With the introduction of strict “smoke free” laws by government, the outdoor areas of a venue have become essential parts of revenue generation for hotels and clubs.

While it is still legal to smoke outside, it is imperative that these areas are treated with the same diligence as any internal area of a venue. They must be maintained with the same high levels of hygiene and comfort as all other areas. Ash trays must be emptied and tables cleaned. It is just too easy to forget that the outdoor areas of a venue are major revenue generators, if maintained to a high standard.

Climate control in these areas is essential to maintain patronage. With the recent heatwave spreading across the Southern States, venues with a misting (outdoor cooling) system experienced the benefits of keeping patrons comfortable.

A system such as the Aquamizer portable misting system uses re-cycled water which can be obtained from the run off from the ice dispenser. This system is fully portable and can be positioned anywhere in the outdoor area. It operates with a 38L reservoir and will operate on one full tank for 40 hours.

As with cooling, many effective outdoor heating systems are available to maintain comfort during winter months. Vinyl structures, such as umbrellas, folding awnings and full 4-sided outdoor rooms are a simple, cost effective way to create and maintain a comfortable, year-round outdoor area.

Heating and cooling can be fitted to these structures to provide the year-round comfort the patrons require.

Sophisticated infra red electric heaters, such as the “Infratech” outdoor heater from Keverton Outdoor are highly efficient and relatively inexpensive to operate. Electric infra red heat will only heat the bio mass and does not waste energy attempting to heat air which in most cases is blown away with any form of wind.

Electric infra red heaters have the capacity to be fitted with a motion detection device, making operation in outdoor areas fully automated and not reliant on staff to operate.

Of the utmost importance when designing or considering the outdoor areas is the OH&S responsibility towards staff. It is irresponsible for the management to expect staff to work in these areas if the level of hygiene and comfort are not as they are in the internal areas of the venue.

Appropriate staff uniforms are essential to cope with the extreme outdoor weather conditions. This is another important rule to maintain these areas comfortably for both patrons and staff, to ensure they become major profit centres of the venue.

Even without the strict smoke free laws, the outdoor area is an essential revenue generation. Many patrons prefer to be seated outside to enjoy the environment. Making outdoor areas comfortable, clean, safe and busy will make them the most popular parts of any venue on a year-round basis.