Meeting Newz Septeber / October 2022

WHAT'S HOT IN EVENTS RIGHT NOW says Drucker. “Look at who is actually attending to make sure that the entertainment is the right fit for everyone.” Ryburn says a good entertainer will keep an audience buzzing for weeks to come, and they are a perfect way to shape the experience of an event. “The key to success is knowing your audience and what engages them. When providing entertainment options to our clients, we ask them how they want their audience to feel and react, so that we can match them with an unforgettable performer that their audience will love,” she says. Food and beverage A fed guest is a happy guest, and oftentimes people are talking about the food at an event for weeks afterwards – in good ways and bad. Dietary requirements are commonplace at events these days – from Halal, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian... and while it’s good to offer a range of options it’s important to know who you're catering for. “There's no point having a vegan or gluten free option if no one at the event is going to eat it. And likewise, if half your guest list is vegan, going for a spit roast meal isn’t necessarily going to be the best choice,” says Drucker. “There is still the expectation from some that a good Christmas meal involves three veg, meat and potatoes. So, it's all about catering for the guests to the best of your abilities, and finding a happy medium.” Sustainability Sustainability is a big-ticket item for most businesses these days, and they’ll want to work with suppliers and venues that meet their sustainability requirements. “Having an environmental sustainability plan with practices in place is a must for event organisers,” says Ryburn. “Businesses need to align their activities with their Corporate Sustainability Plan.” People Having the right staff in the planning of an event as well as those working the event can make a huge difference to how an event plays out. “One of the biggest impacts everyone is feeling from Covid is that we don’t have the same staffing pool that we once had,” says Drucker. “We are in a service-based industry, and we all want to deliver a great experience for everybody walking through an event. It doesn't matter if you're making cocktails or delivering a team building session or it's a big, beautifully themed event, we all need people to make that happen.” Diversity From staff to entertainment, having a range of people from different backgrounds and new types of activities can make an event stand out. Using Te Reo and celebrating our Māori culture can make an event meaningful to guests. “We are seeing requests for Te Reo speaking MCs more and more,” says Clarke. “Luckily, we have some extraordinary talent on our books who are comfortable with supporting clients with writing a mihi whakatau and sharing how to bring traditional values of tikanga Māori into conferences and events.” Clarke says diversity in events is crucial to gain valuable insights and perspectives. “Hiring diverse speakers, delivering inclusive content that resonates with the people in your audience and using inclusive language throughout are a few ways to have representation and inclusion of diverse communities at your events.” Covid Covid no doubt threw a huge spanner in the works. Events of all shapes and sizes were altered, postponed, and cancelled as the restrictions around Covid alert level settings constantly changed. “There are so many ways that you can hold an event to engage and support the people in your business. Covid forced us to think outside the box,” adds Ryburn. “We think in-person events are by far the preferred choice, however love that virtual and hybrid events are now an option and mean events can be packaged up in so many different ways, it allows for so many options and unique ways of doing things.” Covid has changed the way events are organised, with some changes here to stay for good. “The way the food service has had to adapt is something we don't see changing. People are looking more at the way those things are done, especially in a corporate environment.” Rebecca Clarke says people are looking for a laugh. “As the events world started to open up, we have seen an unusually large number of requests for comedians,” she says. Showing you support your staff is crucial, especially after a rough couple of years with Covid. “Our clients want to both celebrate and support their valued people who have faced a lot of change and challenges. Our most in-demand talent (by far) are our mental health and resilience speakers who are delivering helpful workshops to provide wellbeing strategies, as well as our amazing celebrity MCs who bring the wow factor to any event." END OF YEAR CE LEBRAT I ONS] Louise Ryburn, Celebrity Speakers Meredith Drucker, The Events Group Rebecca Clarke, Johnson & Laird meeting newz [sept oct] 2022 [43]