Opt for a Change of Scenery and Go Green

How can association meeting professionals get more creative with outdoor event space?

What do fire dancers, DJs and food trucks have in common? They can all bring a “wow” factor to outdoor events when meeting planners make the most of their event spaces. It’s always invigorating to walk outside and take in that first deep breath of fresh air, and a change of scenery is something attendees won’t forget. Meeting planners should consider outdoor programming to allow for interactive experiences that will grab people’s attention and keep them engaged even while taking a break from sessions.

Nothing brings people together more than food, so outdoor cooking stations are traditionally a big hit. Local chefs creating their signature dishes or highlighting regional cuisine showcases a culinary experience found only in your host destination. There is no denying that the interactions during breakout sessions are invaluable, but mix it up and hold them in an outdoor space. Trade traditional tabletops and chairs for cushions or loungers for a bit of relaxation while conducting those thoughtful discussions.

Everyone expects a panel at a convention, but they will be surprised when it takes place outside under a tree canopy. Many convention centers have outdoor areas such as courtyards or greenspaces that can accommodate a unique panel setup that attendees won’t see coming. Mix things up with outdoor action stations. Go the traditional route with team-building exercises, or offer a build-your-own ice cream sundae station or create a zen spot for meditation. And why choose only one? Planners can use partitions to create multiple stations, some for business and some for leisure. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of every inch of outdoor space.

Tap into the local community to help you highlight the destination hosting your convention. Consider having an evening event at a local park or offer a tour of a local venue with indoor and outdoor capabilities. Allow attendees to be immersed in the locale’s neighborhoods to learn more about its history and culture and provide an authentic experience. Association meeting planners have unlimited creative license with outdoor event spaces. Take advantage of height and uplighting, which are limited inside.

Attendees are always hoping for something new at each convention they attend. Bring them outside to engage mind, body and spirit, leaving them feeling better for being present at your event.


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