When Winter Weather Derails Your Event

Snowy Winter Driving Conditions

Last week, Disney began testing a new flexible ticketing system for two of its Broadway shows, “Marry Poppins” and “The Lion King.” Disney will allow ticket holders to exchange their tickets for other shows occurring through March 10 for any reason. They call it  worry-free winter 2011 ticket exchange policy as it would allow flexibility in case winter weather interrupts the event for which they paid.

Have you considered how adverse winter weather might affect your venue? Three things to keep in mind are making accommodations for winter weather, alerting ticket holders to changes in event scheduling, and making sure your customers know your event cancellation policy.

Consider how you will deal with possible adverse weather conditions.
This is especially important if yours is an outdoor venue. If you plan on hosting a number of outdoor events during the winter, you might consider purchasing an outdoor heater. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when buying a heater is the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) it possesses. An average heater is rated at 45,000 BTUs, meaning it will heat a circle of about 20 feet, and costs about $180. If your venue (or patio) covers an area of more than 20 feet, you may need to purchase more than one heater.

To mitigate against inclement weather, you can also consider the installation of a patio cover which can double as shelter from the sun in the summer.

Determine how you will alert ticket holders when weather influences events.
If weather prevents an event from occurring, your customers should know in advance how they will be notified in the case of event cancellation or rescheduling. Decide whether you will notify customers by phone or by email and include this message in the confirmation email as well as on the ticket itself. For ThunderTix users, the print-at-home PDF ticket may be modified for each event allowing for seasonal updates in case of weather related challenges.

Have a policy on event cancellation.

Raise the confidence of your ticket buyers by clearly publishing your event cancellation policy. Will you issue refunds or keep ticket proceeds? For some events, like Lollapalooza, ticket holders are not issued refunds in the event of cancellation. However, other events, such as Austin City Limits Music Festival, give customers full refunds when cancelled. You might also choose to keep a percent of the proceeds and refund the rest. It’s up to the venue to decide, but whatever your venue’s policy may be, it’s best to make sure customers know of it in advance. Along with the message about how customers will be notified in case of event cancellation or rescheduling, also include a note in the email conformation and on the ticket about your venue’s event cancellation policy.