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Eventful News: The Future of F&B, Trouble With Travel, & Why Hotels Can’t Hire

This week’s stories span some of the many facets of the attendee experience — paying heed to the fact that each singular event is in itself a complex puzzle of elements. F&B, travel, the hotel stay, global destinations… it’s all on the menu for this September 12th edition of Eventful News. 

Five Must-Read Event News Updates to Fuel Your Week

1. Anuga to Showcase Global Food Trends of Today & Tomorrow (Food Business News)


The second iteration of the Anuga fair, organized by Germany’s specialist food retailers, will take place October 5-9. The fair will host over 7,400 exhibitors in food and culinary technology from close to 200 different countries. The show is separated into ten themed areas, each representing a different area of F&B focus. 

In 2018, 58% of all new introductions with an organic seal occurred in Europe and 22% were introduced in North America. The fastest-growing category is snacks, with an average annual growth of 18.6% from 2014 to 2018. At Anuga Organic and the Anuga Organic Market, trade visitors will find a wide range of organic products.” -Donna Berry, Food Business News

What does it mean for planners?

According to Food Business News, nine food trends in particular will be on prominent display at this year’s show.  

  1. Free-from products: Gluten-free, vegan, and more
  2. Halal products: Food that follows Islamic dietary rules in regards to preparation
  3. Kosher products: Food that follows Jewish dietary rules in regards to preparation
  4. Non-GMO food: This category has grown 14% since 2014
  5. Organic products: The fastest growing category is organic snacks, which have seen 19% growth between 2014 and 2018
  6. Products with protected designation of origin: Regionally produced foods, which are considered more trustworthy by many consumers
  7. Ready-to-eat foods: Convenient and healthy meals and snacks
  8. Superfoods: Highly nutritious foods which incorporate nutrient-dense ingredients
  9. Fair trade products: This category saw 6% growth annually between 2014 and 2018

What’s next?

These nine trends represent areas of F&B that are poised to see continued, strong growth over the next year and beyond. Event planners should look to these themes in determining F&B menus, incorporating them where possible. 

Perhaps the largest category within these trends is healthier food options, which along with locally sourced foods and organically sourced ingredients have seen a robust increase in popularity in recent years.

Further Reading: 8 F&B Trends Planners Need to Know Now

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2. New Research Uncovers Current Trends Affecting the Business Travel Industry (GBTA)


A new survey of corporate travel buyers from the Global Business Travel Association and Cvent has revealed three major themes that will impact global business travel in 2020 and beyond. In addition to the three key takeaways discussed below, the report shows a shift from travel toward procurement, an increased focus on traveler safety, and difficulties in technological implementation for corporate buyers.

The research suggests that buyers may be relying too much on technology to be the change agent versus making strategic choices to act, rather than react, in the face of change.” -Scott Solombrino, GBTA Executive Director

What does it mean for planners?

Planners should be aware of the following highlights from the report, which may affect how they work with corporate travel buyers:

Millennials run the show – Over 40% of the traveling workforce is made up of millennials, who a majority of travel buyers agree tend to push the boundaries of corporate travel policy. They also demand different, more consumer-like tools out company travel programs.

Tech impacts process, but not policy changes – Seven in ten travel buyers say they expect to spend more time evaluating and implementing new technology in the coming year. Meanwhile, 73% say that new technological developments are significantly impacting their roles.

Technology is innovating rapidly, while integration is lagging – 57% of buyers report tech integration as one of their top three priorities when selecting vendors for a travel management company. However, only 36% of buyers with meetings management technology say that it’s integrated with their online booking tool.

What’s next?

With buyers relying on technology to be the change catalyst, it could mean that they’re lagging behind the current expectations of consumers. The reliance on technology to help meet consumer demands may ultimately keep buyers from making strategic decisions in the now that could close the gap sooner — something that would ultimately provide a better experience for planners and travelers alike.

Further Reading: The Travel Buyer of the Future (Infographic)

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3.  The World’s 10 Most Popular Cities Revealed (Travel Pulse)


Mastercard published its Global Destination Cities Index on Wednesday, with data showing that travel demand remains high. In fact, international overnight visitors have increased 76% since 2009, resulting in large economic gains and increased activity in popular cities. The index ranks 200 of those cities around the globe, revealing the ten most popular destinations based on visitor volume and spend.

Bangkok remains the world’s most-visited city after hosting more than 22 million international overnight visitors in 2018. That’s over 3 million more than Paris and London. Still, the destination, which has ranked first six out of the last seven years, shows no signs of slowing as it’s forecasted to grow by 3.34 percent in 2019.” -Patrick Clarke, Travel Pulse

What does it mean for planners?

The top ten stories may correlate heavily with attendee travel desires:

  1. Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Paris, France
  3. London, UK
  4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  5. Singapore
  6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  7. New York, New York
  8. Istanbul, Turkey
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Antalya, Turkey

What’s next?

More and more business travelers are using corporate events as a chance to blend the worlds of business and leisure when they travel. In fact, if attendees like a destination, 79% will either return at a later date or extend their stay. These ten cities offer international meeting planners a short list of destinations that could appeal to the ever-growing “bleisure” segment.

Further Reading: Decision to Attend Study (Destinations International) 

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4. Thriving Hotel Industry Scrambles for Workers (New York Times)


In the United States, more than 2,270 new hotels, motels, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts were added in the United States, bringing the total up to 55,900. With a 66% occupancy rate — the highest since 2005 — the thriving market has made it a struggle for hotels looking to find potential employees for open roles. 

The single greatest challenge facing our industry is filling essential jobs to ensure the quality service and amenities our guests expect and deserve.” -Chip Rogers, Chief Executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association  

What does it mean for planners?

For attendees checking into hotels for their stays, the shortage of employees could mean long lines at the front desk, rooms that aren’t ready for check-in, delayed maintenance, and a hit to onsite dining. This may spell trouble for planners booking room blocks with understaffed hotels, potentially leading to a subpar stay for attendees. 

What’s next?

While there’s a labor shortage now, things may shift as the market responds to economic concerns in the year ahead. If hotel performance tapers due to backlash from global economic volatility — driven by a potential trade war with China and a forecasted slowdown in bookings for 2020 — the hit to occupancy rates and group bookings will diminish some of the demand for employees.

Further Reading: What Does Economic Uncertainty Mean for Sourcing?

5. Skift Acquires Popular Meetings Blog EventMB (Skift)


12 years ago, EventMB founder Julius Solaris founded the blog — which now boasts a readership of over 300,000 event professionals — from a desk in his apartment in southern Italy. The company, now based in Las Vegas, has become the second brand in a series of recent acquisitions by travel news giant Skift. With EventMB under the umbrella, Skift is now the largest independent media source in the events industry.

“The fact that Skift acquired EventMB makes me f*$5ing excited. They are a brand I respect — a brand I love…[Skift] has built a movement we want to be part of. We share this vision, and we think that, together, we will disrupt the event industry for years to come.” -Julius Solaris, Founder of EventMB

What does it mean for planners?

The move promises more resources, news, and analysis from Skift — whom Social Tables and Cvent have both worked with closely to release and promote cutting edge research and reports.

What’s next?

The acquisition of EventMB, trajectory over the past 12 years, and overall growth of the Skift Meetings & Events vertical all point to a growing focus on the meetings industry as a whole. As the industry continues to grow, so too will investment, the size of the spotlight, and the number of resources available for planners to help provide better event experiences.

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Published September 12, 2019

Come back to our blog next Thursday for another roundup of the most important event news of the week! And, find last week’s event planning news about event destinations here.