Planning an Outdoor Marketing Event & the Pan Am Impact

In keeping with the subject—and season, of planning and marketing an outdoor event I’d like to follow up last week’s post with some logistics tips to help make your event run smoothly, as well as, discuss the impact an outdoor event can have on a community.

Firstly, here’s a guideline outlining some of the important things you need to consider before taking it outside:

  1. Permits. Is your venue a park, held in the downtown core or at the waterfront? If it is…there’s a very good chance you will require an outdoor event permit. Although, the requirements may vary by city; typically a permit comes into play when attendance is expected to exceed a certain number of people, if there’s a traffic disruption, and where a road closure is needed. A permit is even required, in some cases, for large events held on private property.Regardless, of the location be sure to thoroughly research a city or region’s site requirements and allow for enough time to secure a permit, so it’ll be ready for your launch date. Some cities require at least 60 days notification, in order to properly complete the permit process.Beware…depending on the nature of your event, a city may require more than one permit; for example, temporary food, liquor, service and operating permits. Should you need to close a road…that’s another ballgame, which will likely involve the creation of a Traffic Management Plan! I’ll address traffic disruption a little later in this post…  
  2. Some other things to be aware of. Familiarize yourself with the city’s outdoor guidelines…What are the noise by-laws? Fire and safety regulations? Security, sanitation garbage collection and other amenities…is this provided or is your company responsible for sourcing.
  3. Insurance and Waivers. If there is some form of athleticism or activity that could potentially involve a mishap, the proper insurance should be in place to protect all parties involved and the participants should sign waivers prior to taking part in the event activity.
  4. Sketch the Site Logistics Out. It’s often a requirement for the permit process, as well as an important tool for my team. When it’s time to set-up an event, my team has a clear picture of where everything—be it cars, or the pylons in an obstacle course—should go. This allows for a smooth and less stressful operation.

Secondly, as a logistics manager, you have to be cognizant that an outdoor event can impact a community—be it for a few hours, a day, or perhaps, even longer and plan accordingly. As is the case with this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Games which, in particular, will disrupt traffic in the Hamilton area and the already congested GTA.

The facts: 7,600 athletes, 30 venues across Ontario, for two extended periods of time—July 10-26 and August 7-15. Wow! That’s potentially a lot of disgruntled commuters, businesses, participants and spectators. What to do? The answer…a whole lot of logistical planning before the athletes arrive to ensure they make it to their events on-time and Ontarians can get to where they need to go.

What’s the plan?…from June 29-August 18, there will be temporary changes to the road networks. To help Ontarians contend with the changes in traffic patterns, a section on the website providing general information and details on road closures has been set up. A section entitled ‘Get A Jump On Traffic,’ also offers comprehensive solutions for businesses—tools such as ‘Create a Travel Plan’ and ‘Sign Up for Updates.’ There’s also: downloadable maps, traffic plans by city, as well as travel tips to avoid traffic and delays.

To keep traffic flowing sections of the area’s major highways—401, Don Valley Parkway and the 427 will have clearly marked Temporary High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (HOV). This is also outlined on the website; as are road closures and detours around the sporting venues and the Athletes’ Village. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a logistical balancing act between the city’s residents and all of its guests. All of this planning and soon to be execution is no small feat, nor is the goal of the city and the province, to reduce traffic by 20% while the games are on.

That said, this is a very exciting time for Ontario and I for one, am looking forward to watching the Games. I have to say, as a logistics manager, I have an appreciation for all the work and coordination involved to pull-off an event of this magnitude. And, I look forward to rolling out my client’s outdoor events this summer too although, unlike the Games…we won’t be disrupting any traffic!

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