Backup Event Plans: Creating a ‘Plan B’ For Your Event

You put a lot of time and effort into planning your event. As much as you’d like to think that everything will go off without a hitch, there’s always a risk that a problem could arise. That’s why, as part of your planning process, you need backup event plans. This is especially important as the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

While you hope you never need to resort to it, it’s better to have a backup plan in place and never need it than to need a backup plan and be scrambling to throw one together at the last minute. Knowing how to create a Plan B can help to ensure you can still hold a successful event, even if something comes along that disrupts your original plan. 

Reasons You Might Need a “Plan B” 

Many events go off without a problem. Perhaps all of your past events have occurred just as you planned. There’s always a risk that something could happen, though. A 2017 survey conducted by Meeting Professionals International’s Outlook, revealed less than half of meeting planners have backup plans for emergency situations like natural disasters (46% don’t have a plan), bomb threats (43%), and cyberattacks (31%). Here are a few scenarios in which a Plan B is essential:

  • A pandemic or health crisis 
  • Inclement weather during an outdoor event
  • Natural disasters such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake
  • A fire that affects your event site (such as a fire at your event venue or wildfires break out)
  • A blackout
  • Lost internet connection 
  • Issues with the event venue (HVAC stops working, there’s a plumbing issue, etc.)
  • Something occurs outside of the venue that prevents people from getting there, such as a roadblock or protests
  • Your originally scheduled presenters or key speaker can’t make it
  • A terrorist attack

In all of these (and many other) scenarios, having a contingency plan in place can help save your event and ensure the satisfaction of everyone involved. 

Benefits of a “Plan B” 

Even if you don’t believe you’ll need it, here are a few benefits to keep in mind:

You Avoid Frustration

A sudden change can quickly result in a lot of confusion. Without backup event plans, no one knows what to do or what to expect. In other words, the situation can devolve into chaos, which could ultimately lead to event failure. Having a contingency plan in place allows everyone involved in the event to know what to expect. In turn, that helps to avoid unnecessary frustration. 

Maintain Trust

If you’re unprepared for unexpected situations and don’t handle them well, those involved in your event (presenters, exhibitors, attendees, and so on) could lose trust in you. They might be hesitant, or even unwilling, to participate in future events. Having backup event plans (especially if you need to use them) can provide peace of mind for your participants. It also shows that you care enough about their satisfaction that you want to have plans in place should something go awry. 

You Prevent Wasting Time, Effort, and Money

You put a lot of time and effort into planning your event. You’ve likely also put a bit of money into it. By making sure to include the creation of a “Plan B” as part of your initial planning process, you avoid having all of your investments go to waste. 

You Still Get to Hold Your Event

Finally, by making backup plans, you can still hold your event. It might not go off how you originally envisioned it, but having something in place that you can fall back on allows you to satisfy and delight everyone involved (including yourself!). 

Options for Alternative Events

Now let’s take a look at some alternatives that you can consider as you create your event’s backup plan:

Set Up Tents or Head Indoors

If you’re hosting an outdoor event, rain or stormy weather means everyone (and everything) could get drenched. Rather than cancel, you could have tents on standby to provide shelter — or you might consider having an indoor space available so that you can quickly shift things if the weather looks like it might not cooperate. 

Move to a Hybrid Event

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid events became much more popular. They’re a combination of in-person and virtual events and give people the best of both worlds. In addition to hosting the event as planned, you can also broadcast it online. That way, people who can’t attend in person (due to natural disasters, travel restrictions, etc.) can still “attend.”  

Go Completely Virtual

If there’s no way to host your event in person, technology can make it possible to go completely virtual. Let’s say, for instance, you planned to host a race, but circumstances now prevent you from doing so in person. After registering, participants can complete their race and log their time. You could also send them the swag you might have otherwise provided during an in-person event. 

Races and other physical challenges aren’t the only types of events that can go virtual. You could host virtual conferences, tradeshows, concerts, and many others. Using online tools, you can bring people together from across the globe, even when you can’t meet in person. 

Hold a Studio Broadcast

If your event presenters can still travel, but you can’t hold your event in person as planned, you could bring them together in a broadcast studio. Then you can stream the conference online to your event attendees, which they can view from the comfort and safety of their homes. With a studio, you have access to all of the tools you need to create high-quality content.

Postpone Your Event

If something happens that keeps you from being able to host your event on its originally scheduled date, a “rain date” may be a possibility. With this plan, you hold your event on a different date. Keep in mind that some people may no longer be able to attend. Communication with everyone involved is essential. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a clear refund policy (or make it clear that you aren’t allowing refunds) in place. The platform includes a Postponement feature that you can turn on with a simple toggle. You can also resend customized confirmation emails to your attendees, including the new date for your event and any other updated information. 

Carefully Establish a Backup Plan for Your Event

Generally speaking, you’ll rarely have to break out your “Plan B.” Even so, it’s not a risk you want to take. Having backup event plans is essential. That way, you can stay organized and keep things under control should something unexpected occur. In the post-pandemic era, it’s sometimes difficult to predict every potential risk. However, suppose you take the time to develop a contingency plan. In that case, your attendees can potentially trust you more and have greater confidence that their experiences at future events will always matter. 

Are you ready to start planning and organizing your next event? offers an array of end-to-end ticketing, promotion, and sponsorship solutions that can help power your event. Visit us today to get started!