Ugh! Though some areas of North America weren’t as affected, many of us have been absolutely scorched during this summer with temperatures in the triple digits and drought conditions. And if you have a summer event or conference going on, you, as an event professional, could be in the hot seat if you’re responsible for making sure everyone stays as comfortable as possible.
There are some things you can do to keep you and your attendees comfortable during a heat wave:
It almost goes without saying that you’ll need to provide plenty of water for everyone including your speakers, attendees, staffers… and you (so easy to forget yourself when you’re handling onsite crises). With bottled water getting pooh-poohed in many circles due to green concerns, you might want to provide water stations and empty imprinted reusable water bottles. Make sure the water is chilled and/or provide ice. If you plan to provide ice, make sure the promotional water bottles you select have a wide mouth at the top to accommodate. Insulated water bottles or mugs that don’t “sweat” are appreciated, though they’re more expensive. People will usually want to rinse out the bottles before use, so plan on providing an area or easy way for them to do that.
Alternatively, if you do decide to provide bottled water, again make sure it is chilled (warm bottled water on a hot day – bleck!) or put them on ice. You don’t have to provide branded water; generic bottles purchased by the case would be just fine. In that situation, you might want to consider branded bottled water holsters and clips so attendees can easily attach one to a bag or backpack to use at the event and afterwards. To be cool with the “green” folks, make sure you provide recycling bins for the empties… everywhere! If it is not your own facility, contact the venue’s management for recycling options and instructions.
Dealing with the “Goldilocks” problem
Some attendees are too hot. Others are too cold. The rest are just right. This “Goldilocks” problem with facility heating and cooling is all too common. Since I work with many in the building maintenance and management arena, I hear the complaints about building occupants who monkey with the thermostats and, by doing so, throw off the comfort level throughout the space. This also messes with the energy management picture. Some building managers have resorted to locking the thermostats to avoid this scenario.
While a Twitter pal of mine was at a conference where super cold air conditioning was an issue, she tweeted that she wished the event would have provided some sort of shawl to combat the chill in the facility. That may not be a bad idea. Branded blankets could be provided either as a giveaway or as a borrowed nicety. These could also be used for some impromptu outdoor sessions if the weather and meeting format permit. If you’re just loaning them out, make sure they’re laundered after each use.
And remember, all of these cool ideas could be ripe for sponsorship opportunities. Stay cool!
About the Author
Heidi Thorne is a promotional products marketing expert and speaker who has a background in the tradeshow and hospitality industries. She is also editor of the Promo With Purpose Today blog (www.PWPToday.com) and author of SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business, available through major online booksellers or at www.BuySWAGBook.com.