Planning for an exhibit or trade show involves myriad factors, including exhibit space, meeting rooms, marketing theme, hotel room blocks, and hundreds of other items both large and small. I’d like to introduce one more: weather. Although the weather can be an afterthought, it is a critical component to a successful event. Weather forecasts should be used to ensure that attendees and exhibitors are informed and prepared.
Weather affects indoor expos as much as outdoor gatherings; consider the exhibitors and attendees traveling from out of town. Weather ultimately impacts the outcome of a trade show. Two critical pieces of weather information can help make your show a success:
1) Climatological Information as a Planning Tool
The climate of the host city should always be a consideration. The climatological information represents the average weather conditions most likely to take place at that location at a specific time of year. Too often, event planners look only at the temperature statistics, but that’s only half of the story.
Rain and other storms can have a big effect on travel, or even day-to-day attendance numbers. Detailed weather analysis that goes beyond temperature can be gleaned by working with a meteorological provider who can review the appropriate statistics for any city of interest.
For example, the risk of rain or chance of lighting may be too great for an outdoor exhibit in Orlando in July but would have a better statistical chance of success in early December. Or consider Las Vegas, which is generally thought to be immune to these weather issues, but the summer months mean that extreme heat, lightning, and torrential rains are possible.
If the date of your event is fixed, a consultant can help you choose between cities based on which has the best statistical probability for favorable weather conditions at that time of year.
2) Real Time Weather Monitoring On-Site
As we know, weather predictions are to the highest probability and are not certainties. Forecasts can also change at a moment’s notice. Having severe-weather response systems and protocols incorporated into your trade show’s overall safety plan isn’t just highly recommended – it can be life saving. As a show organizer, you can tap into the safety program used at the expo venue, and share it with the exhibitors and attendees.
You can also take these specific actions:
Adopt a Severe-Weather Warning System
Hosting an expo in areas that are prone to heavy rain, lightning, or other hazardous conditions – such as tornadoes, hail, or high winds – makes working with a commercial weather company vital. These types of integrated weather-response systems provide real-time local weather forecasts, warnings, and alerts through proprietary technology, helping to keep the show’s property and people safe.
A great example is an outdoor event in Charlotte, N.C., in August 2015 that was vulnerable to adverse weather. Fortunately, the event organizers had AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions monitoring and, 21 minutes after an initial warning, the first lightning strike occurred in the area. Even though the skies were not threatening, receiving accurate, advanced weather warnings for their exact GPS location allowed attendees to evacuate safely and return a short time later to enjoy the remainder of the event.
Have a Communication Distribution Strategy
Once the warnings are issued, communication to expo officials and attendees is crucial. You can work with the weather-service provider to tailor a warning system to work seamlessly with your severe weather safety plan. This will enable you to move people to safety in a timely fashion before adverse weather arrives. The information must be put into context for attendees through clear, relevant, and tailored communications to ensure they understand what action to take.
The good news is that the science of storm warnings has advanced. State-of-the-art commercial weather forecast platforms let you utilize the most accurate, comprehensive, and targeted weather data, with hyper-local, and short- and long-range forecasts. So, don’t fret about your event. Just allow mother nature to help you plan it.