New tech and hot dining trends top MPINCC program

New tech and hot dining trends top MPINCC agenda

Went out to the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center for one of their Professional Educational Programs on Wednesday and learned some cool info on some new technology as well as recent F&B trends.

Corbin Ball was truly the rock star of the show, with a morning program on Virtual Meetings and a Luncheon Keynote on how tools like iPads and Smartphones are changing events. He packed in way too much info to cover completely here, but here are some of the snippets that really caught my ear:

Regarding virtual meetings, Ball mentioned several factors motivating planners to use them: lower costs, less hassle, convenience, time-saving and environmental factors. But he also emphasized how the power of face-to-face meetings is still very strong.

“I always say there’s no such thing as a virtual beer,” he joked to the laughing attendees.

Ball also recommended planners look into the recently developed WebEx iPad app, essentially offering the key elements of their online meeting tool for mobile devices. He also mentioned join.me as an interesting free platform for screen-sharing, chat, file sharing and other online meeting features. And in a similar vein, Ball listed shareflow and googledocs as online collaboration tools worth a possible look.

As for apps/mobile devices at meetings, Ball anticipated the imminent explosion of apps being created for specific large events, which can provide instant info on anything from agendas to floor plans to instant polling. He also mentioned emarketing360.com’s amazing app for hotels, which guests can use to request wake-up calls, order room service in advance, and even employ as a door key or TV remote.

Another workshop, ‘Food & Beverage Trends in the New Economy,’ featured Executive Chef David Hollands of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis chatting about current waves with food and drink at events.

A show of hands revealed that planners who’ve worked directly with a head chef when planning a dinner event have unanimously found it to be an invaluable experience. Hollands also opined that ‘themed events’ are almost always more costly as hosts “really need to go all the way” with décor and atmosphere.

Asked his most unusual recent request, Hollands mentioned a “very very famous lady with dogs” who brought detailed recipes concerning what her pooches should be served—and silver dishes they had to be served from.

Regarding trends with just about everyone’s favorite part of a meal—the dessert—Hollands mentioned ‘alternating desserts’ is a nice trend as it leads to sharing; and he also had good news regarding a recent favorite sweet treat.

“I don’t think cupcakes will ever go away,” Hollands remarked.

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