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10 expert tips for hosting outdoor events

Outdoor events take careful planning. Here’s our 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.

Follow these tried-and-tested tips from the team to ensure your next outdoor meeting or event is a success.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of Andy Edwards

Andy Edwards

Event director, Capita Travel & Events

Andy has been in the events industry for 17 years. He joined Capita as a conference consultant in 2006 and became event director 10 years later. He has in-depth experience of venue finding, theming and entertainment. His key skills include large, complex events - both in the UK and overseas – dealing with multiple stakeholders, providing creative solutions to any challenge.

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