Meetings & Events

What Event Planners Can Learn from Ancient Rome?

The culinary world seems to discover a new dining trend every five minutes, but when it comes down to it, banquets haven’t changed all that much. There might be some inspiration and ideas event planners can learn from ancient Rome. I recently read this very entertaining and informative piece about history’s ten greatest banquets, and I was struck by what they had in common, all the way back to the days of Nero. They were once-in-a-lifetime events full of entertainment and surprise. They were opportunities for people to show off their wealth. But most importantly, whether it was dormice sprinkled with…

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How to Diversify the Plate While Respecting the Palate

Like most event planners, I read a lot of restaurant menus. I like to keep in touch with trends and ways to diversify the plate while respecting the palate. One thing that continues to surprise me is just how similar they are. At both down-home joints and white-tablecloth establishments, Americans seem to be interested in a narrow choice of meats. We will eat any part of the chicken, but most restaurants focus on the breast. When it comes to beef, we eat about half the cow, but only about 10 percent (e.g., strip loin, tenderloin, sirloin, and rib eye) ends…

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Brazil Eventos & Transparency

As an international speaker and Food & Beverage expert, I’ve found at least one universal truth – allergies are present in all countries and, therefore, a place must be set at the table for attendee safety and trust. I speak on a number of topics when I travel, including legislation and legality of meetings, efficient food and beverage budgeting, custom eater menu planning, and more. Next week I’ll be in Brazil discussing important food trends from around the world and how to seamlessly incorporate these exciting trends into your meetings and events for an experience your attendees will devour. I’ve…

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Going Alcohol-Free for Your Next Big Event

We think of alcohol as vital for evening events, and in most cases, it probably is. It lubricates conversation and helps many people relax. But I wanted to share this recent New York Times article that inspired me to shake things up and consider going alcohol-free at my next event. “Shine” is a networking and dating event founded in Venice Beach, CA, and that recently expanded to New York City, which is notable in that no alcohol is served. Participants drink tea, juice and mocktails and eat delicious, healthy, mostly vegan meals. It results in sparkling conversation that isn’t dulled…

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Eating Communally

The Power of Eating Communally

Can Eating Communally Positively Impact Events? When we think about food at conferences, most of the talk is about logistics: How do I serve 500 people while the keynote speaker is talking? How many drink tickets can we afford to give away for free before charging? What meat will most of our attendees eat? Don’t get me wrong, this type of problem-solving is vital. If you can’t feed your attendees, you’ll have riots in the ballroom. But here’s the thing: We see meals as part of the structure, not the content of the meeting, in other words, what happens when…

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Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho Ingredients

Do you Know What Ingredients You Need to Create a Safe Food Event?

An Analysis of the Ingredients Used for an Event Earlier this year, I attended a meetings industry conference where I was hired to give two presentations on how to manage dietary requests at meetings and events. The challenges with managing dietary needs can be confusing, frustrating and never ending. We already have a lot on our to do list, so adding a few more ingredients might seem annoying. However, I see those ingredients as opportunities to make attendees feel safe, valued and confident in their experience. I commend the organization for taking steps to meet the needs of their more than 2,000 attendees…

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Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Golf & Spa Resort

3 Nights in Cabo with the DMC Network

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at the inaugural DMC Network Exchange event held at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. What an amazing experience! Who knew that the desert can go all the way to the ocean – crazy gorgeous. For two days and three nights, the staff at Terramar, one of the DMC Networks members, delivered unparalleled service with their creativity and skill in managing events for groups coming to the area, even with an impending hurricane threatening to dampen the trip. Let’s not focus on that. A few highlights from the event, especially the food.…

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50 Year Marine Corps Basic School Graduation Celebration

Last month, I had the honor and privilege to plan and execute the 50th reunion for my father’s US Marine Corps basic school class. We had 113 retired Marines and their spouses for three days of fun and camaraderie in Quantico, Virginia and Washington, DC. This was a very interesting group to plan for. Some of the initial planning obstacles included: • Generational differences, such as whether to email, call or snail mail? • Activity timelines • Special needs accommodations • Food allergies, celiac disease and dementia • Transportation management From the first call last year to the last goodbye after the reunion, I fell…

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5 Simple Ways to Help You Save Money on F&B

Tracy recently spoke with Meetings and Conventions magazine on how to negotiate a hotel contract in a seller’s market. Of the 12 tips “for getting what your group really needs” in the article, the three tips she provided were focused on food and beverage spend: [list icon=”icon: check-square-o” icon_color=”#d81c5c”] Custom-build your menus — work with your chefs directly Work the food angle to offset costs — “gang” menus with other groups Group events together — commingle groups to reduce duplication [/list] More from Tracy: There are few more ways I’d like to potentially help you save money on food and beverage at your next event while…

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M&C Cover Image - Top 25 Women

Tracy Stuckrath Named Among Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry

Yesterday I was honored and humbled to be named one of the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meetings & Conventions magazine. Wow! In its special report released on July 1, 2015, the magazine stated “the meetings industry is powered by a number of extraordinary people — many of them women.”  The inaugural list of “high achievers, advocates and innovators…have helped shape and strengthen our business.” Several woman on the list, I am happy to say are my friends — Shawna Suckow, founder of the Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) and The Hive Network, Nancy Zavada, CMP, founder of MeetGreen and the Green Meetings Industry Council, Liz King,…

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