We spoke with Jana Rae Oliver of the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau to discover how Raleigh delivers value to meeting planners. Here’s what she had to say:
How can planners leverage food & beverage to increase value?
There are two great ways our clients have found to increase F&B value. The first is that, when food and beverage service is set up and offered in or around conference sessions or provided on the trade show floor, it encourages better participation in planned programs.
The second is the notion of local stewardship. Throughout the country people are looking for ways to support local farms and products during their dining experiences; at the Raleigh Convention Center, locally sourced products ranging from produce to meats to craft beers are used not only for special events but are standard in the center’s day-to-day catering offerings and menus. Attendees like knowing they are supporting local, but as a planner, you can feel confident that you aren’t paying extra for it here.
Are there any tips for cost-conscious planners for increasing ROE (return on experience)?
When planners work directly with the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, they get a direct link to local community thought-leaders. Planners can draw intellectual inspiration and international experts from the Raleigh region’s dozens of colleges and universities, plus The Research Triangle Park and North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, for speakers, sponsors or exhibitors. Having these resources in Raleigh’s backyard provides an extraordinary value for planners.
What are three on-site “wow” group experiences not to be missed?
Raleigh’s museum scene is full of surprises. We’re called the “Smithsonian of the South” for our more-than-40 free attractions—including the N.C. museums of history, art and natural sciences—many of which are within easy walking distance of the downtown convention campus.
North Carolina’s capital city is a dynamic destination for visual and performing arts, and the Raleigh convention campus is augmented by Red Hat Amphitheater, which is host to live music concerts throughout the year, and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to state or regional performing arts organizations including the North Carolina Symphony and Carolina Ballet.
Raleigh’s culinary scene is emerging as one of the best in the Southeast, and groups can experience the creations of award-winning chefs through Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours, for instance, or sip a local craft brew at one of the area’s 18 breweries—many offering tours for groups and tastings direct-from-the-source.