Event News: Holiday parties are back on, social media is still popular and Los Angeles caviar has a new flair

IMG 4931 300x199 Event News: Holiday parties are back on, social media is still popular and Los Angeles caviar has a new flairThe holiday season is officially in motion with the celebration of Thanksgiving ending and Christmas music playing on the radio. While some may be looking forward to a couple weeks off work the event industry is busier than ever, from corporate parties to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Regarding the holidays: According to an article from BizBash, holiday corporate parties are on the rise again, thanks to a more stable economy. However, over-the-top events are going out of style as many businesses focus on community and charity rather than topping the flashiest event.

Social Media: Use of social media in the event industry has nearly doubled within a two-year time frame according to a recent world-wide survey by the Site International Foundation. BizBash just wrote about Moment Studio, a “newsroom” used to create Facebook posts that go viral based on real-time online happenings. Pepsi is one of the first companies to jump on this train.

Keeping it local: Earlier this year Sprinkles Cupcake made headlines with their bright pink ATM machine at their Beverly Hills location. Following in the “order-to-go” trend is Beverly Hills Caviar, offering their dishes in vending machines.  A couple weeks ago we touched on the extravagant premiere parties and preparations made for the Breaking Dawn screenings… here’s what happened.

Thanksgiving Party Ideas

244390717249190813 HTTWprB3 c Thanksgiving Party Ideas Before you start busting out the Christmas music and brace yourselves for Black Friday insanity there comes a day of thankfulness, family and friends, and more than anything else, food.

Whether you are planning a formal dinner for every family member you have or hosting a small get-together with friends, there are tons of fun and creative ways to be the perfect host (or hostess) and make next Thursday one for the books.

Greet your guests with a Thanksgiving tree and have them write a couple things they are thankful for on paper leaves to hang Christmas-tree style. After everyone is in a food coma you can gather the leaves and read a few. Sound cheesy? Maybe, but it beats the standard “everyone go around and say one thing [thattakes10minutestosay] they are thankful for.”

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The Simply Vintage Tree blog shows a creative way to make your tree.

Thanksgiving Dinner can be as simple or elaborate as the host wants. Fairplex executive chef David Teig gave us one of his favorite holiday recipes for those of you who want to try it out:

Grandma Carol’s Cornbread Pecan Stuffing

  • 2 lb. cornbread
  • 12 oz. 1”diced fennel
  • 12 oz. 1” diced onion
  • 3 oz. chopped garlic
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups toasted pecans
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup ground fennel seed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dice cornbread into 1.5” cubes.  Sweat fennel, onion and Garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Mix cornbread with fennel, onion, and garlic.  Mix in remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stuff in turkey and Roast or put in medium roasting pan and bake covered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

For the munchies: For a fun snack try creating turkeys using Oreos, candy corn, mini-Reese’s peanut butter cups and other candy. From personal experience I can vouch that these babies meet your sugar fix and then some. Ourbestbites.com has a great recipe for this:

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Let’s talk decorating. Every set-up is different but Thanksgiving usually involves sitting around a table covered in food at some point.

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  • To create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, try lighting different types of candles. Opt for glass or patterned jars filled with almonds, pinecones, sand and other textures.
  • Choose your centerpiece, whether it’s the beautifully dressed turkey or an elaborate piece of decor.
  • Miniature pumpkins, pine cones and scattered autumn leaves creates an outdoorsy fall look.
  • Clinking glasses of wine, plates of food being devoured, the sound of Turkey Day football in the background, chatter and banter across the table… you know your guests and the atmosphere that will suit them best. The decorations are the backdrop of that, not the centerpiece.

At the end of the day, whether you’re running an event center or hosting at home it is all about your guests. Delicious food, good conversation, a glass of wine, tasty desserts and maybe a little bit of chaos and you have yourself a Thanksgiving party. Just remember to be a gracious host and leave room to relax a bit yourself.

And whatever you do, make sure you’re not like Marney.

Happy Thanksgiving from Fairplex!


Tis’ the season!

IMG 4913 300x200 Tis the season!It seems that as soon as the skeletons get put back in the closet, the holiday season explodes in the malls, Disneyland, Walmart and yes… here at Fairplex as well.

