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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Cancellation of Bookings due to Corona (142 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mindpro
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There have been a lot of interest, inquiries, and questions to me about how to deal with cancellation, postponements, and rescheduling due to the current Covid-19 reactions.

While I am not one to jump on the fear bandwagon or the media hype, I am one who supports my students and other performers and meets them where they are at, in their current position/situation in their business.

While there is much misinformation being dispursed about the current Corona Virus, it is important to separate "social" media and its often opinionated transmission along with once-factual information from a credible source turned into watered-down misinformation, information taken out of its original context, and of course, simply just fake news information spread on more social and opinionated medias. So like most information offered here, we must first remember to separate real, factual information from all else.

I am getting quite a few messages and requests to come on here and offer some insight and business advice as to suggest how we can deal with cancellations, postponements, rescheduled events, and other possible and potential outcomes from related bookings and business.

First, this is an issue of some foundational aspects of our business as performers. The two main things that will greatly come into play are the performance markets in which you perform and the related business models, and the terms and conditions of which you accept bookings and conduct business.

We often talk here about the topic of having a contract for your bookings. I have regularly and repeatedly said that if you perform for pay you are operating a business transaction as a business. As a business, you should have a contract (or agreement or whatever you wish to call it) to confirm and define the terms and conditions of the acceptance of the agreement BOTH for your protection as well as the clients. Not just to commit to the booking and related the payment determinations, but also for other business aspects that should be part of the agreement. This should include several things but for this post's purpose, the concern is your predetermined, predefined cancellation policy(s).

For those operating without a contract, any cancellations are likely to create a loss for you (and justifiably so) unless you have a very generous and giving customer/client. Without a contract, you are basically out of luck and will have to accept the loss without much you can do.

For other performers hopefully your contract includes guidelines for both cancellations and/or unforeseen circumstances. This will determine your position and ability for enforcement. There are several ways this can be addressed including technically being able to (depending on the exact terms of your policies) remain entitled to retain your received deposit. Your balance due may, again based on your specific terms, allow you to still be paid if THEY are canceling the event. Now let me say it is important to remember, that just because you legally may be entitled to do this, you may want to think about this and consider responding in other more understanding and sympathetic ways, such as while retaining your deposit, offering to carry the balance and agreement over to a mutually rescheduled date. To do this or at least offer an attempt to do this can be a decent way of conducting business while being mindful of the perception and professionalism in your handling of the situations.

Remember most are canceling or postponing due to suggestions or guidelines related to events with international attendees, events of over 250 expected attendance, or simply just as a precautionary measure whether due to alarm, safety or to show a perception/position of concern and safety publicly.

So my advice is to first determine how you can or are able to address this by whether or not you have a contract covering this, and by the specific terms stated within it. Next, I suggest you do not overact, panic or jump to conclusions, but rather handle this professionally with the greater picture in mind. Yes, some events are being canceled. Others are taking a wait and see position in the hopes or belief that this will be a temporary state and rescheduling will occur. Remember, most events and venues do not want to cancel because it is a sure loss to their business as well. This is why many are likely to reschedule when cleared and you may simply just transfer you currently in place agreement to the rescheduled date (I would still issue a new contract with the revised information, yet referencing the previous honored agreement.)

Remember we are viewed as professionals - in business, so this is also a customer service issue as well. People are already concerned and some even panicked, so be mindful of all of this as you are dealing with clients and customers.

I know this may sound weird, but this is (as far as business goes) an opportunity. An opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism as well as your heart and compassion. How you handle these situations can go a long way to reflect on your relationships moving forward. When the smoke clears, as it will, and normal returns, how you deal with this will continue and be remembered.

I will be happy to answer any questions related to this as well. How we respond, handle, and operate in this situation can say a lot about your business, while protecting relationships, your positioning and reputation, and your business interest in the booking.
Dannydoyle
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Opportunity is right.

I have clients that during the last pandemic were so happy with how we worked with them they look for nobody BUT us as the grow. It is also an opportunity to panic with everyone, which I simply would not recommend.

