Expert insights

10 expert tips for hosting outdoor events

13 July 2017 by Andy Edwards

Outdoor events take careful planning. Here, event director Andy Edwards shares his advice for those going al fresco.

Just 1% of meetings currently take place in open spaces, yet according to recent research, outdoor events are good for us. Heading out of the office can inspire new ideas and provide an excellent opportunity to flex those business networking skills, as well as forge relationships with your existing teams.

This summer, the Capita Travel and Events team have been busy making sure our customers’ outdoor events go with a swing – from grand days out at top venues such as Longleat Safari Park, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers to transforming existing company offices and even car parks into spaces for al fresco family fun days. Follow these tried-and-tested tips from the team to ensure your next outdoor meeting or event is a success.

1. Block out the diary

Setting up and derigging outdoor events can take slightly longer than other dry-hire venues, because you’ll have more suppliers providing materials. Therefore, make the most of it and opt for all-day events and activities.

2. You can still talk strategy

Outdoor events are great for mixing business and pleasure. For Virgin Media we staged a day of presentations in tents and combined this with fairground rides for a family fun day.

3. Keep it together

With large outdoor events, it’s important to create a focal point that draws people together. For example, a circular bar can work well.

4. Have a tech tactic

Be sure to work with a reputable audiovisual and WiFi provider to ensure your event runs smoothly. But carry any crucial materials you need on a memory stick for extra peace of mind.

5. Intruder alert at outdoor events

Security and privacy can be more of a challenge outdoors. Opt for a venue with secluded space, as opposed to open ground, such as a field, that might attract gatecrashers.

6. Off the beaten track? Transport is key

Provide transport to far-flung locations. Consider having an event manager based at a local train station to direct delegates.

7. Noise = atmosphere

Don’t fear noise. Laughter and conversation from group activities will help lift your guests’ spirits. However, it is a good idea to position seating, tent entrances and other starting points away from each other, to help people focus.

8. Anyone for tapas?

Take advantage of an al fresco location to get creative with your suppliers. Street food catering vans inject some fun and a relaxed atmosphere into events.

9. Safety first

A full health and safety assessment needs to be carried out in a new location. Remember that this takes time, and work with your event managers to factor this in.

10. Plan for sun – as well as rain

Hot weather can be as much of a challenge as rain. We plan shady areas and make sure any covered areas have good ventilation to keep everyone cool.

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