Preparations are well under way to welcome in Santa, “snow” and holiday parties both at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center as well as on grounds. What was once a massive playground of rides, games and food is being transformed into a winter wonderland. Every year the creative team outdoes themselves in decorating our spacious exhibit halls and the hotel into festive, wintery venues of holiday cheer. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what we have going:

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Bins of holiday decor await their fate

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Bins of holiday decor await their fate

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Which tree will these ornaments go on?

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Frosty the Snowman -- minus the face, hat, scarf and arms... and buttons

IMG 49557 300x200 Tis the season!I can’t wait to take a full tour of the grounds and show you exactly what is going on behind all the closed doors. Just walking through the Tapestry building, with the creative team bustling with their preparations, a Michael Buble Christmas tune in the air and dozens upon dozen of decorations filling every nook and cranny, it’s hard not to get in the holiday spirit.

Looking forward to what Fairplex will look like in December!

Event News: Cvent makes life easier, Hurricane Sandy hotel aftermath and Election Events

As President Obama begins his second term at the White House, efforts to repair damages from Hurricane Sandy continue and life in the event industry goes on.

Technology: Event planners will benefit most from the improvements made by Cvent, the largest cloud-based event management platform. On Monday the company announced the launch of more than 100 enhancements to their technology including integration into mobile devices. Upgrades include the ability to manage multiple schedules and integrate real-time data, databases and other systems with Cvent.

Hurricane Sandy Update: According to an article from Hospitality Net, many hoteliers on the East Coast will not recover from lost revenue. Little if any of the costs of damages can be reclaimed through insurance claims. Those in the New York hotel business are still weighing out the losses vs gains with cancelled flights leading to more hotel bookings while at the same time dealing with many cancelled business events, including holiday festivities.

Election Events: McCormick Place had a field day earlier this month with President Obama’s campaign choosing to set up shop at the convention center. Between hosting the President, preparing for a crowd of 15,000 for one night and juggling several executive sales meetings, a large annual conference and other events the event facility was booked and came out with flying colors. Likewise, the Boston Convention Center opened their doors to former governor Mitt Romney, thousands of media and even more supporters. They executed a flawless technological circus act as they became the focus of millions.

Three Helpful Tips for Booking Entertainment

Every year guests look forward to the concerts and live performances at the L.A. County Fair.

There is a lot that goes into choosing the entertainment. The selection process includes themes of the Fair, uniqueness of act, pricing, availability, and logistics.  Most stages and attraction areas are themed or take a specific direction so the entertainment needs to fit.

Whether it’s a one-day event or a month-long extravaganza, there are several important factors to keep in mind when scouting for entertainment. Fairplex entertainment & attractions supervisor Christy Enderle stopped by and gave us some of her best tips:

1. Always be on the lookout. You never know where the next big thing is going to be. Sometimes it comes from an EP from an unknown band. Sometimes it’s when you’re at the local bar with your friends on a Friday night. Sometimes it’s at another event.

2. Know your audience. When deciding the entertainment for the L.A. County Fair, Christy chose groups that would appeal to every audience. Radio Disney up-and-coming favorites, Earth Wind & Fire, The Wanted, Journey and Queen cover bands and multiple other acts were included in the 2012 line-up.

3. Do your research. The first step in any of these situations is to get a promotional packet on the group, which includes video or CD, photos, description of the act, their website and their daily rate. Knowing exactly what you are receiving will prepare you as negotiations and contracts begin.

At the end of the day, entertainment is for the audience. Keeping their preferences and personalities will help you to fine-tune your ears (and eyes!) to what to look for.


Event News: Election 2012, Hurricane Sandy, Event Apps and Twihards

This has been a huge week for the United States. Between the effects of Hurricane Sandy and today’s election there is more than enough going on in the nation. As for the event industry:

Hurricane Sandy: Many events on the East Coast were cancelled at the end of last week/beginning of the week due to damage at host venues and the impact the storm had on vendors. Events included the ING New York Marathon and several galas. Read the article from BizBash for more information.

Election: Election Day 2012 has arrived and many eyes will be glued to television screens as we wait to hear who will serve as President for the next four years. On the event planning side, Chicago and Boston are prepared for election-night while those who hosted presidential rallies in other states can finally take a breather after months of rushed, yet well-organized events.

