Events return but with another aspect

Pre-pandemic schemes have been abandoned. Instead, today's events embrace the experience and focus on connection, community, and content.

Meetings are back, and many are now more of a conversation than a conference. It’s all about engagement and face-to-face connection. Attendees hope to leave inspired and connected, or they will be reluctant to say yes to future gatherings.

The challenges persist. On-site staff shortages, rising costs, and short lead times are a reality affecting catering and operations teams. However, these changes bring smoother and more flexible meetings.

Food trucks and street fairs are all the rage as the festiveness of today’s group experience is an old trend new again. However, less attention is paid to the show and more to the experience and well-being. The bottom line is that companies are looking for more than just a meeting. They want a complete event experience.

Aimbridge Hospitality, a global hospitality company, and Knowland, a hospitality and data technology company, have collaborated on a report looking at these changes in sales and catering.

“All of the above rules are out the door. Group sales and hotel catering and event teams are navigating the new normal and thinking outside the box to get creative and deliver memorable events or create the next Instagram moment. “said Jeff Bzdawka, CEO of Knowland. “With the resurgence of in-person meetings, celebrations, and events, the pandemic has reshaped the way we work and meet, with new opportunities to create engaging experiences and unforgettable connections.”

The report identifies several interesting trends. These include

Flexible meetings

Gone are the days when meetings were held theater-style or in a classroom, shoulder to shoulder. Instead, flexible schedules are preferred to enhance learning and stimulate the senses. Additionally, gamification is a popular way to ensure employee interaction and engagement.

At the height of social networks

Catering and operations teams need to get more creative and deliver Instagram-worthy moments. Unique presentations are especially popular and include butter tables, sugar displays, and charcuterie displays. According to Jen Chauvin, Aimbridge’s vice president of catering and event management, “Today’s successful meetings offer differentiated experiences that continue beyond their conclusion and provide attendees with extraordinary Instagram-worthy moments.”

Meetings not relegated to the meeting room

One of the most significant effects of the pandemic is that remote work is becoming the new normal. As physical offices close or shrink, the need to bring employees together for face-to-face interaction increases. This has resulted in restaurants, outdoor patios, etc., becoming gathering spaces.

Well-being is not something pleasant, but essential

Groups require meeting professionals to create agendas in spaces that support physical and mental health. This trend is accompanied by the appearance of executives with positions such as wellness director. Consequently, the well-being of employees is of vital importance today.

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