I go to many banquets throughout the year, but usually in our own hotels. Recently I attended a conference held in another branded hotel and had the chance to experience their banquet events. Everything was fine actually, service acceptable, food was fine. The conference I was attending was all about seafood, and it would be hard to believe if any of the 100 or so attendees didn’t eat fish (I did blog about the conference earlier). After a morning filled with the virtues of great fish, I was looking forward to lunch, certain that a beautiful piece of halibut, salmon, or some other sea creature was going to be offered up…and what do they serve for lunch? CHICKEN!
Now, I can not fault the hotel here, I am sure the meeting planner over-thought the lunch menu and figured since we were talking about fish all day we might just be sick of it. The hotel was serving what the meeting planner requested, though I HOPE they at least made the suggestion to possibly offer the attendees something more local. What they failed to consider though is that for meeting attendees, the food is often the only connection with the place you are visiting. I urge meeting planners to engage the chef and let them create an opportunity, through the food, for your attendees to experience the flavor of the local area. Seafood in Alaska seems a no-brainer, and we did finally see a bit of the oceans bounty at dinner that evening.
Banquets are such an important part of our business, and something I think each of our brands do exceptionally well. In fact each year Meetings and Conventions Magazine bestows awards on the best of best, including multi-year M&C Gold Platter Award winner Camelback Inn - A JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. Receiving the Gold Platter Award does take a lot more than just great food, think excellent service, audio visual, room set up, meeting coordination, etc, but it is not by accident they named this the Gold Platter Award and not the Gold Room Diagram Award. It is after all, all about the food! This gem of a property is undergoing an incredible transformation and will soon be home to two unbelievably exciting restaurants. Stay tuned, this is going to be special.
Camelback is such a great desert property, but it is the team there that is truly special. Paul O’Conner runs the culinary team and is lucky enough to be partnered with Food and Beverage Director Siegfried Weber, a consummate professional in the food business and himself a former chef of the New York Marriott Marquis, among many other notable accomplishments. Together, they do amazing things, and their catering events really shine. Trust me, if you have an event at the Camelback Inn, you will know you are in the desert and be amazed by the food, service, and attention to every detail.
What’s on YOUR plate today?
This was a great comment you made. What they failed to consider though is that for meeting attendees, the food is often the only connection with the place you are visiting. I have eaten the darn chicken at every conference and event I go to, and it becomes the way your remember the venue and event itself. When I come back from some dull event on computer, my wife doesn't ask me how the talks were, or was the hotel/facilities pretty. She asks, "How as the food?"