Meeting attendees are fickle, especially when it comes to what they eat and drink while there.
In a session held at the American Society of Association Executives’ Annual meeting and exhibition at the end In August, John Hawley, executive director of affiliate sales for Hilton Worldwide, cited these statistics from a recent survey of attendees at dozens of trade events: 62% said food and beverages were a “major factor” in their decision to attend an event, and 75% said that if the F&B quality was good enough, they would definitely return to this event.
However, 66% also said their most recent events featured food and drink that was not good enough to persuade them to attend in the future.
To make F&B a positive factor in potential attendees’ decision to come to a meeting, Hawley offers the following tips:
• Planners should “communicate details of all F&B experiences in advance; market them to members just like you do for other elements of the event”.
• On the other hand, don’t reveal everything up front – delight people with the unexpected to enhance the experience. “You want Instagrammable moments for food, how it is presented on the plate and how it is served if you use different stations in the room.”
• Make friends with the chef. “His creativity is essential. Ask the chef to take advantage of seasonality with local foodsand find out what other presentation elements and styles worked best for previous groups. »
• Help both your attendees and the planet with your F&B choices. “Plant-based menus include minimally processed items with no eggs, dairy, fish or meat used. Creating such a menu for everyone for at least one meal introduces people to different things. For example, chickpea pasta with meatballs made from beans, golden mushrooms and spices can be excellent. Plus, “every plant-based meal you serve reduces the carbon footprint of the meeting.”