Whether you were invited to a wedding that was postponed or your business meeting was moved to Zoom, you’ve felt the impact that COVID-19 is having on the event industry. In fact, according to Bizzabo’s Event Outlook Report, more than half of event marketers cancelled their events, and almost 75% postponed them. And it doesn’t look like that trend is going away.
Because most states closed non-essential business entirely, and many still strongly discourage large gatherings, venues aren’t filling up during an important event season. Event professionals—like florists, photographers, and entertainers—are feeling the hit, too. They need a wedding to arrange flowers and MC for!
Of course, cancelling or postponing events was the right thing to do, in order to keep everyone healthy and safe. But there are ways to support the event industry during COVID-19 without planning events and without putting anyone at risk. Even if you don’t have an event scheduled, you may have a favorite venue or an event professional that you’ve worked with before. Consider these tips to help them through this challenging time.
Love Them on Social Media
From online shopping to online learning and attending virtual events—everyone is online these days! Well, the event industry is no exception. You may have seen an increase in a venue’s online presence, or maybe a local catering company added online ordering to their website. However the event professionals and venues have chosen to participate in the online world, they need your support.
No, you don’t have to becomes a salesperson for your favorite restaurant or nearby florist. But interacting with them online—even a little bit—goes a long way. You can share their posts, like their pages, and interact with their content when you see it. Any engagement helps, and it’s a free way to support a hurting business. If you have worked with them before, consider writing a review on Facebook, Google, or another popular website. The event industry isn’t gone forever—just gone for now. Eventually, event planners will return to planning, and your reviews will help them choose the right venue or business for their event.
Reschedule Your Event
This certainly isn’t an option for everyone, and some events can easily transition to an online format. But if you’re choosing between cancelling and postponing—consider waiting until a different date or month (or year!) when it’s safer for everyone to gather. This is especially true if you can reschedule with your venue or vendors.
Bonus Tip: These handy tips will help you choose a new date during COVID-19.
Venues and event professionals aren’t just missing out on your business when an event is cancelled—they lose potential business, too. Guests are prospective customers; when they come and have a good time, they can recommend the venue or caterer for a future event—they may even use it themselves! Keeping your bookings, even if the new date is far out, will help the event industry during COVID-19.
Use Their Services Differently
If your wedding was postponed by eight months, or your major corporate meeting went virtual, the event professionals lose that revenue source. Even if you’ve put down a deposit, they likely won’t get the remainder of the full price. (Again—that was necessary to keep everyone safe!) However, there are smaller and safer ways that you can use their services to support the event industry during COVID-19. Ask yourself, “What else can I use flowers for? Can I hire a photographer instead of taking the photos myself?”
For example, if you postponed your wedding, you didn’t end up using your florist. You may still use their services in six or eight months on your new date, but it’s not happening soon. Instead, use the florist to send birthday flowers to friends or holiday bouquets to family members. Or maybe you can hire your photographer for socially distanced holiday card photos. Perhaps the DJ to make a playlist for your upcoming virtual birthday party. Get creative (and share that creativity with us when you do!)
Ask Them What They Need
Of course, your favorite catering company or local florist might not be open for business. On the other hand, their needs may have changed. If you want to help, but want to make sure you’re actually being helpful—get your information right from the source! Call ’em up and ask what their biggest need is right now. If it’s money, book their services for something (safe and socially distant, of course!). But they could also need donated cleaning supplies or help updating their website.
This is a way to support your favorite vendors and venues. But it’s always a way to support your local community, because small businesses are also feeling the weight of COVID-19. And if they’re a small business in the event industry, they may be feeling it twice as hard.
This is new territory for all of us, and you should absolutely make sure you and your family are safe and healthy before reaching out to support a venue or vendor. After all, it was the right call to postpone your event. But if you’re looking for ways to help, these are simple ways to do just that. (Some of them are even free!) Don’t forget to share how you’re helping with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Do you have a favorite local event vendor that you want to support? What ideas from this list stand out to you the most?