Event planners in areas that are been hit by snow for the first time in recent history can learn some important lessons from Canadian event planners to prepare your vehicles, the event venue, your guests, and yourself for heavy snowfalls.
1. Bring the Guests in Early
It is always a good idea to bring guests in the afternoon before a meeting, conference or event takes place. Hotel check-in is usually around 3:00 or 4:00 so this will give attendees a chance to rest and recover from travel or changes in time zones. Making this your standard practice will also ensure that you can start your meeting on-time . Even if there is no snow in your area, participants traveling from Canada, the Northern U.S. or the Midwest could be delayed due to snow at their point of departure.
2. Don't Over Pack Your Agenda
We have discussed this many times and this is particularly important to remember for events that take place during months in which there is a chance of snow. You will need lots of margin into your agenda in case of delays. If you have left some margin in your agenda, it can also provide an opporunity to surprise your guests with some short outdoor winter fun. As long as they are given enough notice so that they can dress for the weather, this could be a crowd pleaser.
3. Give Yourself Time to Prepare
The first step is to carefully monitor weather forecasts. The 14-day forecasts on The Weather Network will give you a heads up so that you can get the vehicles and venue ready, prepare adequately, notify participants .
4. Adjust the Menu
Well in advance, discuss the feasibility of modifying the menu if the weather is cold. Your guests will appreciate, soups, chowders, stews, chilli, fondue, Shepherd's Pie, hot apple pie and ciders. Pinpoint the final date by which the venue will require notification of menu changes.
5. Prepare the Venue
There are a number of practical considerations. In Canada, furnaces are cleaned and checked in October or November. Sometimes thermostats are adjusted in preparation for heating.
Before guests arrive, ensure that snow is cleared from the parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and walkways. These areas should also be salted or sanded so that guests can walk safely without slipping or falling. Be sure to reserve parking close to the entrance for guests with physical challenges.
6. Prepare Yourself & Arrive Early
We have previously discussed tips for staying healthy and recovering from colds when on the road. Prepare by bringing a warm or winter jacket, a winter hat, gloves, mittens, and boots with you if snow is forecasted. Stay at the venue the night before guests are expected and leave the morning after your event to give yourself ample time to pack and rest. Rushing home in the middle of a storm when you are tired after an event will increase the chances of an accident.
If the meeting is in-town, consider delaying your start time to 10:00 during winter months so that guests won't be delayed in traffic or get into accidents trying to rush to the venue.
7. Prepare Your Guests
As soon as snow is forecasted, notify participants. Provide participants with a list of what they should bring including a winter cold recovery travel kit. Consult Winter Team Building: 15 Tips to Keep Participants Active and Warm for more tips to help guests prepare.
Photo Credit: Executive Oasis International, Winter Team Building