If you take deposits, my suggestion is to just transfer them to new dates if they want to reschedule. If they just cancel it is then up to you to decide how to handle it. You could very well be canceling ANY work from this client in the future. MANY of these events are canceled through no fault of the client. To charge them for this is going to leave a bad taste in their mouth.

I KNOW losing work is going to affect many of us. It has me. Broadway has shut down for at least 4 weeks. Read that again. Imagine the number of performers this will affect. All you can do is roll with it.

I hope everyone gets through this. Just remember that aside from your involvement there is a TON of others such as caterers, DJ's and other things that go with a event that had to be canceled. The person will be STRESSED more perhaps than even yourself. This is a good thing to keep in mind when moving forward with your actions as to how to deal with them.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
danfreed
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I've had about 5 or 6 cancellations in the past few days. I've been offering to apply their deposit to any gig within the next year or so, and so far they have all been very cool about that option. I suppose some will reschedule within 2-4 months, if the virus gets under control in the next several months, others will just skip this year and re-book next year. For birthdays, which is 60% of what I do, maybe next year the birthday kid won't even want me, and choose something different, but that's fine, no big whoop. I really don't want to catch it and then spread it party to party, or my family. I don't want to spread it to old people and people who have immune issues. And going into lockdown would suck.
Mindpro
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We must remember to look at this from our customer's/client's point of view. They have booked you and usually have paid a non-refundable deposit. In their minds, they will lose the deposit, which is clearly stated (or at least should be) in your contract. So when you respond with a sympathetic, understanding position stating you will allow them to apply their deposit to another event in the next 12 months, you are presenting them with something positive, encouraging, and an opportunity not to lose their deposit paid even though their event must be canceled. This gesture can go a long way. If you couple this with seeding and harvesting you may get two or more bookings from the client as a result of this! Again, as discussed - an opportunity.

This also gets me to my next question. Up to this point most of which is being discussed is having a client or event cancel on us, the performer. What about the reverse of this - have you or are/will you cancel on a client in the name of safety or perception?
stempleton
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I just got my first virus cancellation; actually a postponement, today for an event scheduled for tomorrow but did cause me some work to reschedule for next week. I usually stipulate that a cancellation/postponement concerning the NR deposit can be applied to an event held within 90 days. A year, in my opinion, is too long.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2020, stempleton wrote:
I usually stipulate that a cancellation/postponement concerning the NR deposit can be applied to an event held within 90 days. A year, in my opinion, is too long.


Again, this may be different for each performer depending on the performance markets they work and their business models. For performers who are dealing with annual events such as trade shows, a 12 month period may well be quite the norm for the next rescheduled event. It is important to think and discuss this from an industry perspective not just your own "me" perspective.

12-months is not way too long for many performers, serving many types of events in many performance markets. Yes, we must each adapt things to your own situation. However, I have seen very few contracts that have only 90-day rescheduling period/option. You may be shooting yourself in the foot for that, again depending on some of the variables and the greater picture. Also, it often isn't about "what you think, feel or like" or your opinion in business as much as it is the client's and the industry's.

Also, it depends on if you operate on a one-and-done basis or a long-term relationship basis, or a single booking basis or a multiple booking per contract basis. Again, many variables to consider.
thomasR
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I’m selling tickets to the general public. The tickets clearly say “no refunds” - when people ask for a refund because of this (and many are) I tell them I understand the concern and offer them a refund. I would do the same with any client.

Many of my friends and co-workers just lost their jobs overnight. In the concert touring world almost everyone is paid by the show (unless you get to the big name acts that hire a few crew members on salary.). When a tour gets cancelled, you don’t get paid.

Some performer friends had a 1 year contract just get cancelled yesterday.

So far I still have some work lined up but who knows if they will decide to cancel as well.
Decomposed
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I have one client who is having a meeting Tuesday and another one all systems go still. April 20th week. I go to sleep, dream and wake up to this nightmare once again. Its like Bill Murray movie, same stuff day after day. A bottle of lysol selling for $114 and toilet paper is more ridiculous. Zombie apocalypse.
cafecheckers
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I spent time Thursday and Friday reaching out to booked clients proactively to share my concern that there event might be cancelled due to evolving circumstances beyond there control. In order to serve them best, I asked if they have a reschedule date in mind, in the event of cancelation. I wanted them to know that I was giving them the opportunity to reserve the date now, before it is taken. This allowed me to build a stronger relationship with my client, gain insight as to their plans (or alert them that they need to begin making such decisions), balance my future booking schedule better, and set expectations regarding use of my services.

