How to Respond to Worst-Case Scenarios and Save Your Event

It is possible to overcome event disasters like last-minute hotel cancellations, travel-disrupting weather and no-show speakers without the quality of your event suffering.

All it takes is a bit of quick thinking and creativity to find solutions to these disasters that minimize their impact on the overall success of your event.

While it might sound like this is easier said than done, the real-life cases below are great examples of how an event planner’s resourcefulness can save the day.


Overcoming an Event Transportation Disaster

Whether it’s a tropical storm that grounds all flights or a transit strike, anything that prevents attendees from getting to where they need to be can be a huge headache for event planners. However, there are things that you can do to overcome the event disaster and not let it ruin your event.

One time at Meetingmax’s annual Unconvention, a bus didn’t show up to transport attendees to the next venue. While this was an unexpected challenge for the event organizers, they were able to think on their feet and came up with a “walking session”. Attendees were paired up and given specific talking points to discuss while they walked to the next venue. Attendees thought this was part of the agenda and enjoyed the opportunity to stretch their legs.

Overcoming an Event Hotel Disaster

From renovation delays to accidental flooding, you can suddenly find yourself missing a huge chunk of your room block.

In one particular case, the event planner for a large city-wide event found out that 600 rooms in one of her hotels were not going to be ready due to construction delays. Finding new accommodation for 600 people is a big challenge, but ultimately, she was able to overcome this event disaster by rehousing them in nearby hotels.

While construction delays are sometimes unavoidable, you can take steps to protect yourself. For example, you can include clauses in the hotel contract saying that the hotel is responsible for finding new accommodations for guests if the original housing block becomes unavailable. You can also require that the hotel compensates you if this happens.

Overcoming an Event Food Disaster

While event planners often take great care to ensure that attendees are well fed and dietary needs are respected, there are occasionally times when guests aren’t satisfied with the food.

One time at Unconvention, the organizers took attendees to an ultra-modern Japanese restaurant. Midway through the meal, it became clear that attendees were hesitant to try the exotic food as some attendees had never eaten raw fish before. On top of that, the portion sizes were small, leaving guests still hungry. In response to this, the organizers decided to run to a nearby restaurant and order poutines for everyone. The organizers made light of the situation, thanked attendees for trying the meal and reassured them that a crowd-pleasing Canadian snack was on its way.

By responding to event disasters as soon as they happen, being creative in how you solve them and being ready to make changes on the fly, you can overcome event disasters, reduce their impact and ensure that your attendees still have a great experience.


Have you ever considered the opportunities that a disaster affected area holds for your meetings and events?
Explore what this could mean for you and your attendees

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