Attendees and meeting planners alike often look for ways to fully immerse themselves into a destination, and, when possible, there is no better way to do that than to get outdoors and enjoy the local scenery. Here are three reasons why planners should take their event outdoors this summer.
Related: The Inside Scoop on Outdoor Meetings
One of the best things about hosting an outdoor meeting or event is that the setting helps to provide that “wow” factor all on its own. Planners can give high-tech, virtual and augmented reality a break and get back to the basics by experiencing the beauty of nature. It’s incredible how the simplicity of a natural setting can be an effective tool in bringing attendees together while creating a sense of calm and focus.
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa helps groups bring business meetings outdoors at a built-into-the-landscape natural grassy amphitheater, backdropped by the Colorado River. While most groups will use this venue for live music performances, a recent group used it for their general session, setting blankets down for picnic-style seating and using the natural built-in stage for their opening speaker. The event was followed by a dinner at the connecting LBJ Pavilion, where attendees dined on steaks grilled to order and listened to red dirt country music. The event was so creative, yet simple, and I was amazed to see how impactful it was for attendees.
Taking attendees outdoors provides a much-needed break from the ballroom walls, and the screens of their phones and laptops. I’ve noticed that outdoor events tend to immediately provide a more relaxed and casual setting, which allows everyone to unwind and really get the chance to interact and connect with their peers.
Mixing up the location and moving people around can boost attentiveness. Beyond the health benefits of sunshine and Vitamin D, I’ve also noticed a beautiful outdoor setting encourages guests to get more active by exploring their natural surroundings.
Related: Reno and Lake Tahoe: Take It Outside
Mother Nature-Provided Decor
One additional benefit of hosting a meeting or reception outdoors is that planners don’t need to worry about decor. In fact, I recommend that planners go light with any planned decorations and let the natural ambiance serve as the focal point of the experience.
While Mother Nature can be our greatest asset when hosting an outdoor event, it is always important to have a rain back-up plan and envision how the event would run given a cold day. I also recommend that planners think of other weather conditions that may impact the event and plan accordingly, for example, ensuring centerpieces will stay put in the case of wind and keeping a shaded, cool area for food and beverages.
In the end, happy attendees make for a successful meeting, and taking an event outdoors can help to elevate the experience by leaving a lasting impression.
Erin Cook is director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. She has over 10 years of experience working in the hospitality and meeting industries.