The meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) industry is as good as it’s ever been. It’s an industry that all businesses need to help spread ideas, network and solidify working relationships.
The demand for events remains consistent but new challenges have surfaced requiring MICE agents, organisers and service providers to find incentive ideas with increased innovation when it comes to the travel and hospitality sector.
Modern meetings, conferences and events need to offer attendees meaningful, one-of-a-kind experiences and it’s no different when it comes to catering. Finding incentive ideas on the food front can feel intimidating because reality TV cooking shows and social media have made challenges of gourmet cooking seem easy. Fear not! Here are some creative trends to get you inspired and keep you at the top of your game:
Food is an Experience
Food is so much more than mere sustenance. There’s nothing worse than attending a great conference only to be disappointed by the cuisine on offer. The quality of what you eat has the power to enhance your experience, and if your guests enjoy their food, they’re more likely to perceive the event positively. Think of food as a sensory and cultural experience.
Remember, if you’re serving processed meals, the surge in sugar will give your attendees a quick energy spike followed by a severe slump. On a similar note, if you have foreign delegates and the food is bland and boring, they might feel disappointed. We’d suggest serving wholesome, scrumptious and creatively plated cuisine. Attendees that enjoy their meals will have a far more positive overall event experience
Bowl them over with local flavours
When it comes to thinking about new incentive ideas don’t neglect the enticing qualities of local cuisine. Even though some of your attendees are travelling for business, it doesn’t mean they’re uninterested in local cuisine and culture. By making flavourful, traditional food and beverages available you’ll give them a true taste of the country they’re visiting.
Tap into wholesome and tasty meals
You’re probably aware that the business world isn’t immune to the health revolution. Think about including a healthy dose of vegetables and fresh-pressed juices to your menu and don’t forget those attendees, who enjoy alternative protein options like quinoa and tofu. Similarly, those who watch their waistlines might enjoy bite-sized desserts such as macaroons and miniature cupcakes instead of large servings of traditional desserts.
Include craft beer and local wines
Food and beverages go hand in hand. Other great incentive ideas include incorporating local refreshment options. Coupled with an increasing demand to experience local cuisine, is an appreciation to try products from local wineries and microbreweries. Many conference organisers are requesting event chefs and catering services to include local beverages on their dining menus. Tastings are also an excellent way to encourage less formal networking opportunities at event functions.
Consider Cookery Classes
Take your team building experience to the next level and embrace the fun side of cooking by offering group classes. Learning to cook a local speciality can be challenging, but it also provides attendees with the opportunity to bond and connect over a creative experience.
Chefs are entertainers
Reality TV has made interactive dining experiences the new “in thing”. The presence of a chef preparing and serving meals is a novelty that simultaneously educates and entertains. ‘Chef interactive stations’ manned by chefs is a refreshing way to keep your conference attendees busy at receptions or informal dining settings. Chef-diner interaction also opens up the scope for on-the-go creativity and the creation of personalised menus that are both nutritious and novel.
Staying ahead in the MICE industry is a challenging feat that constantly requires the implementation of incentive ideas. Food innovation is just one facet of the industry that you'll need to constantly reinvent to remain relevant. We recommend downloading our eBook, MICE Trends to Watch in 2017. You’ll gain further knowledge on how tech, going green and foreign location trends are influencing the industry. If you think you’ve got catering covered but need to spice up your location portfolio, then take a look at our breathtaking Calpe Hotels.