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Changing Face Of Event Hospitality Industry In A Virtual World

While the live events sector is still seeing long closure cycles from their clients and hope to open till the next event season, there is an unassuming shift towards virtual culinary experiences.

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2020 bought an unsettling change to the entire Event Industry and gave rise to Virtual Events. With the pandemic changing the overall lifecycle and economics of the live events industry, virtual events kept the audience hooked through virtual platforms. While the Larger Event Companies who adapted saw a new revenue stream to their live events in the future.

In a broader view, we still believe Virtual Events is a 'category' in itself and should be growing especially considering the minimal incremental cost of adding more viewers to a virtual platform vis-a-vis a Live Event Venue. However, the excessive use of medium can make the medium experience boring and monotonous after a point in time – and that seems to be a true reality with the solely focused view towards Virtual Events.

Last 11 months, the industry has seen a plethora of virtual events across industry breeding a new age of "Zoom-o-phobic" consumers, who are just done with just seeing and looking for that extra spice of an "experience". Event Managers are struggling to keep the audience hooked on to a virtual screen for over 3-6 hours.

With this rising dissent, the time is ripe for disruption through more engaging and "Hands-on" experiential activities which sum up the definition of experiential marketing, in its true senses.

Imagine setting a Guided Gourmet Cheese Platter, Cooking up your next excellent recipe with your family and friends to being served with unique gifting platters to enhance and add a layer of touch & feel to the virtual events space.

While the live events sector is still seeing long closure cycles from their clients and hope to open till the next event season, there is an unassuming shift towards virtual culinary experiences.

Hospitality Companies, along with Chefs, Mixologists and other people in the Food & Beverage community should be working very closely with Event Managers in the coming months to explore newer ideas to merge "brands” with unique hospitality experiences.

Some of the potential areas of collaboration that we have been executing as part of our event mandates off late, which even the Events & Hospitality Industry at large can leverage and apply in their respective trades include -

1) "DIY (Do it yourself) Style Recipe Meal/Cocktail Premix Kits" Experience

Imagine the complex process of making a Healthy Butter Chicken or Penne Arabiatta being reduced to simple 3 steps.

Vegetables cut fresh, Pasta boiled to Al dente perfection and sauces sent separately, delivered fresh to client location within a duration of 3 hours prior to the session.

This is followed by a celebrity chef coming live on the virtual event platform and do a Live Culinary Session, where all participants get to prepare and eat the final produce, instead of just viewing it as part of the event.

During one of the briefs, we recently executed a similar activity for an employee engagement activity for a large Internet Industry client, where they wanted to curate something engaging for their Online Sales Team comprising of 200 people in Delhi NCR.

This is where you not only get a chance of doing a “fun” engaging activity but also, can create a brand collaboration or unique sponsorship opportunities with respect to every ingredient going inside the box.

2) Kids Engagement Sessions 

While India has seen the IP Business to surge, there are quite a few new IP's coming around the Kids and Student Community backed by recent Toy Fair launched by PM Modi. Doing innovative sessions like Cup-cake decoration, chocolate moulding classes can be a great engagement activity where new food and toy brands can be positioned along with the kids learning something new in the process.

3) Experiential food gifting  

While Outdoor Catering is still facing the brunt of COVID-19 with gathering restrictions, the new norm of survival for existing and new Caterers seems to switch and utilize their set of skilled Maharaj's along with their Chefs to come with Luxury Mithai and Savoury Gift Boxes.

Red Velvet Ladoo, Blueberry Compute Burfi, Dark Belgian Chocolate Truffle Stuffed Ganache in Besan Ladoo - all are a reality now!

What would an Employee family day or an Awards Ceremony be without excellent Culinary experiences? What if we could cater best delicacies of the Country to them at the the comfort of their home?

The entire experience of unboxing heavenly sweets and savouries in tune with excellent branding of each content items artistically can add that extra delight to every household it goes to.

4) Unlock the Conniesior in You 

Online Sessions like Wine, Cocktail, Chocolate or Coffee Appreciation sessions to explore the history and interests of your diverse audience as fillers in between sessions through “Virtual breakaway” rooms to lighten up the conferences/exhibitions. It can be a good ice breaker. These initiatives act more as an unassuming "open networking” avenue for the participants which is what most virtual attendees feel during business or Industry-led events is missing.

Like the Industry Experts, we believe that Virtual Events will not only be a big category but also, become a source of an additional revenue for Hybrid events - it’s imperative for Event Management Companies and Branding Agencies to incorporate new avenues of brand engagement with their customers or employees.

What better alternative can be there than adding experiences with Food? Which please the palate, eye and stomach, all three simultaneously.

We fundamentally believe such cosmetic experiences will add massive flavour to the new generation of 'Virtual Experience Enthusiasts' paving way for both Event Companies and Food Service Companies to create a win-win partnership creating immense value for the end consumer.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


Tags assigned to this article:
event hospitality Catering Virtual events Knight Gourmet

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