The search for innovative ways to reduce your event’s costs and increase revenue is not a new concept. Neither is the use of event sponsorships to achieve these goals.
The big question is: HOW?
The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) has been particularly adept at creating event sponsorships that enhance experiences for guests in meaningful ways.
Attendees need to eat. They want you to wine and dine them, right? But the expense for food and beverage at events can be a steep one.
NACUFS National Conference centers around the latest and greatest in college and university food service.
Those attending are involved in an assortment of operational steps around food and beverage served on campuses across the nation.
With experiential learning at its core, NACUFS designed smart sponsorships that not only offset F&B costs, but provided attendees with a feast of sampling opportunities at each conference meal.
To take this a step further, attendees were also provided with detailed information for each item they were sampling.
“Every meal, every break, every opportunity is something where we will have an exhibitor or a sponsor who is launching or introducing a new opportunity for our attendees,” says Melissa Aldrich, Director of Meetings & Trade Shows at NACUFS.
Potential exhibitors and sponsors want to get their latest products into the hands of the people who make or influence college and university food service purchasing decisions.
“These sponsors want to promote their product, they want people to taste it; to try it,” Aldrich said.
It’s the perfect way to meet the needs of attendees who crave new menu options with sponsors who want to showcase their food service offerings.
This sponsorship strategy wins big points for relevance and bottom-line impact. Attendees get smarter in a most enjoyable way, while you save precious budget dollars along the way.
Challenges and Opportunities of Event Sponsorships
“One of the biggest challenges we have is trying to figure out how to go through that process,” Aldrich said. “How to manage all of the products and the planning.”
From menu planning, selection and food ordering right through preparation, plating, and delivery to the table, there many important details that must be managed.
Yet all it takes is one misstep for this brilliant sponsorship strategy to unravel.
NACUFS collaborated with Experient’s meeting and event management team every step of the way, tending to dozens of logistic details to ensure the final sampling experiences would be remarkable.
Below, Melissa walks us through the process of setting up sponsored meals from start to finish. She also covers the important questions to ask along the way.
Donna Kastner, Founder of Retirepreneur, contributed to this article.