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You’ve been waiting for this moment for months. The day of your event has finally arrived, and you’re ready to see all of that hard work you’ve done culminate into a one-of-a-kind experience. But things don’t always go that smoothly. What if your headlining artist gets arrested and is unable to perform? Or, the venue flooded overnight? Or, a guest gets badly injured during your event? These unforeseen situations can be difficult to navigate. What do you do next?


Even the most meticulously organized events are still subject to facing unexpected crises that require swift and effective management to get everything back on track. Crises can range in size and detriment to your event, and the way that you deal with them can have lasting impacts on your reputation. Crises can be internal, like an employee making an insensitive remark online, or external, like an unexpected major power outage. To ensure the stability and overall success of your event, it is essential to have a comprehensive crisis management strategy in place. In this blog, we’ll go over essential tips for event organizers to navigate crises confidently and maintain the overall integrity and safety of your event.

1. Be Proactive

While not every crisis can be prevented beforehand, there are a handful of steps that you can take to be proactive in your approach to crisis management. The first thing to do is conduct a thorough risk assessment. Consider factors such as venue safety, weather conditions, crowd control, technical failures, and any other specific risks relevant to your event. There are also several tools that you can use to your advantage to prevent a crisis, like surveillance cameras, crowd monitoring systems, and weather tracking tools.

2. Develop a Crisis Management Plan

With your research complete, now is the time to develop a crisis management plan. Remember: crisis management plans are not a “one size fits all” scenario. Each plan should include detailed procedures and guidelines that are tailored to your event’s specific needs to address various crisis situations. Identify key roles and responsibilities within your team and define a clear decision-making process. Your plan should address evacuation procedures, medical emergencies, security threats, and other potential crises that could disrupt the event experience for guests. Find a sample template to start your crisis communications plan here. Also, check out this blog on challenges that pop up at events.


5 people sitting around a laptop and looking at the screen.

3. Build a Reliable Team

When dealing with a crisis, make sure that you're not doing it alone. Bring on a capable and well-trained event team who are able to assist in your crisis management strategy. Multiple training sessions and simulations should be completed before the event to familiarize team members with crisis scenarios and their respective responsibilities. Encourage team members to be open and emphasize the importance of quick and accurate communication during a crisis.

4. Keep Your Cool

When a crisis does arise, keep your cool to respond and not react. A reaction is your brain’s natural first instinct that is often involuntary. In order to properly respond to a crisis, remember to take a breath. Whatever solution you proceed with will have consequences on your event, whether good or bad, so it’s crucial to think through the options beforehand (given the situation is not life-threatening). Go back to your crisis management plan as a guide and put those steps into action. Leaders that panic when unexpected situations arise can also cause the people around them to also panic, so it’s important that you’re able to lead with confidence. 


Woman standing confidently in front of a table with 4 people sitting down.

5. Transparency is Key

Communicating through a crisis in a way that is transparent and easy to understand should be of top priority. This is not the time to pretend that you’re not aware of the situation at hand, crack any jokes, or underestimate the consequences at hand. Establish modes of communication to quickly address your staff and attendees. For attendees, it is most common to use event apps, emails, and social media to send out a message quickly. Your staff should be reachable by phone call and text.

6. Maintain Relationships with First Responders 

While you may be able to sort out a solution internally if a keynote speaker doesn’t show, you’ll need additional assistance if a medical or fire emergency arises. That’s why it’s important to build relationships with the proper first responders before your event takes place. This list should include police, fire departments, and medical professionals. Make sure to establish clear communication protocols and have a designated contact person from both sides. In a crisis, the safety of the people in attendance of your event is the number one priority. First responder’s expertise and assistance can be invaluable in managing critical situations effectively.


Red case that has a white cross and "First Aid Kit" written on the front.

7. Practice Makes Perfect

Crises are never easy to deal with, but they do provide us with valuable information and lessons to apply in the event of the next crisis. From both an internal and external perspective, how did you do in responding this time? Get feedback from team members and attendees. Evaluate these factors so next time a crisis comes up, the process goes even smoother.

Final Thoughts

Keeping up a good reputation is crucial for the longevity of your event. Crisis management should be an integral part of every event production, and being well-prepared is the key to success. By following these tips, event producers can navigate crises successfully and ensure the safety and success of their events. When the unexpected happens, you can count on Passage to have your back. We're here for you (and your customers!) if you need help exchanging tickets, messaging guests, or changing your event details. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

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