Monthly Archives: February 2013

Brand your events. You’ll be happy you did.

Nashville Hiking Meetup logoI joined Nashville Hiking Meetup in July of 2007. After several months of participating in hikes, leading hikes, and taking over the group in December of that year, someone suggested we have a social event at a bar or restaurant. Surprisingly enough I was skeptical. I said, "I know these people like to hike together, but will they like to socialize and drink a beer together?"

Boy, was I wrong.

We planned our first crowded barsocial event for January 6, 2008 at a local pub. Trip leader Seth had the brilliant idea (which I later learned was the idea of his then girlfriend and now wife Anna) to call it "Drink a Pint" which then morphed into "Drink a Pint Night" over time. People loved the event from day one.

Fast forward to modern times. We typically do one Drink a Pint Night per month now, attracting usually 100 people or more. Now members expect the "Pint Nights" (as most people call them now). By giving the regular event its own name, people identify with it and can refer to the mixer quickly as in, When is the next Pint Night?

Social events have become great way for current members to catch up with old friends, and new members to meet a few folks to realize we’re not crazy before they head out into the woods to hike or camp with us. Add a great brand name to your mixers and other events (and partner with other meetups in the area) and I bet you’ll have a winning combination. Furthermore, promise a venue you’ll bring X number of people into their establishment on a certain night, you’re bound to find a long term sponsor.

drinking beerNo, we’re not the only group in the world to use the event moniker “Drink a Pint Night” but it has stuck. I’m proud to say that our friends at Bowling Green Hiking Meetup have also taken on that brand.

Our pals at Tennessee Hiking Group do a great job at thinking up creative (although a little cutesy for my taste) titles for their events such as “Romancing the Stone: Standing Stone SP, Cooper Mountain Trail” and “Fiery Gizzard —> And we’re off to see the Gizzard…”

How have you branded your recurring events? Let us know in the comments.

See Kelly Stewart’s Google+ profile.

Resources: Brand your events. You’ll be happy you did.

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Why set an attendee limit?

hiking groupsWhile running Nashville Hiking Meetup for over five years, one of the questions I hear most often is, “Why do you set attendee limits on hikes at public parks?” The short answer to this is, “Because we are responsible leaders.”

Usually, but not always, the hikes local to the city will allow more RSVPs because we all drive ourselves so we feel like the more the merrier. Regional hikes, such as those where we meet and carpool for one to two hours, will almost certainly have a limit simply because it’s more difficult to organize and keep a ton of people straight. Remember field trips as a kid? There was always a set student-to-teacher ratio to manage the juvenile herd. After all, more moving parts increases the chances for unpredictable deviations from the plan.

hiking groupsSometimes the hikes may be limited simply because of the impact on the trails or our agreement with partners we team with. Just as time is required for recovery after vigorous workouts, it takes time for a forest or trail to recover after dozens of hikers pass through in a given day.

The bottom line is, it’s difficult for our volunteer trip leaders to manage more than a certain number of hikers. In addition, we must remain respectful of other hikers out that same day who probably wouldn’t appreciate a large group of fifty (50) outdoor enthusiasts blowing by them, potentially disrupting their nature experience. Attendee limits are set in order to be responsible, safe, and respectful — not only to the environment, but to other hikers.

See Kelly Stewart’s Google+ profile.