Potentially bad weather combined with an outdoor event can take any cool/confident event organizer and turn them into a nervous wreck. All it takes is one bad weather forecast to completely ruin an outdoor event. Months of planning and massive amounts of money can come down to a weather forecast (accurate or not). Below are a few simple suggestions that you can use into dealing with weather and your outdoor event.
How a weather forecast is presented has a direct impact on people showing up to your outdoor event. In the air show world if the weather forecaster says something like “It might rain this weekend” BANG! The air show just lost tens of thousands of dollars . . . It could end up being perfectly sunny and people will still remember the forecast and not show up to the event.
Here is an out of the box suggestion - Try and contact your local weather forecasters and let them know about your event. Ask them if they can stay away from depicting doom and gloom. I’m NOT suggesting you ask your local forecaster to be dishonest in their forecast. But let’s be honest . . . How the forecast is presented could have a huge impact on your event turnout. Don’t let a editorial speculative forecast ruin all your planning and hard work.
Use a Damaging Admission
There is a marketing genius by the name of Dan Kennedy that coined the phrase “damaging admission.” A damaging admission is a brutally honest conceit regarding your product or service. In the case of an outdoor event, the weather could be your damaging admission. You’re far better off coming out and acknowledging the weather in relation to your event. "Yes, it might actually rain, so we've done this . . . " The best place to address any weather concerns is right on your event web site. Below is an excerpt of a “damaging admission” related to the weather leveraged with a huge Canadian air show. Feel free to borrow any concepts or ideas from below.
We cannot guarantee the weather . . . Please don’t rely on the weather forecast to help you make up your mind. In our experience “the forecast is usually wrong” for both good weather and bad. Your safety and the public’s safety is the number one concern of any air show. It’s important for you to know each performer has a routine to accommodate for various weather conditions, including low cloud bases. Each routine will leave you awe-inspired.
Important Weather Note
Unfortunately we aren’t in a position where we can offer refunds for weather. The Air Show is a rain or shine event.
The above admission didn’t have any negative impact on advance ticket sales for the event. People still purchased tickets in droves. And, they were very appreciative that we acknowledged the weather right on the ticket page. If you have an outdoor event, always acknowledge what happens IF the weather turns sour.
Have a Weather Back Up Plan
Create a backup plan if bad weather has the potential to disrupt your event. Obviously the first priority is patron safety when it comes to weather. Too many event organizers and planners have no plan for when then weather craps out. Is there something else you can do, in spite of the weather, to ensure patrons have a positive experience at your event?
If you have some experience in countering bad weather at your event, please comment and leave a suggestion.
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