No venue? No problem! How temporary structures help your event happen

No venue? No problem! How temporary structures help your event happen

In cities like Paris, Vienna and Barcelona event organisers are spoiled for choice. When it comes to venues, there’s ready availability of everything from historic palaces to industrial warehouses. But what do you do when the chosen destination doesn’t have suitable venues at all?

What do you do, for instance, when your group won’t fit anywhere in the destination?

What happens when the full palette of excellent, purpose built events facilities that you get in Copenhagen, Rome and London are conspicuous by their absence in the chosen location?

How do you proceed when your technical requirements cannot be met in any available destination structure?

That’s when temporary structures come into play. Here are some you should consider renting for your next event.


Big Top

During a recent brainstorming session we hit upon the idea of a circus theme for our event and, coincidentally, solved a capacity issue at the same time. Attendees were to be accommodated in a Downton Abbey-style hotel with insufficient space for the meetings and social functions but renting the Big Top from the local circus (on hibernation for the winter season) provided the perfect solution. We easily accommodated the 100 + resident and non-resident meetings attendees for the morning plenary session (they were seated on the tiered benches but we brought in cushions from IKEA to soften the shock!) and threw a spectacular informal party in the evening time with festival-style food stations and circus performers.

The Spiegel Tent

“Spiegel” means “mirror” in German, Dutch and Yiddish but is familiar to those of us who don’t speak these languages as a wonderful retro-style tent that shows up sporadically in cities and towns all over Europe. Dating from the early years of the last century, the Spiegel Tent originated in Belgium and brought the glitz and glamour of urban dance halls to remote rural locations. Its mirrored walls afforded party-goers a unique 360 degree vista of the room, permitting furtive glances and discreet eye contact in an epoch when such behavior was considered risqué. There’s a full range of vintage Spiegel tents for hire, all bringing that recherché retro feel to your event and providing capacities for up to 1,000 attendees.

Transparent Clear Span Marquee

Many highly desirable period venues – think mediaeval castle, plantation mansion, 18th century palace – can easily accommodate a stand-up function or welcome cocktail but, size-wise, cannot cater for a formal sit down banquet. To overcome such challenges, we typically rent transparent marquee structures and set them in the gardens or grounds of the facility, facing the majestic historic edifice. Attendees enjoy private, direct access to the venue’s history and heritage over drinks and canapés but then dine in comfort in the voluminous space of the marquee overlooking the spectacularly illuminated castle. It’s a bit like doing the Top of the Rock visit in New York City because from there you get the most spectacular view of the Empire State Building!

Free Form Tents

Also known as “stretch tents” this type of temporary structure can be erected over any surface – even terraced platforms – and provides perfect protection from sun or rain, depending on geography and season! Stretch tents also integrate seamlessly with the surfaces they cover so trees, flowers and garden ponds become your party décor. They also look great as they don’t have the linear, boxy feel of regular marquees and can attach easily onto existing buildings to create a perfect flow between the permanent and temporary areas of your event.

This picture shows a summer party with a stretch tent covering from the house, across a balcony patio, and over two tiers of garden:

Photo Credit: The Arabian Tent Company

This 50th birthday party made best use of an uneven area of garden:

Photo Credit: The Arabian Tent Company

Dome Tents

Dome Tents – Geodesic Domes to use the correct engineering term – have now become the latest sensation in temporary venues and it’s not hard to see why. They are extremely robust, look amazing and offer endless branding opportunities particularly in relation to 360 degree projection and mapping. They can also be interconnected to create a futuristic-style, fantasy land that wouldn’t be out of place at a Global Expo. If you truly want to wow your attendees consider a Dome tent. They come in various diameters and can accommodate up to 500 seated guests for a banquet.

Double Decker Solutions

Temporary structures also extend to two levels as anyone who attends high end race meetings will know. Double Decker Marquees maximise both your capacities and revenues while keeping you on the same footprint or surface level. When being situated at a specific location – like the start or finish line at a race course – is an event requirement then Double Decker structures really come into play. They also allow for segmentation of audiences which is important for certain events, particularly when your event client requires a VIP area within her overall meeting space.

Photo Credit: RÖDER HTS HÖCKER “Manhattan” 2-Storey structure

Photo Credit: RÖDER HTS HÖCKER “Manhattan” 2-Storey structure

In Conclusion

Venues come in all shapes and sizes but often not in the shape or size you need for your events. This is where tents, marquees and other temporary structures can be the perfect solution to your event puzzle. It used to be 4 white walls and a pitched roof but now the range and extent of available product is such that you’ve got real choice. This challenge is, in fact, an opportunity for savvy event organisers to explore different kinds of temporary structures that breathe new energy into the event and make it truly amazing.

About The Author
Padraic Gilligan
Padraic Gilligan is Managing Partner at SoolNua Marketing, a boutique consultancy offering marketing, training and strategy for MICE for destinations, venues and hotels. He blogs weekly on destinations and matters of interest to the Meetings Industry at Padraicino
Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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