Maintaining Balance: 3 Trends
I just returned from the Incentive Research Foundation’s Education Invitational in Las Vegas, and was struck by the energy and excitement around our industry’s rebound. People are busier than ever before. I’ve heard it referred to as the “rubber band effect”—we pulled back so far because of the pandemic and now we have been propelled even further ahead, at sometimes staggering speeds.
Interestingly, some of the themes addressed at that meeting—and that I am seeing throughout our industry as we move into mid-2023—have to do with maintaining balance and simplifying our work lives to be able to thrive in this new, lightning-fast reality. Three topics, all quite different from each other, keep coming up:
AI—If used correctly, this tool can save us a lot of work. I’m hearing how colleagues are using it for social media, to “populate” posts that they can then flesh out. Others are using it as a virtual assistant to answer all those routine logistical questions that we spend so much time answering via text. I’ve also seen it used as an intelligent transcription tool, to wade through the contents of an entire meeting and organize the info by topic. AI is not something to be feared, it’s a technology to be embraced.
Balance—At registration, the IRF created a Zen Den with massages and a singing bowl meditation. They also re-arranged the agenda, replacing a full day of education with two half days. Of course, many meetings might not be able to do this, but it’s no longer uncommon to build in substantial breaks and wellbeing activations. In many settings, it’s also fine for attendees to dress comfortably—whatever that means for them.
Plant-based menus—In conjunction with the wellness trend, I am seeing plant-based food make it on the menu to the point where it’s no longer the exception, it’s the rule. The IRF host hotel, the Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World, was on top of this, with dishes like ube pancakes at lunch (ube is a purple yam, Japanese in origin) and Beyond meat “corned beef hash,” placed right alongside the real deal at breakfast.
This month’s cover story (page 16) by sr. contributing editor Regina Baraban is all about F&B trends emerging in various destinations, from Las Vegas to Taiwan. Also in this issue, you'll get the 411 on what's new in Small and Mid-size U.S. Cities as well as the Caribbean. Cruise lines, too, are upping the ante when it comes to their F&B offerings, as sr. editor Steve Grasso found out. There's also an array of on locations you won't want to miss—Toronto; Paris; Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort; Greenville, SC; The Hotel del Coronado; and Copenhagen.
Enjoy the issue. —Barbara Scofidio