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Help for Planners Holding Events in Bad Weather

January 6, 2016

We all hope that the weather will be beautiful when planning a corporate meeting or event, but we know that’s not realistic. We can never be 100% confident that the weather will cooperate, but there are several steps any planner can take to ensure a fantastic program despite the weather. Here’s a list of our top tips that are sure to help planners holding events in bad weather conditions:

Set the stage with a Dry Welcome – First impressions are extremely important especially when the weather isn’t ideal. Doing your due diligence and preparing a safe, dry and convenient meeting or event entrance will go a long way in creating a comfortable atmosphere.
Communicate Conditions – Provide your attendees with as much information on the conditions of the area. Weather expectations, preferred walkways and meeting entrance points in case of inclement weather, suggested clothing to bring, back up plans, and sharing regular updates will help ease the stress of poor weather.

Provide Umbrellas and/or Ponchos – Don’t expect your group to come prepared; it rarely happens. Plan ahead and either do an umbrella room drop or include small foldable umbrellas, tissues and, if it’s cold, add a few Hot Hands (self activating hand and feet warmers) to Welcome Packs.

Always have a Plan B – There’s nothing worse than losing power in the middle of a program due to the weather and not having a ‘Plan B’ in place. Make certain you have a back up generator, additional microphones, batteries, etc. Even if there’s a problem with equipment due to weather, a Johnny-on- the-spot mentality will quickly assure any audience that your team is prepared and in control.

Prepare Staff – An over-prepared staff is crucial to the success of any program rain or shine. But in the case of stormy weather, it’s highly important to run through back-up plans and emergency procedures. Keep staff aware of all changes/additions to the program as it unfolds. Always equip staff with extra rain care packages i.e: umbrellas, tissues, vitamin C packs etc. for those guests who tend to leave things behind.

Safety First – Take the necessary steps to prepare for any possible risks associated with unpredictable weather. Health and safety should always be a top priority. Make certain to have adequate medical coverage or an emergency plan in place in case there are weather related accidents. Always brief event staff and vendors on safety procedures. Insist that all equipment is protected and there is back up equipment available should there be any outages.

Include Weather Back-Up Activities for your Program – While every planner knows the importance of having indoor space available as a weather back up, not many have back up activity options in place. Instead activities are often cancelled altogether when, with a bit of forethought, there can be creative alternatives. Activity back ups can be just as important as meeting space options, after all activities are often the highlight of the destination experience. Take the time to meet with your destination partner and walk through possibilities. Rather than a sunset happy hour cruise, perhaps you can offer a wine blending and tasting at a local harbor front restaurant. Too wet for golf? No worries; set up a mini golf course in the hotel ballroom with food and beverage stations featuring the local flavor scattered throughout the space. Your golf ‘outing’ can either double, or end as a local ‘pub’ crawl, and you won’t even need to leave the property. Hoping for a day along coast? Bring the beach inside! Turn up the heat and add some beach chairs, surf tunes, a surf simulator and boardwalk games. For an upscale beach experience try adding a few cabanas with servers or even private massage stations. Get creative!

Don’t let the rain ruin your event; make sure you have a mix of activities which can keep the vibe going.

Fool Proof Transportation – Always over prepare with your transportation partner. Make certain you choose a transportation provider local to the area, familiar with the roadways, emergency closures and route alternatives. Ideally, you’ll want a transportation company that owns and maintains its own vehicles rather than outsourcing to other companies. Vehicle ownership means the company will have back up vehicles quickly available in case vehicles need to be added, or switched. A local company with local drivers will have knowledge of the roadways particularly during harsh weather conditions giving you and your group a peace-of-mind transportation experience.

In some cases there may be little you can do when the weather is just too much to bear. Yet, with a little preparation, you can ease the frustration of a rain delay or even a canceled activity. Rain isn’t the only ill weather culprit; high winds and heat waves can wreak havoc as well. Preparing for all types of weather conditions will keep guests comfortable, safe and engaged leading to a successful program.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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