The Planner on Hosting Locavore Events

Every day, both personally and professionally, I hear the phrase “go local.” This trend will only continue to strengthen. The term local doesn’t apply to just food. Here are four ideas to incorporate locality into your event: Helping Hands The hospitality programs at universities and colleges continue to grow, and many of those students are looking for volunteer opportunities. Our team worked closely with Travel Portland’s city volunteers during Collaborate Marketplace 2014 in Portland, giving those residents a strong sense of pride in their city. Smart Speakers Each city has so much to offer, but sometimes you just don’t know what is good or where to go. Tap into your local CVB for help. Many times, its members and partners can put stickers on their store or restaurant windows to show your attendees they’re welcome. Giving Back Research the community you are planning in to see what the city needs. Maybe its food banks are struggling or it has a pocket of housing needs. Partner with local programs to host a giveback day prior to your conference, or incorporate them into your event to get attendees involved. In Portland, we held an educational session on Oregon Convention Center’s sustainability efforts, which included a tour for planners on how they can make green meetings even greener. Good Eats If you don’t serve key lime pie in Florida or cheese in Wisconsin, you’re robbing your attendees of a mouthwatering experience. During Collaborate Marketplace in Portland, we worked with local breweries and the CVB—and even local favorite Voodoo Doughnut—to give attendees a taste of the city. While in Orlando for Collaborate Marketplace 2015, don’t miss the chance to get a taste of Florida at our new event, Sips & Sunshine. Angie Ahrens, CMP, is director of meetings and events at Collinson Media and Events, overseeing the logistics and programming of all CME events including the annual Collaborate Marketplace. Read more of her tips at