Human beings tend to be creatures of habit. Event planners, who need to be open and creative when it comes to building great events, can get stuck in a rut. I know I do. Okay, I confess. I'll go to my favorite restaurants, year after year and order the same dishes. There's really nothing wrong with that but by sticking with the familiar and the comfortable, one may be closing themselves off to other opportunities.
Occasionally, something happens that shows you that there are other possibilities. It's an invitation to be open, think out-of-the-box, and explore more options instead of always locking into the same solutions.
It's been happening to me a lot lately. For example, my aunt passed away on Sunday while I was in Mexico. When I got back I had one day to make travel arrangements. I checked with my preferred airline and another Canadian carrier. Fares were high. Then while speaking with a business colleague, without telling me, she did a quick search on a U.S. carrier. I could get round trip direct flight at less than a one-way flight on the airlines I had checked.
Airlines: After a while, we all become comfortable with certain carriers that offer value and top customer service but our usual choice may not be the only way. Take some time to explore what other carriers have to offer. You may just be surprised that there is an opportunity for significant savings.
Catering: Chicken, beef, and salmon are popular options. By sticking with these choices, after a while, all events can start to look the same. This is happening with slider bars. At some trade shows, almost all of the private events serve sliders. They became mundane after a while. Other menu options to consider include:
- Salads and Vegetables: Use local vegetables and even lentils to serve fresh and exciting dishes. This salad has 7 lentils.
- Poultry: Try turkey, duck or Cornish hen instead of chicken.
- Meat: Lamb, rabbit, and even goat or oxtail may be appreciated by some guests.
- Fish: I recently attended a luncheon where marlin was served. It was delicious and actually tasted like meat. Other options to consider include cod, red snapper, and kingfish.
- Slider Substitutes: Try ostrich or bison for sliders or replace sliders with mini-tacos, pita pockets, cocktail patties (beef, children, veggie), or meatballs (assorted chicken, beef, and veal)
Resorts: When heading to the sunbelt, beach resorts are often the default position. There is nothing wrong with that but there may be other venues that will be even more magical for your guests. Sometimes, clients don't explore other options because they have never tried them.
Experiment with mountain retreats, lakeside resorts, riverside hotels, ryokans in Japan, haciendas in Mexico, and resorts with extensive gardens, waterfalls, or hot springs. (The photo at the top of the page is of a Holiday Inn in Cuernavaca, Mexico with extensive gardens.) Boutique hotels and historical inns can also have their special charm and offer more personalized service.
By becoming open to more possibilities, you might just discover some hidden gems and incredible experiences at a fraction of the cost.
For more ideas check out 8 Ways to Discover the Magic of a Destination.
Photo Credits: Anne Thornley-Brown