Dear C&IT: Venues must be more reasonable

Charging significantly more for special dietary requests is bad practice, argues Inntel's Douglas O'Neill.

Dear C&IT, 

Thanks for an interesting read (Food for Thought, C&IT Autumn issue). I agree with Jacqui’s report that special dietary requests for delegates nowadays often go far beyond vegetarian, kosher, diabetic and religious-based restrictions. 

Given the number of different requirements, I believe that it’s important for meeting planners to consider whether the requests are because people need to eat a certain way or want to eat a certain way. 

It’s a delicate balance that our client meeting arrangers now need to manage. On the one hand, they want to please their delegates but, on the other hand, many of the special dietary requirements cost significantly more than ‘regular’ menus, which can add to an event budget. 

Our agency partners in the US have an additional challenge to deal with. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 cites food allergies as ‘protected disabilities’ under federal law. So, my agency colleagues in the US are legally obliged to help their clients with suitable meals for people with allergies, much in the same way they might provide wheelchair access. 

Most things travel from the US to the UK, so I’m sure it won’t be long before we face this too. Legal or not, providing the food that delegates ask for equals happy and satisfied delegates. 

So, instead of berating the delegates for their requests, I would call on hotels and venues to be more reasonable about the pricing of special food requirements rather than penalising meeting planners for taking care of their attendees.

Douglas O’Neill 

CEO, Inntel

If you feel strongly about one of the stories you have read in print or online on C&IT, contact andrew.mccorkell@haymarket.com 

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here.

 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
Diary of a delegate: Undiscovered Azerbaijan

Diary of a delegate: Undiscovered Azerbaijan

Exploring the emerging destination’s modern and medieval experiences in Baku, Gabala and Sheki.

Brands at Work appoints new creative director

Brands at Work appoints new creative director

Senior hire brings experience from a range of sectors that will help the agency meet the evolving needs of clients.

In pictures: Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok opening March 2020

In pictures: Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok opening March 2020

The hotel at Chao Phraya River offers indoor and outdoor event spaces in the Thai capital.

Judges announced for C&IT Awards Americas

Judges announced for C&IT Awards Americas

The inaugural C&IT Awards Americas will be judged by a mix of regional and global event professionals.

Ditching ‘swag bags’ and tackling the problem of food waste

Ditching ‘swag bags’ and tackling the problem of food waste

Corporate event planners spoke about ways to reduce waste and make conferences more sustainable.

‘I thought having children would have no impact on my career in events’

‘I thought having children would have no impact on my career in events’

One event professional discusses the struggle to balance work and life as a mother of a two-year-old.

Six new recruits for Venues and Events International

Six new recruits for Venues and Events International

Swindon-based event agency expands its team, including return of two former employees, after new client wins.

‘Glorified schedule apps' among top tech concerns for event planners

‘Glorified schedule apps' among top tech concerns for event planners

Delegates discussed their main aspirations, groans and gripes about tech during a roundtable at C&IT's Corporate Forum.

Case study: Nissan’s royal relaunch

Case study: Nissan’s royal relaunch

A revolving stage and 3D animation helped showcase the new Patrol SUV to an audience of VIPs, including UAE's royal family.

OrangeDoor appoints new managing director

OrangeDoor appoints new managing director

Event agency reinforces its senior leadership team to focus on ambitious global expansion plans.

LATEST JOBS