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Alcohol and Events
James Coakes

Naturally alcohol is an important part of many events. People associate having a few drinks with relaxation and enjoyment.

Obviously participants must not drink before taking part in dangerous activities, particularly motorised and shooting events. All insurance companies specify that no alcohol at all is taken before or during any such events. It is impossible to police a situation where people are allowed 'one or two' so usually soft drinks or tea and coffee is provided during activities. When activities have finished then teams typically head off for a barbecue or meal and then drinks.

Consumption of alcohol can be a problem on events and it is those drinking sessions which continue on into the early hours which are better avoided. If you have exclusive use of a bar area ask the hotel to close it at a sensible time, say 11 p.m. If you don't have exclusive use then you can ask the hotel to set up a separate area which you can control and say that drinks purchased in other public bars must not be charged to the company account. This way you can also restrict drinks to wine and beer and steer away from spirits. This will encourage delegates to get to bed early and have a good night's sleep. If having a drink is important in your company culture then have a longer night on a Friday after a conference so that people can make their way home on Saturday morning with a hangover. To start a conference in a fresh state of mind choose a country house hotel with access to good walking territory and have a team building walk after breakfast. Often teams start a conference after a large breakfast having not left the centrally heated environment of the hotel building; not the best way to get yourself going. You might arrange a light hearted aerobic session before an event; nothing too strenuous, primarily fun but out in the open and designed to get the blood flowing to the brain.

This point made in the majority of organisations will be perceived as a professional approach to a potential problem that most people do recognise. The delegates will thank you for any controls you put in place the next morning.

About the Author

James Coakes founded Progressive Resources Ltd 16 years ago. Progressive Resources is one of the UK's leading event management companies organising in excess of 500 events in 2004 for corporate clients such as BP, Sony and Virgin.

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