Entertainment: The final installment of the Twilight Saga films, “Breaking Dawn Part II” premieres next weekend (November 16) but fans in Los Angeles are already prepared for the Nov. 12 screening and after party. Only 2,000 (selected via lottery) will be allowed to hunker down for the five-day campout.  The publicity is great and this week-long event should be a memorable one for the fans.

Technology: Event Manager Blog released a list of 10 new start up companies that can benefit the event industry and make planning and running events simpler.

How Hurricane Sandy is Affecting the East Coast Event Industry

hurricane sandy 2381667b 300x187 How Hurricane Sandy is Affecting the East Coast Event Industry

Photo taken from Telegraph UK

BizBash is currently operating a live blog with updates on how Sandy is impacting the events industry on the East Coast as well as the general state of things in New York and New Jersey.

All entries have been an excellent source of insight into both immediate (working with vendors, changing venues, monetary loss) and long-term consequences (loss of business, loss of venues) of the storm.

Our thoughts truly go out to all on the East Coast being affected by Hurricane Sandy.

From Biz Bash: Facebook Tops Twitter, Economy Looking Up, Green Planning Important

collectionitemimage 6403 300x200 From Biz Bash: Facebook Tops Twitter, Economy Looking Up, Green Planning Important

Photo taken from BizBash.com

Guests in bathrobes. Plate stealers. Kentucky Derby mud rollers (yes, you read that right). In the event industry you’re guaranteed to see it all.

BizBash polled over 40 meeting and event professionals their annual IdeaFest (New York) about their take on the economic state of the event industry, trends for next year and some of their craziest stories.

Some of their findings:

In one word, describe how you think the state of the event industry will change in 2013.
“More social.”

Which social media platform do you use most to promote your events?
Facebook: 61.4%
Twitter: 15.9%
Google+: 0%
Instagram: 0%
LinkedIn: 0%
Don’t use social media: 2.7%

Who would you rather plan an event for?
Barack Obama: 16%
Mitt Romney: 6.8%
Michelle Obama: 68.2%
Ann Romney: 9%

Which digital technology will you use more next year?
Apps: 34%
Digital mapping: 2.2%
Live streaming: 16%
Social media aggregators (and more use of social media in general): 48%

The rest of their findings are available here. It will be interesting to see how many of these trend predictions will play out… in the meantime we will be asking ourselves which presidential candidate we would want to host an event for.

Would You Bizzabo?

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Photo taken from Crunchbase.com

Events 101: It’s all about the guests.

You want to communicate information effectively and get the conversation going. For the business events industry, Bizzabo* (2011), does just that.

For business event planners, the Bizzabo app allows you to integrate event schedules and important info (updates, discounts, opportunities etc) of your event with minimum effort.

Each guest is connected when they sync their LinkedIn profiles with the app. Attendees can scroll their screen to find the people they want to meet. There’s a messaging feature for direct communication.

The beauty of this app is it does all the work for you. As a business event planner, you only need to upload the logistics and update information as it changes and guests will be informed. The guests themselves can initiate their own networking via the app.

The challenge is to let all attendees know about the app initially. Furthermore, if guests do not have a smart phone (although it’s becoming a rarity) they are at a disadvantage.

At the end of the day, it’s still about the people. So, would you or wouldn’t you Bizzabo? Let us know in the comments section.

*You can read reviews of the app here.

Facebook Marketing: Dead or Alive?

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Is it game over for Facebook's marketing useage? (Photo taken from FreshAesthetics.com)

It’s not like Facebook is deemed stabbed to death in the event industry but is it the best option for sharing content?

Communicating to your audience/public via social media is key to getting your message out there.

The question lies in which platform is the most effective. Eventbrite released an infographic showing the effectiveness of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for their events.

Turns out that while Twitter generates the most visits per shares, it is Facebook that brings home the bacon, as far as revenues per share goes.

That being said, is Facebook marketing still effective? Are people still reading content, visiting the company web page and most importantly, processing and remembering what they have seen? BusyEvent‘s director of social marketing, Nicci Anderson gave her opinion on the subject as well as some helpful tips on what NOT to do when using Facebook as a marketing tool. (Tips include knowing when your “sharing” of content turns into an overload resembling spam.)

Check out the article on Liz King Events.