Exceptional food or a great atmosphere – what do event guests really want?
The question of food vs atmosphere at your next event may be comparable to the debate of what came first – the chicken or the egg.
Those who want delegates to stay at an event longer will suggest the atmosphere is a must while the other side of the debate may suggest if you feed them well – it will be a successful function. There is no right answer as every event has its own objective, as do delegates, sponsors and function coordinators, but a balance can be achieved.
What makes a great atmosphere?
You will want to consider all guests at your function from the sponsors to the delegates. What ages will you have in the room and what is the agenda of the event? If you have an awards show that is known to run overtime, consider how you will fill gaps in time between awards, photographs and how you will break up speakers. This provides a wonderful opportunity for breaking up courses in the meal or various entertainment elements.
If your function needs to stay within a strict time frame, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for background music for the whole function. Take into consideration the space you have and the budget available for small entertainment acts that do not require large amounts of equipment to perform. With more complexity in the entertainment – the more installation, transition and removal time will be required.
Will food solve a lack of atmosphere?
There will always be guests who want to ‘get in and get out’ but if an investment has been made to attend an event, there is an interest in networking, or a group is brought together for a celebration…rarely will you lose your guests early. What an amazing menu can provide is an anticipation of what you have coming next whether it is entrees, beverages or everyone’s favourite…dessert. Can you make the food aspect of your event a special event in itself?
If your event is long, however, even the most exceptional menu may not carry your event smoothly. If you prefer to avoid a big entertainment line-up – have you considered your venue, is it unique or an experience for your delegates? If you have decided to keep your delegates in the same venue as the conference – can you dress the room in a way that will transform a standard function space into a destination?
A theme is not always a circus.
There are misconceptions about the importance of a theme in events. When some people think of a theme they wonder if they will be looking at colourful chair covers and props for a Big Top or expected to be in fancy dress.
A theme can be as simple as the purpose of the function such as an awards presentation where the top performer receives a diamond award. This alone can translate to the simplicity of diamonds or the colour of silver from the invitation to centrepiece.
The Conference may be designed around a common theme of words, imagery or colours that could transform a room using the simplicity of draping and table clothes to more technology forward uses of stage sets, projection mapping or backdrops.