Gluten-Free & Other Popular Planner Requests

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F&B, meetings
Attendees are increasingly mindful about what they eat and drink when they are on the road.

With 40 properties, Benchmark Hospitality is in a position to take the pulse of the meeting planning industry based on the ever-evolving requests of its clients. Here are 5 that have been popular in recent months:

1. Meeting Pops-Ups. Requests are up for pop-up meeting rooms that can be assembled or moved at a moment’s notice, used for small, last-minute gatherings or just as a place to hang out in between sessions.
2. Teambuilding. Suddenly there is room in meeting budgets once again for creative  teambuilding, and properties are partnering with professional teambuilding companies to design programs such as “Escape from the Office” and “Chef’s Challenge” for their events.
3. Flexible CMPs. The CMP where one size fits all has evolved into meeting packages individually created to meet groups’ specific needs. The wild card with crafting customized packages is often F&B, with planners looking to experience the culinary highlights of the destination by partnering with local restaurants and culinary suppliers, such artisanal purveyors, whiskey distilleries or craft breweries.
4. Wellness Elements. There’s an increased focusing on the whole person—the mind, body and spirit. Attendees want to immerse themselves in the destinations they are visiting. Planners are providing mind-clearing moments of Zen with the aid of spa & wellness professionals, and a focus on mindfulness utilizing specially created meditation alcoves and tranquil outdoor settings.
5. Gluten-free Options. The top dietary request among is for gluten-free options, followed by vegan meals and low-calorie diets. Conferees hitting the fitness center every day are interested in healthful living at home and on the road, and are and mindful of what they put in their bodies like never before.

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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.