6.5: A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
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As the world grows and changes, so do events and how they are run. Each event host has unique needs and requests from the venue to make their event one of a kind. These requests may range from an indoor bounce house or petting zoo to a karaoke happy hour. As people come up with new ideas and new types of events to host, event organizations must remain flexible and work to meet their client's demands.
It is no surprise that in-person meetings use a lot of resources and produce a lot of waste. For this reason, hotels and other event venues are trying to find ways to make their event operations more sustainable.
By becoming more sustainable, these operations can reduce waste and cut down on costs. Hotels and event venues can take steps toward becoming more sustainable including:
- Utilizing china over disposable dishes
- Collecting recyclable materials in separate containers
- Utilizing reusable name tags for attendees
- Offering water in pitchers with glasses rather than disposable bottles or cups
- Buying seasonal, locally sourced ingredients for foodservice
- Merging menus with other clients using the venue on the same day
- Maximizing transportation to minimize repeat trips, reducing emissions
- Reduce paper by offering program information on a digital platform
- Charge groups for wasted food when attendance is over-quoting
Banquets and events should be designed so that anyone interested in attending can take advantage of all the event has to offer. As most hotels already have many accommodations available to their guests, attendees of events in these venues can take advantage of the resources available. Guests with physical disabilities may need assistance getting through the buffet line or ensuring there is sufficient space for their wheelchair or walker. Guests with a hearing impairment may need closed captions or a sign language interpreter during presentations. Guests with visual impairment may need assistance navigating the event space or require a place for their guide dog to sit next to them. Banquet, Set Up, and Catering Sales staff should all be trained to assist guests with disabilities and arrange for any special accommodations that are required.
Diversity & Inclusion
The banquet and set-up departments of any event organization are typically going to be diverse. These areas of the operation will often employ high school and college students and individuals from disadvantaged populations to serve in part-time roles. Upon proving themselves, these individuals are often promoted to leadership positions, ensuring a diverse staff at all levels. Some hotels also offer second chance programs for those formerly incarcerated who have completed rehabilitation programs. Many individuals learn culinary skills while incarcerated. Because of this, hotel events allow them to have a second chance and work in areas such as set-up and banquet operations. In addition to hiring a diverse staff, event venues can encourage their clients to select speakers and entertainers from diverse backgrounds. When event attendees come from other regions, providing a list of local talent can be a great way to represent the diversity of the area. Those interested in becoming event managers can participate in MPI's Inclusion Event Strategist Certification Program to learn more about presenting inclusive events.
As noted above, when events first started taking place typewriters and handwritten contracts were used to do all of the bookings. As technology has advanced so has how events are booked. A lot of events are booked through email or over the phone. This is made easy by having programs like Opera that allow sales managers to look at all banquet and hotel rooms and see what is available and when. This also helps to prevent double-booking a room or promising groups more rooms than what is actually available. It also means it’s easier to make changes to the BEO and get them distributed.
Technology advancements also help when it comes to meetings. More and more often virtual meetings are combined with in-person meetings. Meaning half the group meets in-person, while others call in and watch via programs like Zoom or Skype. By having the technology and ability to project them on screens, everyone is able to attend no matter where they are.
Other ways event managers and hosts can utilize technology:
- Hosting events online can be more efficient and allow individuals anywhere in the world to collaborate in real-time
- Moving online saves paper, from digital contracts to providing event details on a mobile app to eliminating the need for printed signage at in-person events
- Digital events allow for instant feedback during the event, from interactive mobile apps to digital session surveys
- Event venues may offer an app for meeting planners to request services such as changes to the thermostat, additional beverages, trash pick up, etc.
- Attendee apps extend beyond providing event details to allow for networking between attendees