Friday, January 27, 2012

Do It Yourself…..Dinner?

New catering trends now boast thing like “interactive” and “customizable.” The days of being stuck at a table for several hours at a banquet or other meal function are over. Caterers across the country are putting their own twist on bringing the kitchen to you like Creative Edge Parties in New York who offers a cut-your-own pasta station with hanging sheets of handmade pasta.

Not only does this trend lead to make it yourself buffets like devil-your-own egg bar, it also brings chefs out of the kitchen so that you can see them hard at work. A new device called the “anti-griddle” is being used in these up close chef interactions for freezing things instead of cooking them.

Chefs are not the only ones that get to come out of the kitchen and have some fun with these new trends. More and more catering companies are also offering carts of different food and drink items that can be prepared on the spot or served up to mingling guests. These carts can carry anything from ice cream cones with toppings to a full carving station that comes to you.

Guests will also benefit from this move towards more interactive food. Long meal functions can tend to drag in a large room setting where the only people you talk to are those seated to your right and left. Being able to get up and mingle with people while you create something together can help to bring your guests together or to break them out of long business sessions at the end of the day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moving Your Meetings Into the Techno-age

Most delegates and meeting attendees are now glued to their smart phones and tablets. According to One+ tablet and smartphone sales surpassed desktop and laptop computers in 2011.

Event-goers more often than not want to connect their audience with the event they are attending in real time they like to share their experiences as they happen and not after the fact. This creates new demands for events.

Wi-Fi connections are now standard in contract terms. Depending on the size of your meeting you may need a tech expert from your venue to help you establish things like the number of connections needed and the bandwidth and whether or not you will need extra power. These things can now significantly affect how long your attendees stay in their sessions. Though cell phones now often have 3G coverage service can be spotty and attendees are likely to walk out in order to send important emails or respond to messages if you don’t have the internet connection available to allow them a solid connection.

When the room is full of smart phones and tablets you should use that to your advantage. No doubt these folks engage in social media so why not ask them to follow you on twitter or join in a discussion on your Facebook community? Your resources for more web traffic and word of mouth marketing are sitting right in front of you.

There are many more roads we can go down with technology such as apps for you conference, video interviews in the hallways, and ways to take the conference with you on the go however groups and companies should be careful of jumping into the tecno-world too fast. If you are not prepared to build your own app then don’t do it but we should all be moving forward with all the fully executable options available to us.

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