Mindpro and Danny spoke of turning these times into opportunities and I definitely felt better about my situation after the conversations and messages I received back from those I contacted.

Many here know I consult with Mindpro on a continual basis as a student. Navigating through these times as a first year full time person is challenging. Speaking to someone who can offer advice and insights on how to create opportunity through adversity is helpful not only for the immediate situation, but for a mindset shift.
Dannydoyle
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If it gets to it guys there is often relief. SBA is offering help soon.

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsro......covid-19

Don't overlook things like this.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
imgic
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
If it gets to it guys there is often relief. SBA is offering help soon.

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsro......covid-19

Don't overlook things like this.


Thank you for this. I posted the link on Facebook for our development. We’ve got lots of small business owners...They were grateful to see the link.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
abrell
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Here in Germany all shows, theatre events and sport events have been cancelled. All theatres, movies, schools, universities are closed. A lot of flights are cancelled, public transportation is reduced. Borders are closed with few exceptions. Travelling to other countries is nearly impossible. Most European countries act identically.

It seems most to all magicians in Europe have therefore stopped performing.
Don
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Copperfield, Penn&Teller and Chris Angel have been suspended their acts until further notice...

Don
MJE
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Yeah, this has a financial impact on just about everyone; not just the big guys. I'm semi-retired now, but I still do some peripheral corporate events. They've all been canceled for at least two weeks, and I doubt this is all going to blow over in two weeks. Probably half the people on this forum have a similar story. Hang in there!
Acecardician
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The last Corporate show I did was March 9th. I walked up to my first group, did my intro, and had a lady pick a card. She asked if the cards were sanitised. I said I open a new pack each show. I took the card back. She asked if she has to touch it again. I said no. She then took out hand sanitiser and cleaned her hands. I had a great reveal so the set went great.

After that I adjusted the way I had cards selected. I had them call a card or point to one. I did ID a lot.

Hotels are closing and the casinos will be closed for 30 days starting at midnight.

I had 3 big Easter Egg hunts cancel. Schools are closed for a month here so those shows are not happening. I perform at the local NBA games and those are cancelled. I still have a few birthdays scheduled. One rescheduled for mid April. A few more are coming up and I am just waiting to see.

I was thinking of street performing, but the streets are empty. I have a good line: Will work for toilet paper, lol

ACE
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Mar 16, 2020, thomasR wrote:
All broadway shows. All Disney parks and resorts. All Vegas casinos.


In the name of accuracy this is simply not true. All Vegas casinos have not been closed. MGM closed their 10 properties, but the majority are still open as well as their shows as of today.
thomasR
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Quote:
On Mar 16, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 16, 2020, thomasR wrote:
All broadway shows. All Disney parks and resorts. All Vegas casinos.


In the name of accuracy this is simply not true. All Vegas casinos have not been closed. MGM closed their 10 properties, but the majority are still open as well as their shows as of today.


Wow... that’s surprising. When I saw MGM and Wynn I assumed they all closed but yeah Caesars is still open.
Mindpro
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Yes, as are many of the independents, locally-owned, downtown, and just off the strip properties.
thomasR
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Quote:
On Mar 16, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
Yes, as are many of the independents, locally-owned, downtown, and just off the strip properties.


We will see how long that lasts....
Vandecarr
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Its not all bad, one of the festivals I'm performing at in Texas, was forced to start at a later date and booked me for two additional days resulting in 11 rather than 9 performing days at that festival. This is great news when we were initially thinking we were going to lose money.

Then, the fair in Utah decided to up my day rate by a significant amount. It's all about how we handle these situations. These people did these things for me because even during adversity, I continue to deliver Disney quality customer service. But mostly, because I put all my trust in Jesus. He always knows what's best, better than I do.
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