2011 Forecasting Survey: What Readers Expect From Food Trends, the Job Market, Red Carpets, iPads, and More


Michelle Obama, Facebook, local ingredients, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding will be a few of the topics on the minds of event professionals in 2011, according to an exclusive BizBash reader survey.

Readers chose Obama as their top pick to walk the red carpet at one of their events—the first lady got more than twice as many votes as 2010’s much-photographed red-carpet maverick Lady Gaga.

The farm-to-table trend, with caterers serving local ingredients, looks to be a big food story in 2011, with 60 percent of event pros planning to take advantage of the movement. Expect comfort food and passed small plates instead of seated meals to be popular, too.

No surprise here: Most readers expect the economy to have the biggest effect on the event industry, but more than a fifth of respondents choose social media as the most powerful factor.

Readers also shared their plans for green event initiatives, iPad uses, job hunting, and more. Here are the complete results of the survey:

Which of the following catering trends do you expect to use in 2011?
Farm to table/local ingredients (60%)
Passed small plates instead of a seated dinner (58%)
Comfort food (49%)
Food trucks (27%)
Cupcakes (26%)
Food art installations (24%)
Sliders (21%)

How will you use iPads at events in 2011?
Not at all (48%)
To make event concept/design presentations before events (26%)
To show product demos at events (26%)
To hold all of my event information on-site (25%)
To assist check-in staffers (24%)
To help with fund-raising auctions (12%)
(Other: 11%)

Which of these large events do you expect to look to for ideas inspiration in 2011?
Oscars (47%)
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding (40%)
Golden Globes (40%)
Grammys (39%)
Emmys (37%)
South Beach Wine & Food Festival (31%)
Super Bowl (29%)
MTV Video Music Awards (28%)
Oprah Winfrey’s final show (24%)
Art Basel Miami Beach (23%)
Toronto International Film Festival (21%)
Diffa Dining by Design (20%)
South by Southwest (13%)
Coachella (13%)
Latin Grammys (11%)
Lollapalooza (11%)
(Other: 10%)

Which of the following green initiatives do you plan to incorporate into your events in 2011?

Recycling event waste (58%)
Serving organic food and/or locally grown food (57%)
Using recycled paper (51%)
Forgoing bottled water (44%)
Skipping paper invitations (39%)
Banning paper handouts (23%)
(Other: 7%)

What do you think will have the biggest effect on the event industry in 2011?
The economy (59%)
Social media (21%)
New technological products and advancements (14%)
Environmental concerns/green events (4%)
(Other: 1%)

Do you plan to look for a new job in 2011?
No, I plan to stay put. (63%)
Not sure. (17%)
Yes, and I’ll look primarily within the event industry. (16%)
Yes, and I’ll look primarily outside the event industry. (4%)

Do you expect your event firm/department to hire additional employees in 2011?
Maybe, if things go well. (31%)
Yes, definitely. (28%)
No, definitely not. (27%)
Not sure. (15%)

Which of these celebrities would be your top choice to walk the red carpet at one of your events in 2011?
Michelle Obama (25%)
Bill Clinton (13%)
Lady Gaga (12%)
Betty White (9%)
Angelina Jolie (8%)
Kim Kardashian (6%)
Katy Perry and Russell Brand (5%)
James Franco (4%)
The cast of Gossip Girl (3%)
Sarah Palin (2%)
The Jonas Brothers (1%)
The cast of Jersey Shore (1%)
(Other: 11%)

Which of the following do you plan to use to promote an event in 2011?
Email invitations (83%)
Facebook (73%)
Printed invitations (51%)
Twitter (48%)
Printed collateral/mailing (48%)
Blogs (43%)
Print ads (37%)
LinkedIn (33%)
Online ads (30%)
iPhone/iPad apps (16%)
Radio ads (11%)
Television ads (7%)

BizBash conducted the survey online from December 15 to 20, with 567 readers responding.

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