What To Do When Your Events Don’t Meet Your Expectations

Jul 24, 2019 | Traveler’s Q

What To Do When Your Events Don't Meet Your Expectations

What To Do When Your Events Don’t Meet Your Expectations


You put a lot of time, energy and care into planning an event! You deserve to see a return on that investment every single time.

Sometimes, there are forces beyond your control. That’s when things can go wrong.

There are many things that can derail an event, including inclement weather, running out of food, a speaker who drops out last minute, a power outage, not enough guests showing up and much more.

So, what should you do when your event doesn’t live up to your expectations? Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning events so you never feel like you’ve missed an opportunity for success:

What To Do When Your Events Don't Meet Your Expectations


You can prepare for disaster even before your events begin by having a backup plan in place. That way, you’ll know what to do if something goes wrong. For example, you can have:

  • A backup indoor venue in case your event is outdoors and it starts to rain
  • Speakers you can call upon short notice in case one cancels
  • Preset options for a different source of entertainment if your band or performers cancel
  • A caterer ready to call if yours backs out at the last minute, or there isn’t enough food
  • An evacuation route planned out if needed in an emergency


The most important thing to do if your events start going wrong is to stay calm. This can be very hard to do – especially if you have a lot riding on their success (i.e. a high end client you’re organizing the event for). However, panicking doesn’t help the situation. It will simply make you and your guests stressed out. If you can remain calm, you’ll be able to think of smart strategies for dealing with the problem.

Just take a deep breath and keep your cool. Trust that everything will work out as intended, and focus on the solution, not the problem.


You should always be in a position to make important decisions and remain in control of your events. It’s tempting to want to hand off responsibilities or defer blame and let someone else make the tough decisions, but this might result in even more things going wrong.

People will be looking to you in tough times to take charge of the situation. The quicker you respond to issues, the quicker they’re resolved.


You can’t fix problems with your events if you don’t know what’s gone wrong. This is the first step to figuring out how to resolve your issue. Investigate the issue to figure out what needs fixing and then take steps to do so.

During this stage, you might find out that someone made a big mistake when planning the event. This is not the time to deal with that. Save that conversation for later. Your primary concern when hiccups arise should be figuring out what happened so you can make a plan to fix it.


Once you’ve figured out what the problem is, the next step is to enact the solution. If the problem is something you anticipated with one of your backup plans, you’re in luck. All you have to do is enact the plan you’ve already established.

If the problem is something you didn’t anticipate, it’s time for some emergency brainstorming. What can you do in this moment to resolve the situation and handle it as best you can? The solution you come up with might not be perfect, but it will certainly be better than doing nothing at all.


When your events fail to live up to expectations, your attendees might not react that well. In this instance, it’s important to communicate throughout the situation, so they aren’t left in the dark about what’s happening.

For example, during the 2013 Super Bowl there was a power outage that halted the game and left millions of TV viewers confused about what was going on. The outage lasted for over half an hour. In the stadium, escalators stopped working, credit-card machines shut down and only emergency lights were left on.

During this, no representatives from the National Football League appeared on the news to let people know what was going on. The fans were literally left in the dark. This is not the best way to handle a crisis situation when things go wrong at an event.  It’s much better to be honest, even if it means admitting that you’ve made a mistake.


If something at one of your events doesn’t go as planned or the event itself didn’t live up to expectations, that’s okay. Sure, your guests will likely be disappointed, but all you can do is accept it and offer your apologies before moving on.

Sending a formal apology is a wonderful way to salvage your reputation after an event misses the mark.. Be honest, humble and straightforward with your attendees, and they’ll understand. No one is perfect!

If it’s an event you plan to repeat, you can always offer them a discount on the next one to make up for any issues. Partial refunds are also commonly awarded in certain situations. It’s gestures of goodwill like this that make you stand out in a positive way despite hosting an event that you consider to be a failure.

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