PMPI Engage - July/August 2016 - (Page 12)
"What do We have?"
By Amy Drew Thompson
oh, ThaT dreaded
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Destination Spotlight: Boston
Welcome, New Members!
Members on the Move
MPI Potomac Dashboard
Index of Advertisers
PMPI Engage - July/August 2016