We recently reported on “10 Ideas to Increase Event Engagement” after attending our first IMEX tradeshow. IMEX America is an annual exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events, where more than 6,000 event professionals gather to acquire the latest information about the U.S. meetings market with new contacts, new ideas and a passion for business.
IMEX America boasts 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 3,000 suppliers from every sector of the global meetings industry. It is essentially THE event of the year for people in meetings and events.
Event engagement ideas were merely the tip of the iceberg when it came to event inspiration and current event industry trends. Here are five food and beverage trends as seen on the show floor. Warning: Proceed while hungry at your own risk!
Trend: Interactive themed food stations
Everyone likes donuts. At most trade shows, grabbing a donut to accompany your coffee requires about a split-second of thought. That makes the donut-eating experience much like the donut itself – tasty and quick, but usually forgettable.
To make a simple-sounding donut more memorable, why not let guests add their own custom touch? This do-it-yourself donut station offered many different glazes and toppings to satisfy the sweet tooth. What can compete with your guest’s very own masterful culinary creation?
Trend: Interactive food displays
Noticing a trend? Interaction is a key component of event design right now. Imagine walking along and suddenly a helping hand reaches out to offer you a glass of wine, beer or champagne?
As an added bonus, the hospitality wall is a branding opportunity, which the city of Long Beach used to great effect (as seen in the accompanying photo). Your guests’ eyes will be drawn to the wall, for both the experience and the message you’re trying to convey.
Taste-good, do-good suckers
Trend: Green meetings, with a focus on corporate social responsibility
Tasty, branded and eco-friendly … it’s the feel-good trifecta!
Below are some examples of event sponsors offering sweet, organic treats to event guests. These branded items from Amborella Organics come with seeds in the sticks so that you can plant something that contributes to the planet. And you thought lollipops had no sociological value.
To learn more about how to brand these yummy suckers for your event, visit https://www.amborellaorganics.com.
Trend: Themed signature cocktails that tell a story
Get ready to step up your mixology game …
The clever drink in the photo below used a resort’s popular, signature product – the Hershey’s Kiss – to put a smile on guests’ faces as they toured the tradeshow floor.
For your next event, consider creating a creative concoction that makes a lasting impression and complements the theme of the event. Props to Hershey Resorts for this neat twist on an iconic product. Visit their website at http://www.hersheypa.com
Spiked Cotton Candy
Trend: Childhood favorites with a twist
Cotton candy happens to be one of my favorite childhood treats. The key ingredient: SUGAR!!!
What if we said it could be spiked with alcohol? Now I believe I have your attention.
Curious? Not convinced?
Sugar & Cloth has a recipe for Spiked Cotton Candy if you want to give it a go on your own. Otherwise, stay tuned. It may be popping up at your next event.
Thanks for reading. Please continue to follow this blog for tips, insights, case studies and more!
Eventfully Angela is a premier independent event management partner specializing in Corporate Events and Event Branding. Based in Charlotte, NC, Eventfully Angela fills the resource gaps of businesses both large and small, with premium and customized services. Specialties include full-service planning, sourcing and venue selection, on-site day of support, consulting and contract audits, event marketing and branding, experiential event design, and fully customized event registration websites. 704-754-2627 firstname.lastname@example.org