There are many event organizers who wonder how to implement communication strategies at a time when the “appetite” for travel and events has decreased due to COVID-19.
Here are some recommendations that can help guide your public relations and marketing approach:
Do not try to become a virology specialist. Remember that you are an organizer or marketer and not an expert on the epidemic. The job of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to inform people about symptoms and how to deal with it. Think about the audience of your event and what they want from you - specifically, the refund / cancellation policy, the venue preparation plan, what virtual tools you have for those who cannot travel.
Be an expert in consistent and proactive communication. Participants need information and, if they don't receive it, silence will fuel rumors. For example, even if you don't have a preparation plan in place, let your audience know you're working on it. And remember, communication is important. Instead of just making an ad on Facebook, use multiple channels. And even make a local preparation plan.
Avoid showing or discussing content that may raise concerns. If the event is about food and drinks, avoid providing samples. Avoiding images of large crowds, international audiences, handshakes and hugs is also a good idea.
Tell the truth. It is your responsibility to communicate a realistic risk, so that your guests can decide whether or not to participate. Deep down, people just want to know how they can protect themselves.
Tell them why. Most event attendees realize that organizers are facing the difficult decision to cancel an event or not - if the decision is not made by local health authorities. If you believe that the risk is too great to hold your event, report it.
Remind your audience that you care about everyone's well-being. Remember that there are more options than to "go" or "not to go". Many organizers are postponing the events to a future date, finding other creative solutions.