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Caliente Swinger Vacations!

Kayden Kross at Twistys

September 29, 1999 08:56am
Business Entertaining Trends in the New Millennium
Source: BUSINESS WIRE

CHICAGO)-- Enter the new world, where work and pleasure are blended into personal productivity recipes, where high quality, happy workers are vital to successful growth of a company, and business partnerships may last from six months to longer than many marriages. Lines between media and marketing will continue to blur, against a background of traditional and electronic media bombardment. This new-millennium world brings huge creative opportunities for activities, including dining, and travel. Private and business events continue to converge.

Business entertaining and special event marketing will expand by demand, and take a huge chunk of dollars out of the marketing mix, according to Chicago event planner Sally Schwartz, president, Paint Me A Party Productions.

For business entertaining in this new world, the art of event production will be taken to a higher level. According to Schwartz, experiential events that win the hearts of customers will generate authentic passion for consumer goods and services through feelings of warmth, friendship, and humor. ``Computing and telecommuting can only go so far to build key relationships,'' she says.

Product and service marketers will create corporate-sponsored performance events and travel, continuing to ratchet up the high stakes in winning and retaining customer loyalty. ``The need for being connected and in the loop will be greater than ever. Businesses will reach the public by hosting more seminars, conferences and special invitational events,'' Schwartz said.

Stepped-up employee recruiting and retention efforts will raise the bar for companies who understand the value of creative, productive workers. Employee parties will enhance loyalty, and set the internal environment to keep employees around as their stocks vest. ``This is another trend in the Silicon Valley where headline rock groups perform at private company parties and company ditch-day beach excursions, toys included, are part of the lure top technology companies,'' commented Schwartz.

Schwartz's special event and business entertaining predictions include:

- New venues. "Anything goes--laundromats, restaurant kitchens,
rail-yards, corporate jets, bus stations, public works
buildings--can be the sites for the most memorable gatherings,"
Schwartz said. Tents will transform off-site spaces to stage sets
for parties, virtual exhibitions and product demonstration
venues. Event planners will have new opportunities to create
ambiance with unique design features, and to quickly and
economically build snazzy spaces to showcase products.

- Team and community building. "Team"--one of today's biggest buzz
words, becomes a greater reality in the new world. Team-building
has come a long way from the corporate pep rally. Tomorrow's
team-building will incorporate incentive travel, well-planned
weekend business retreats for mixing business and pleasure more
and more. As the need to recruit and retain talented employees
gets ever more competitive, events which forge bonds among staff
and management groups will be more extravagant and sophisticated
than they are today. "Cross-country Winnebago scavenger hunts,
sailing races in the Great Barrier Reef, auto racing, here's
where creativity in the boardroom will count," said Schwartz.
Companies will build virtual communities as loyalty marketing
combines the business-to-business marketing "us and them" into
"we."

- Public relations. Publicity stunts will be bigger, bolder, brash
and sometimes X-rated. "Performance art meets marketing and
promotion," predicts Schwartz. Business leaders will continue to
assume superstar and cultural icon status through the expression
of personality. Charismatically-challenged CEOs will rely
increasingly on consultants to develop media-friendly
environments to provide the "wow" factor.

- Invitation media expansion. "The U. S. postal system will play an
expanded role in the delivery of event invitations and direct
response pieces. As the cost of first class mail increases, and
the cost of shipping packages decreases, the `flat' invitation
piece will give way to larger scale communications in a variety
of packaging," Schwartz predicts. Messages will be printed on
everything from fabrics to foods to houseware items to live
bodies. Personal invitations from corporate big-shots will be
delivered directly to computer screens. Outdoor messaging will
expand with sculptural installations in prominent places, flags
and banners in traffic-stopping places, and more vehicles and
airplanes capture attention.

- Food of all kinds. People are cooking less and less but when they
do it's to entertain. Schwartz says, "This has been the
millennium of contact." Americans have continued to change the
way they eat with each new immigrant group that arrives. Today's
cooking celebrates this cultural fusion at the table. More chefs
will be performing tableside, service will be more family style,
with tasty options for all dietary restrictions.

- Transportation. Limousines are too awkward, ugly, and
ostentatious for recognizable sorts, so cars, trucks and vans
will be tricked-out for corporate schlepping, and on-the-road
business presentations. Custom interiors, killer sound systems
and Internet access devices offer privacy and security for
executives. Watch for Range Rover fleets.

- Music and entertainment. Entertainment will be of the circus
variety -- people will be open to startling and strange
performers, from contortionists, fire-walkers, animal acts,
inventors, computer ventriloquist dolls, stuntmen, and trapeze
artists. Dance and percussion ensembles will be increasingly
popular "command performance" entertainment choices. "Music will
be more mobile, with performers being flown-in from other parts
of the world, bringing cultural instruments, such as sitars, and
mouth-harps," said Schwartz.

- Not-your-mother's ambiance. Flowers will continue to be
genetically altered, producing purple daisies, black orchids,
turquoise roses, leaves of different colors. Centerpieces will
incorporate more natural and found objects, such as rocks, wire,
wood, glass, and other construction site or science laboratory
materials. Spectacular floral arrangements will cascade from
ceiling of the room down to the table tops. Orchids from Hawaii
are flown in just for the event.

- Olfactory expansion. Loyalty marketing proponents will provide
the persuasive benefits of scent to pull-up good memories. Custom
designed scents and mass olfactory manipulation, especially for
merchandising and special events will be a mandatory component in
the new world.

- Atop the table. Table tops for meetings and dining will feature
their own integrated power sources, for mid-table lighting,
laptop and multi-media presentations. Linens may be hand-painted
spandex wrapped and draped around the table, legs and chairs.
Tables will be available in different materials such as
plexiglass, with matching dishes, glassware and silverware. As
beautiful boomers age, considerate businesses will provide
flattering light.

Paint Me A Party (www.paintmeaparty.com) is a complete special event, meeting planning, incentive travel management and production company. The company consistently provides creative solutions to business problems, and operates throughout the world. Founded in 1985 by Sally Schwartz, a veteran of the Chicago advertising world, PMAPP serves companies who recognize the importance of consistent, integrated marketing messages and positive bottom-line impact of a professionally planned and executed event.

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