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December 20, 2013

Apella Event Space at Alexandria Center's List of What's In and What's Out for 2014

Apella, Event Space at Alexandria Center has hosted some of New York City’s most innovative meetings and social events since its opening three years ago. Arthur Backal and the Backal Management Group, who manages and services all events at Apella, compiled a list of what meetings and events planners can look forward to for 2014.

1.  Food & Beverage: Healthier Snacks for New Year’s Resolutions
What’s out: Bagged snacks and sweets are out. Spending all day at a meeting can lead to grabbing whatever snack is available. However, chips, cookies and other snacks can lead to a sleepy afternoon and won’t satiate attendees’ appetites until it’s time to go home.
What’s in: Granola bars, fruit and other healthy snacks are in. Guests feel better with healthier snacks such as nuts, energy bars or fruit, especially while everyone is sticking to healthy New Year’s resolutions. 
2.  Food & Beverage: Mini Everything
What’s out: Mini desserts are played out. Mini cupcakes and whoopee pies are easy to pop in and make for a fun table spread, but by now everyone has seen these tiny treats.
What’s in: At Apella, they offer mini breakfast pastries and yogurt parfaits with breakfast and attendees to sample each option and leave room for later. Some of their favorite offerings are crispy cheese grit bites and mini pulled pork sliders with dinner and mini Rice Krispies treats or tea sandwiches for snacking.
3.  Food & Beverage: Sampling rather than Heavy Buffets
What’s out: Heavy buffet dinners are out. Large chafing dishes do not feel fresh – both in terms of taste and style.
What’s in: Update dinner service by allowing guests to serve themselves from all around the party. Interactive stations with small plates and smaller bites give guests a chance to sample all food offerings. Small bites also free partygoers from holding a heavy plate all night.
4.  Social Media: Using Hashtags rather than Facebook RSVPs
What’s out: RSVP’ing to a Facebook event isn’t a reliable way for planners to know who to expect.
What’s in: Creating a hashtag to grow awareness can be used across all social media platforms. Attendees will take the work out of your hands and promote your event for you by utilizing your hashtag and turning it #viral.

5.  GreenTech: Registration via iPads for Check-In
What’s out: Although paper registration is a comfortable fallback, it allows for a huge margin of error. Missing or misspelled names can lead to an awkward start to a guest’s day and leave planners in a frenzy to adjust seating or reprint attendee lists.
What’s in:  Electronic lists are easy to update and can be transferred seamlessly between devices, making a planner’s job smoother during a hectic meeting.
6.  Green Tech: iPads instead of Pen and Paper
What’s out: Gone are the days of dragging a large notebook to a meeting or event.
What’s in: Today, savvy companies provide their attendees with iPads to take important notes for the day, or install tablets in shared lounge spaces where guests can check email and take a quick break from the workday.
7.  Entertainment: Streaming Playlists rather than iPods
What’s out: iPods with playlists are out. A missing charging cord or a malfunctioning iPod can ruin guest’s otherwise festive evening.
What’s in: Creating an online playlist via Spotify, Pandora or Grooveshark allow users to pre-select a playlist or music genre for free. These web-based resources have enormous song libraries to choose from and are dependable and low-risk for the event organizer and for all guests.
8.  Entertainment: Flash Entertainment over DJs or Bands
What’s out: One DJ or band can feel repetitive when guests attend several holiday parties or events in one season.
What’s in: Flash entertainment or quick performances by music trios and surprise entrances by marching bands or opera singers liven up events.
9.  Set-up & Décor: Creating the Atmosphere
What’s out: Candelabras can be an annoyance for planners and guests, with wax drippings, obstructed table views, and potential dealings with fire codes.
What’s in: “Uplighting” transforms a ballroom to a lounge, turning a function room into a party. Colors can pick up on company’s logos or client’s theme.

10.  Set-up & Décor: Social Seating
What’s out: Generic classroom seating is out and can feel crowded and boring.
What’s in: Interactive setups such as clusters, round circles or small tables are in. Try seating attendees in setups that promote interaction and discussion.

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