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Best PractiseBest Practise

How event organisers can help ease fan concerns about cancellations post-pandemic

Luke Nightingale
18 Aug

While events are returning to full capacity around the world, some effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remain in the minds’ of event-goers. One of these is that events they have booked tickets to will unfortunately have to cancel, and the possible financial implications that may have. 

In our recent Fan Report: Back to live in 2022, we found out that 80% of fans from the UK, Europe and the US rated an event having a clear cancellation policy as very important when it came to deciding whether to book tickets to an upcoming event. This figure was even higher when it came to booking events abroad, and in some instances was rated as more important than an event’s lineup. 

Amongst those we surveyed who still haven’t booked a ticket to an upcoming event, around a third reported that a fear the event would be cancelled as a reason why. This fear is something we’ve experienced first-hand in sales via our platform, with demand for our Booking Insurance rising by as much as 93% since the start of the pandemic.

All this shows that having a clear cancellation policy ahead of an onsale is imperative for event organisers wishing to maximise the impact of their launch. It should be clear and easy to understand what will happen in different circumstances, and be easy for fans to find and read online.

Not only can failing to publish one cause a whole host of legal issues in the unfortunate circumstance that an event does need to cancel, it can also have a devastating PR effect. Fan loyalty is a fundamental part of an event’s sustainability, and should always feature at the heart of whatever decisions organisers take.

Refunding ticket-holders is the most obvious thing to do if you have to cancel your event, but if you do that, be upfront about any non-refundable fees. Although we feel refunding is the best approach, we are all too aware that some organisers are unable to financially commit to doing so. If you would like to do this, it’s vital you make sure your finances will allow for it, or secure a comprehensive insurance policy that will enable you to do so. Triple check any insurance policy to be sure it covers you for whatever you put in your own cancellation policy. 

Alternatives to a full refund are ticket rollovers or credit to purchase tickets to your other events. These can be offered alongside traditional refunds, but with additional incentives such as VIP upgrades, food or drink vouchers, or other types of merchandise to encourage fans to choose one of these instead of going straight for a refund. 

Whichever you go for, being upfront and honest is crucial. Be clear in what options ticket-holders will have. Although some may not agree with your standpoint, they will appreciate the honesty much more than ambiguity and any surprises down the line. 

All this can go a long way to easing fan concerns around cancellations in a post-pandemic world. We expect this fear to naturally fade away over time, however, the more event organisers do to help decrease it further, the better position they’ll be in in the long run. Despite strong consumer demand for tickets, the industry must remain aware of underlying tensions that are still affecting some music fans.

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