

  • Should I cancel or postpone my offers?
  • If I cancel, how do I manage that?
  • What if I postpone?
  • Will I get reimbursed? Totally? Partially?

In the second part of this article, we would like to propose a series of possible actions to help organisers go through this particular period and be ready for better days.

  • Sell gift cards, vouchers and packages.
  • Set up donation campaigns.
  • Offer online events/workshop.
  • Exchange with your community.
  • Be creative (videos, blogs, tutorials, etc.).

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Part 1: Cancel or postpone my event or activity

Cancelling an event or activity is not an easy decision for an organiser to make. Some organisers have had the opportunity to postpone, while others simply had no other choice than to cancel. In both cases, the task is not easy in terms of organisation and communication.

Postponing an offer presents new risks and adds an extra workload, however it gives the organisers a new chance to present their work.

We support all organisers in these difficult times and wish to help them manage the cancellation or postponement of their offers in the best possible way.

How to manage the cancellation of my event or activity

Cancelling an offer can represent a considerable loss of revenue for an organiser. Because we believe that solidarity must remain a priority in these difficult times, Smeetz offers cancellation fees to all organisers affected by a ban.

Only the refund fees charged by third party payment services cannot be refunded to the organiser (i.e. Visa, Mastercard, etc. refund fees).

Communication and donation requests

It is important to communicate the cancellation to all participants as soon as possible. The announcement of the cancellation should be done first via your networks.

You can then contact all participants who have already purchased a ticket directly from your Pro Smeetz Account > "Attendee Manager" > "Email selected attendees".

You can find more information in this article under "Attendee View": https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/attendee-manager

You can also take advantage of our integrations with Hubspot, Mailchimp and other CRM tools to contact participants. If you prefer to use your personal email inbox, you can simply export the list of participants in XLS format with the email addresses.

This communication can also be an opportunity to appeal to the solidarity of your participants. You can propose to your participants to waive part or the totality of the reimbursement in solidarity with your organisation. At the time of the cancellation, you will be able to select the amount to be reimbursed.

We recommend that you collect cancellation requests using an online form with the following fields:

  • Email address
  • First name
  • Last Name
  • Booking reference
  • Amount to be reimbursed

We also advise you to mention a response deadline to help collect requests more quickly. Here is an example made with Google Form: example of a form for a cancellation

Management of cancellations and refunds

You can manage cancellations and refunds directly from Smeetz. Users will automatically be refunded the desired amount, without the need for bank transfers or other manipulations.

You can find the procedure by following this link:
https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/cancel-booking.

Our team is also at your disposal to assist you in this process.

How to manage the postponement of my event or activity

The postponement of an offer can represent a considerable workload for an organiser, which is why our team is at your disposal to assist you in this process.

Here is a list of actions that you can take with Smeetz to optimise the management and communication of this postponement.

Communication on the postponement

There are several elements to consider when reporting an event. First of all, participants must be informed and reassured about the validity of their tickets. Once a new date has been set, inform the Smeetz team in order to re-send the tickets with a new date to all participants.

While the goal is to encourage participants to keep their tickets, there may be some participants who will wish to be reimbursed. Therefore, inform participants about how to get in touch with you in case of reimbursement requests. 

We recommend that you collect reimbursement requests using an online form with the following fields:

  • Email address
  • First name
  • Last Name
  • Booking reference
  • Amount to be reimbursed

We also advise you to mention a response deadline to help collect responses more quickly. Here is an example made with Google Form: example of a form for a report

Although in the current situation the causes of the postponement are obvious, inform your customers about the situation and the measures you have taken. Even if the situation is particularly difficult for you, do not hesitate to show empathy with the participants and apologise for any potential inconvenience.

Contact participants directly from Smeetz

You can send a grouped email to all participants who have already purchased a ticket directly from your Pro Smeetz Account > "Attendee Manager" > "Email selected attendees".

You can find more information in this article under "Attendee View": https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/attendee-manager

Contact participants by email

You can also take advantage of our integrations with Hubspot, Mailchimp and other CRM tools to contact participants through contact synchronisation. If you prefer to use your personal email inbox, you can simply export the list of participants in XLS format with email addresses.

Contact participants on social media

We also recommend using social media to communicate the postponement of your offer. For example, if you used a Facebook event, posting directly on this event is a good way to reach some of the people interested in it. It also gives an opportunity to your audience to interact with you publicly and privately.

We also advise you not to delete the Facebook event, but to add the words "Postponed" to the title, in the description, and/or in the visual of the event. You may find this event useful to share more information at a later stage and recontact those who have shown an interest in your event.

Manage reimbursement claims

If participants wish to have their tickets refunded, Smeetz will also offer the cancellation fee to the organisers. Only the reimbursement fees charged by third party payment services cannot be retroceded (i.e. Visa, Mastercard reimbursement fees, etc.). 

