This week, while New York City and New Jersey were spared the severe blizzard that had been forecasted, Long Island, New England, and Canada's Atlantic provinces were hammered. This is an important reminder to have plans in place to ensure guest comfort when snow hits your area.
Today's tips focus on the event planner's challenge to ensure guests comfort after they have arrived at the venue safely. (Note: You don't have to do it all yourself. Many meeting venues have their own checklists to combat cold weather; check with them first and coordinate your efforts.)
- Wrap pipes with insulation or layers of newspapers covered with plastic to keep out moisture. Keep taps dripping slightly to prevent freezing.
- Have extra mops on hand to quickly clean up snow and water that is tracked into the venue.
- Keep extra winter supplies on hand (e.g. extra windshield scrapers, windshield washer fluid, first aid kits, salt for parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and stairs.)
- If a severe snowstorm is forecasted and there is a chance of a power outage be sure to have a supply kit on hand so that guests can safely prepare to depart (e.g. candles, flashlights, batteries, cash, mobile phone chargers, blankets, canned food, fresh fruits and vegetables, juice, and plenty of bottled water). You may want to consider putting out solar lights along driveways and in parking areas.
- Adjust the heat and get all fireplaces going.
This is especially important in the arrival foyer and all entrances where the frequent opening and closing of doors will create drafts and drive temperatures down
- Ensure that the coat check room is open and prepared for winter attire.
It is particularly important for areas that rarely get hit by snow to remember to provide covering for the floor and an area for wet boots. Comfortable couches or chairs where attendees can sit when removing or putting on boots will ensure comfort.
- Provide an area for mittens and hats to dry.
- Place hand lotion in all rest rooms as cold air can really dry out skin.
- Place boxes of tissue in rest rooms and meeting rooms.
- Hot towel service as guests enter the meeting room is a nice touch on a cold day.
- Serve something hot as soon as possible after attendees arrive.
This could involve upgrading from a continental to a hot breakfast, serving hot chocolate, coffee, and tea, or providing a hot cup of soup.
- Adjust your menu if winter weather is predicted.
- Re-arrange the agenda and put informal networking or small group session starters at the beginning to provide a buffer in case of late arrivals.
- Cover the most important items early in the agenda in case you have to end early.
- If severe weather is forecasted when your meeting is scheduled to finish, end early so that participants can get home safely.
Send participants off with bag lunches or snacks.
If really severe weather is predicted, better to postpone or cancel the event altogether than risk participant safety.
The Cvent Event Blog has previously provided tips for designing agendas for winter meetings, preparing venues and vehicles for venues unexpected winter weather, and ensuring safety for winter events that involve time outdoors.
Photo Credits: festivitiesmn