5 Ways to Add Local Inspiration to Your Event

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Palm Beach artist Carol Calicchio

Attendees are seeking a sense of place when they travel to a meeting, and adding locally inspired experiences, F&B and gifts has become standard.

Here are some sources for local inspiration, from Prevue’s free downloadable white paper, Locally Inspired Event Design.

Incorporate Local Experiences

CVBs often promote tours that immerse participants in the local culture, which may include everything from microbrewery tours to glass blowing demonstrations to wild food foraging. If the timing is right, have your group participate in a free citywide event—an art walk or music festival, for instance—providing entertainment at little or no cost. Many hotels also have a roster of classes and activities with a local flavor, everything from yoga at sunrise to sand sculpting on the beach.

Farm-to-Fork, Of Course

Ask the chef about ingredients found closer to home, whether from a hydroponic vegetable garden that features “pick-to-plate” ingredients, from the hotel’s very own farm, or from local growers. Choosing food in season is one of the easiest ways to make an F&B function healthier and more environmentally friendly. Not only will the produce be fresher, but it is also a great way to incorporate the flavor of the region into your event. It also minimizes the transportation impact on the environment.

Use Local Entertainment

Using local talent for entertainment can save money while also bringing fun, a wow factor and a relevant cultural connection to the group, advises Sherri K. Lindenberg, senior vice president, Crump Life Insurance Services, suggests reaching out to area theater directors at schools and community arts venues for access to high-quality performers and entertainers, who can often be secured for nominal donations rather than fees.

Include Local Art

Performance artists can add another dimension to a networking reception or kick off a general session, and the finished piece can be donated to a charity. Or consider selling local art during a reception: At Prevue’s Inspired Events Summit in Palm Beach, we decorated the meeting space at The Ben with fabulous paintings by artist Carol Calicchio, then had her join a lunchtime marketplace that included other local vendors and artists.

Source Gifts Locally

Gone are the days of impersonal corporate gifts; instead, seek out items made by local artists or where a portion of the sale goes to a worthy cause. At the Prevue summit in Houston, a city known for its leather goods and boots, we worked with a local artisan leather retailer to create an on-site shopping experience, and each attendee received a buttery leather travel pouch.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.