Event Planning for Changing Seasons: What we can learn from the Dutch

Holland in the RainMy recent Cvent Blog feature about Selecting the Right Season For Outdoor Team Building and Corporate Events sparked a very interesting exchange on Google+. Mr. Holland, the official brand ambassador for Holland, posted this comment:

Meet Mr. Holland: "With our weather here you can't even rely on the seasons... :-(" 

His comment got me thinking. This doesn't just apply in Holland. In the spring and autumn, weather sometimes changes dramatically in Canada too. In spring and autumn it can be cool in the morning and really hot by the afternoon or vice versa. 

In Toronto this May, for example, after a really nice warm spell, suddenly temperatures dropped and we had hail and some snow again. The following week, it was really hot. By the time I returned from IMEX Frankfurt, it was cool and rainy.

Even in destinations without 4 distinct seasons, rainy months can bring unexpected downpours. This when I visited the Batu Caves in Malaysia one June. Fortunately, the taxi driver was prepared with an extra umbrella.

Mr. Holland offered these tips for dramatically changing weather:

"I would always recommend to bring a jacket and an umbrella. Since we Dutch people are used to changing weather conditions we used to have a complete set of clothes that protect us against the rain. If you want an outdoor venue I recommend to choose a place in the center of the bigger cities since there are enough options to switch to a dry location."

I agree with him. Here are some more tips:

  1. For outdoor events, always send out a "What to Wear" briefing sheet. 
  2. Remind participants to check the weather forecast the night before the event.
    In the spring, remind them to bring an umbrella, waterproof jacket with hood, an extra pair of socks, a plastic bag for wet socks, and, if conditions may get muddy, boots. In the fall, remind participants to bring a warm jacket with hood, hat and gloves if there is a chance that temperatures are going to dip. 
  3. Pick up cheap umbrellas and lightweight raincoats at the dollar store.
    Remember that no matter how many reminders you send, some people will forget umbrellas. If you get a dozen of each, that will cost you less than $30.
  4. Have a flexible schedule.
    For example for urban safaris, my companies usually kicks things off with a breakfast briefing and ends with lunch. During spring and fall, we set up a flexible schedule that allows us to launch at lunch and end back at the office if it's raining in the morning.
  5. Use social media or an event app. to quickly advise participants about schedule changes.
  6. Select a venue with lots of green space and rain cover. In Amsterdam, Mr. Holland suggested Zomertuin, a peaceful garden oasis behind NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in the city center. It's open from May to October.

    Here are some other venue suggestions for changing seasons from previous Cvent Blog features.

For more tips for events during changing seasons, also consult Corporate Events: 8 Rainy Day Event Tips, Business Meetings 411: 10 Special Touches for Spring Meetings, and Corporate Events: Scintillating Spring Socials on Cvent Event Blog.

For tips on planning events and meetings in Holland, also check out Amsterdam Meeting Planning Guide Just Launched by Cvent!

Photo Credit: Max Pinucci

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