Event Management

From Budget to Weather: A Factsheet to Plan an Outdoor Event

Eventually Learning Team

“Anyone serious about playing indoor, you should play outdoor.” – Sean William Scott


Summers in the usually chilly regions like Canada, the USA and Greenland mean sunshine, warmth and a perfect break from the cold! During this time, the outdoors is an ideal window of opportunity for event planners. Organizing an outdoor event will be a splendid break from the mundane indoor or virtual events for the community and will increase your event ROI with maximized ticket sales.

Did you know Rod Stewart attracted the largest crowd of 4.2 million attendees at Copacabana beach in 1994? But be forewarned – as lovely as it sounds like planning an outdoor event, it's burning the candle at both ends!

Let’s look at the factors you need to pay attention to while outdoor event planning.

Ask First, “What’s My Budget?”

As the pandemic subsides, the attendees are more eager to experience the great outdoors once again.

50% of survey respondents say that attendance has gone up at the primary meet and greet events. (2019 Planner Sourcing Report)

As the attendance spikes up, so will the overall budget, and it means more business for venue centers and hoteliers! For an outdoor event budget, the factors you will have to consider are:
  • Permit costs
  • Food and beverage
  • Venue charges
  • Audiovisual expenses
  • Event design and décor
  • Seating
  • Contingency costs
  • Health emergencies
  • Event swag
  • Logistics
  • Event technology

Based on your event budget and sponsorships, you can select outdoor destinations like rooftops, open-air venues and lawns or unconventional choices like an atrium, breweries, wineries, distilleries or stadiums.

What Can Be Your Ideal Destination?

Choosing a destination for an event is the most crucial decision to make. What if you pick a sleepy town that drives attendees away from the event?!

Here’s a checklist you should swear by while finalizing a destination for an event:
  • Geography – Consider the terrain and climate of the area because usually, event destinations are picked three-four months prior. If you choose Florida as your event venue prior and the event clashes with the hurricane season, be prepared for no-shows!
  • Proximity – It is essential to map attendee personas and look into their backgrounds to assess where they are coming from. If your maximum event crowd is from Europe, calling them to Canada doesn't make sense.
  • Travel – As most attendees will travel distances to reach the event destination, travel options at their expense are an essential factor. Ask yourself – is there an airport, is local transportation readily available, what is the traffic like and are parking options available?
  • Audience interests – What is your audience following on the internet? What are they engaging with on social media? You will have to map audience interests to pick the correct destination for your event. For example, if your target audience is middle-aged and already well settled in their careers, choosing a hip town with an active student population won't make sense.

Are There Interesting Options for Stays?

The run-time of some events or conferences can be a week! So, based on the event duration, you must pick destinations with exciting and unconventional stay options for attendees, and even delegates.

According to TripAdvisor, travelers are more likely to splurge 41% of their budgets on accommodation and dining.

If you choose a destination close to a hotel-dominated region, you are likely to cut short the travel time for attendees. In addition, it will allow them to explore the area and step out to grab a quick bite during the event.

However, the recent wave of micro-experiences after the pandemic has given a unique appeal to corporate events! Rather than trying to hinge your entire event's appeal on how grand an event it was, try redirecting the center of attention to exclusivity. In addition, working on a smaller scale sometimes enables organizers to create more personalized event journeys for attendees.

Try organizing 'Rare,' 'Limited-edition,' or 'Invitation-only' events at remote places like the warm waters in Florida. Then, with fewer attendees, you can book high-end luxury accommodations, leisure activities and networking.

How Popular Is Your Event Destination?

What makes a destination popular? Event organizers must tread lightly while identifying locations for an event. To rouse excitement, you can pick destinations with a rich history or some interesting folklore that is concurrent with your event's theme.

While creating micro-experiences, you can handpick locations off the beaten path and have exciting backstories or unresolved mysteries. In addition, the top factors that make a site popular are – culture, gastronomy, architecture, landscape, events and infrastructure.

As per TripAdvisor’s list, the top destinations where travelers are willing to empty their pockets are:
  • New Zealand – 52%
  • Thailand – 49%
  • South Africa – 47%
  • Australia – 45%
  • Argentina – 44%

How Frequent Are Events at Your Preferred Destination?

Meetings, conventions and different kinds of events are predominant factors for generating revenue for the city. It also supports the local economy by bringing in cash flow for restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and other local businesses.

Consequently, organizers can also pick destinations that are already popular for events and have a colossal attendee base history. According to Cvent's ranking, here is the chart for the top 12 cities in the USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific that are popular for events:

Ranking USA  Europe, Middle East and Africa Asia Pacific
1 Orlando London Singapore
2 Chicago Barcelona Sydney
3 Las Vegas Amsterdam Kuala Lumpur
4 Atlanta Paris Bangkok
5 San Diego Berlin Hong Kong
6 New York Rome Shanghai
7 Washington DC Frankfurt Melbourne
8 Dallas Madrid Tokyo
9 Nashville Brussels Beijing
10 New Orleans Prague Seoul
11 Miami Dubai Makati
12 Denver Dublin Bali

Final Words

The entire event orchestration process for an outdoor event requires forethought and sleepless nights of only planning and strategizing! However, getting down to the nitty-gritty of selecting a destination can be fun. After all, you get to delve deep and discover new elements like the rich heritage, culture, diversity and practices that prevail in different corners of the globe!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to create an outdoor event?

The below-mentioned steps will help you plan an outdoor event:
  • Select a great outdoor venue
  • Source a team, volunteers and caterers
  • Get the necessary permits
  • Ensure the comfort of all attendees
  • Source the right equipment
  • Leverage the right tools and technology
  • Think about accessibility
  • Have a backup plan


What are some creative outdoor event ideas for engagement?

Outdoor events are a great way of breaking the ice! Here are a few activities that increase engagement:
  • Background stories of attendees through Pictionary for easy networking
  • Give placards to attendees and let them draw their own logos
  • A scavenger hunt at the event venue
  • Gather local food trucks to let attendees enjoy the local cuisine


Is it wise to have a backup plan while planning an outdoor event?

Even though the fundamental is well-known amongst the business community, it is often ignored. However, the pandemic has taught us to plan for uncertainty, and in the case of events, especially outdoor ones, always have a flexible backup plan to ensure the spirits of your attendees soar high, in any case.

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