Tips on How to Handle a Cancelled Event

If you have an upcoming event, there is always a chance of cancellation due to bad weather, or situations such as the current pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, merely rattling off an email to ticket-buyers or posting a status update to Facebook with the bad news will not suffice. 

This is a time to exhibit grace. 

Fail to properly inform your audience of the cancellation and it will come back to haunt you across posterity.  Even something as subtle as the tone of the language you used to announce the cancellation matters a great deal. 



Postpone or reschedule your event

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Reasons for cancelling an event

A pandemic such as the coronavirus constitutes a legitimate reason for event cancellation. 

Health professionals across the land recommend social distancing for the next couple weeks at a bare minimum in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. This means people should stand at least six feet apart from one another. 

There is no reason to hold an event until the coronavirus outbreak is under control. However, coronavirus is only one of many legitimate reasons to cancel an event.


Additional reasons for rightfully cancelling an event include but are not limited to:

  • The venue is no longer available or suitable for a mass gathering
  • Inclement weather
  • The main speaker, host or other important party is sick or otherwise unavailable
  • Failure to obtain the necessary permit for the event
  • Significantly less ticket sales than expected (meaning it no longer makes financial sense to hold the event)
  • Competing events scheduled in the same area or time frame that saturate the market



How to handle a cancelled event in the proper manner

Large crowd of people watching live concertIt is often said the true test of one’s character is in how he or she responds when life goes awry.  Whether your event must be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak or another reason, it is important you exhibit grace under fire.  

This is not a time to complain, pout or act out in another negative manner. 

Stay positive, carefully craft a statement detailing the event of cancellation and transmit the statement to your guests in a timely manner

Use empathetic language to explain exactly why the event is cancelled and form an understanding.

Something as subtle as the tone of your written voice really can make the difference between alienating your audience and remaining in good graces with them. After all, your overarching goal is selling tickets to other events across posterity.



Give your ticket-buyers options

A blanket cancellation that does not provide guests with options is sure to alienate your customer base for future events.  Provide your audience with at least a couple options and they will be inclined to attend future events. 

As an example, guests should have the option of transferring tickets to other events in the months ahead. 

the system shows "Transfer Order #993177 (Sub-Order #728967)" an option of transferring tickets to other event.

Even if you simply provide guests with an event credit, they will view you and your business in a much more positive light. 

Above all, you should reschedule the event for a date that is at least a couple months into the future. It is quite possible the vast majority of event-goers are willing to delay their attendance to an event with a summer date. 



Learn more about ticket transferring

You can easily transfer your guests to different ticket options from within the same event (e.g. Transfer Friday tickets to Saturday tickets) or move them to an entirely new event.



Express your gratitude

Thank your guests for their business. 

Let ticket-buyers know you genuinely appreciate their interest in your event.  Include an apology in your message to make it clear you are genuinely sorry for the cancellation. 



Keep your event-goers in the loop

Collect the following contact information from your customer base:

  • Email
  • Street addresses
  • Phone numbers 

This contact information will come in handy as you promote any upcoming events. 

Continue to communicate with your audience about your scheduled events and they will be that much more inclined to purchase tickets as time progresses.



SMS Messaging feature

Use our SMS feature for quick communication with
your guests. Provide event updates, changes, promos, etc.




Cancelling your event with Purplepass 

Promoters who need to cancel an event have a few different options they can offer to their guests.

  • Nonprofit events can use their ticket as a tax-deductible donation
  • Offer exchanges or ticket transfers to another show time and/or date 
  • “Mark an event as cancelled” in which all customers are automatically refunded and emailed an update. ** This function is irreversible. If you are using PayPal to receive funds, you will need to cancel the event on Purplepass AND refund everyone from your PayPal account directly.


Changing your event date

Instead of cancelling your event, you can also update your even to a different date. 

To do this

(1) Log in to your Purplepass account

(2) select “Edit” on the event you need to change 

(3) adjust the date of your event

(4) at the top of Ticket Pricing and Options you can change the “Ticket Sales Start at” date to a date in the future

(5) scroll to the bottom and select “Update Event”


Changing event start and end date in Purplepass account.


Changing ticket sales date in Purplepass account





Stats, reporting and sales alerts

Find a report that works for your event with Purplepass. Use our reports or build your own such as marketing, financial or event statements.


Worried about attendee safety?  Be safe rather than sorry

If the safety of your event guests is in jeopardy, it is imperative you cancel the event. 

There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of your customer base. 

After all, if you were to proceed with an event amidst the coronavirus outbreak or another imminent health threat and your attendees fell ill, it would be nearly impossible to convince people to attend future events. 

If you or anyone you know has any of the following coronavirus symptoms, practice social distancing and request a coronavirus test ASAP:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

In short, the moral of this story is this is a time for safety over profit.  Resist the temptation to pursue your self-interest in the short-term and your bottom line will benefit in the long-term.

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