You can manage cancellations and refunds directly from Smeetz. Users will automatically be refunded the desired amount, without the need for bank transfers or other manipulations. You can find the procedure by following this link:
https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/cancel-a-booking.

Our team is also at your disposal to assist you in this process.

Change the date on the platform

Once the new date has been set, contact our technical team (customer.success@smeetz.com) to proceed with the effective change of date on the platform and resend the tickets to the participants.

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Part 2: How to create revenue during this period

The second part of this article aims to offer advice in order to continue offering your services, anticipate your revenues, keep in touch with your customers and prepare for the return to business as usual. We encourage to be inventive during this particular period.

Sell vouchers, pre-sales and packages

You probably find it difficult to continue collecting income when your business is at a standstill. However, we can help you anticipate your income by offering to your customers vouchers and pre-sales at attractive prices.

Indeed, your loyal customers will surely be interested in supporting you by booking tickets in advance if the date is flexible and/or if you offer them an advantageous price. This concept has proven to be very successful in the craft and catering industries.

Vouchers / Gift cards

With our booking system you can now sell vouchers that can be redeemed in the future by your customers. The advantage of these vouchers is that they are fully automated and linked to your ticketing system. You collect the money directly when they are sold and later on, for a period of time defined in advance, they can be used by the end-user to book from your offers.

In order to encourage your customers to buy these vouchers and allow you to continue to generate income during the closure, we encourage you to sell these vouchers at a price slightly below their value (e.g. CHF 50 voucher at CHF 40).

For more information on how to join Smeetz and sell gift cards: https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/sell-gift-cards

Packages and bundles

It is also possible to sell bundles and packages through Smeetz. You can decide to put a bundle of activities, parties or concerts on sale at a special price in order to ensure sales on less popular activities and parties. These packages are another opportunity to give your customers advantageous offers and boost your income.   

You can contact our team (customer.success@smeetz.com) for more information on the creation of vouchers and packages.

Offer your activities and events online

Probably like some of you, many of your clients are stuck at home looking for ways to occupy their free time. Social networks, online communication tools and streaming platforms have become the main link with our relatives, friends and the outside world.

In just a few days the number of activities offered online has exploded: teaching is done online, Yoga and Fitness instructors offer their services on video, choirs and singing teachers share exercises online, etc. Even DJs and Nightclubs broadcast their parties online.

Social networks and streaming platforms have never been so popular. Take this opportunity to reach new people by being creative (videos, tutorials, articles, personal creations, etc.).

This solution can allow you to continue some of your activities and especially keep in touch with your customers (and why not appeal to their solidarity). These online events can be offered for free (with or without a call for donations) or accessible only to people who have previously purchased a ticket by including the link for the videoconference in the booking confirmation.

Several tools are at your disposal to offer your paid or free services online:

  • Videoconference tools (Skype, Zoom, etc.) are perfect for continuing to offer individual lessons, group courses, workshops and workshops.
  • Streaming platforms (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) are ideal for offering tutorials, workshops, and video sharing.
  • Social networks: Facebook and Instagram give you the possibility to make "live" (public or private for your members) and thus offer your community group lessons, live tutorials, concerts, etc.

Launch a donation campaign

You can appeal to the solidarity of your network if the forced shutdown of your activities or the cancellation of your event threatens the sustainability of your operations. The most direct way to do this is to propose to your customers to waive all or part of their ticket reimbursement as explained in part 1.

We also give you the option of receiving donations by creating tickets on Smeetz with various donation values. These tickets may or may not offer a symbolic counterpart such as a personalised "thank you" card or video, a collector's poster, etc.

In order for a donation campaign to be effective, it is wise to prepare a meticulous communication. The two key elements of this communication are, firstly, the communication of the exact reasons for the campaign and, secondly, the explanation of the uses to which the donations will be put.

You will then be able to share your campaign on your social networks and by email to the members of your community.

Write blogs and articles about your organisation

Workshop, course and workshop organisers can also continue to share their expertise in articles and blogs.

Articles posted on your website are an excellent way to keep in touch with your customers and are also a good way to attract traffic to your website. Writing content that addresses key themes can also be beneficial to your search engine ranking.

Prepare for the return to business as usual and learn new things

This period is an opportunity for all of us to prepare for the return of better days. Preparing an effective communication will help you get your business back on track quickly. We will therefore take advantage of this period to publish other articles with tips for your digital communication and marketing.

You can also take advantage of this period to contact our communication experts and take the time to learn more about digital marketing (FB ads, SEO, Google Ads, CRM, etc...).

Get in touch with our experts

We hope that this article has been useful to you and will be a source of inspiration for managing your activities in this peculiar time. The Smeetz team assures you of its full support during this challenging period and looks forward to continuing this collaboration.

It would be our pleasure to get in touch with you. Here is how to reach us:

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