PMPI Engage - July/August 2016 - (Page 12)

thought leadership "What do We have?" By Amy Drew Thompson oh, ThaT dreaded question. Whether you're a parent who hears it from a child (who doubtless asks while staring blindly into the open refrigerator for extended periods of time) or you just remember asking your own mom in search of that perfect after-school snack - you can relate. And as a meeting planner, choosing what's for dinner - or breakfast, or lunch, or afternoon break time, etc. - is a job that extends well past finding the toaster waffles wedged at the back of the freezer. Successful meal planning means ticking all the boxes. Read on for a few tips on how to keep those attendees - even the pickiest - sated and happy. Who's CoMing? Do you know your attendee profile? Are they a highly professional group or do they let their hair down a little? How often do they attend events such as these? Are they largely from one region or are they flying in from all over? What are the basic demographics (age, gender, and ethnicity)? This information can help you create a profile that lets you know when to forgo formal passed hors d'oevres for craft margaritas and food-truck tacos. everyone loves oPTions While more information a la above will help you plan, you can't please everyone. The more choices your budget will allow, the better odds you have of hitting high marks with each attendee. Comfort food may be trending but you'll want to do your best to balance things, like ensuring there are vegetarian (and even vegan!) options alongside that lobster mac. This extends to things like sauces and condiments, as well. Try and balance dessert out, too. Offer a light sorbet option to give healthier attendees something to ponder besides the bread pudding. loCal and seasonal It's still trending - and it should be. Fresh fare is often healthier and green in ways that benefit the environment. Where are you meeting? In coastal cities, for example, optimize with fresh seafood. Take a look at the calendar and see what's in season and nearby. And don't forget that fruits, veggies and herbs can be incorporated by innovative mixologists in the bar, as well. do downtown Poll a Cross-seCTion of native metro-New Yorkers and odds are, you'd be surprised by how many have never even been to the Empire State Building. So D.C.-area planners (perhaps jaded to the appeal of the White House, the Smithsonian, the Washington Monument?) may think they benefit from scheduling meetings away from the city center, opting perhaps for venues and destinations more pastoral, those more associated with fresh air and farming. Big-city expenditures, too, may play a role. But as the cost of travel to areas outside the city center and to off-site 12 destinations for dining and other activities can easily offset savings made by moving your meeting, let's revisit the factors for finding fun in the city center: PuRPoSE-BuILT DIgS. Sure, meeting in a farmhouse-turned-restaurant is neat, but in all likelihood it's a far better venue for pleasure (as in dining and mixing) than actual business. In town stays mean far more options for furnished meeting spaces with all the tech planners need to get the job done. The JW Marriott, Washington D.C., for example, has 29 different meeting rooms comprising 37,000 square feet of ENgAgE JuLY/AuGuST 2016 VOL. 37 NO. 6 updated space and an on-site team of A/V experts. LoCATIon, LoCATIon, LoCATIon! You may be a jaded resident of the District, but probably not. Who better than a planning professional know the appeal of his or her home destination! The Washington Court hotel is roughly a 10-minute walk from the spoils of the Smithsonian and a host of iconic D.C. haunts - and suits every event from board meeting to conference to black-tie gala. Attendees with free time will have to do little more than step outside before their D.C. to-do list starts getting done.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PMPI Engage - July/August 2016

President’s Message
Does Your Brand Earn a 5-Star Review?
MPI Potomac’s Evening of the Stars
Meet the 2016-2017 Board of Directors
Meetings Thought Leadership
Practice Mindfulness During Your Busy Day
Volunteer Spotlight
Destination Spotlight: Boston
Welcome, New Members!
Members on the Move
MPI Potomac Dashboard
Index of Advertisers

PMPI Engage - July/August 2016