Hospitality Expo in Schaumburg gives planners new alternatives to old business meetings
The table was set Monday for what's hot at corporate parties and events at the annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Hospitality Expo -- Chicago Northwest.
More than 80 exhibitors were on hand at the Schaumburg Marriott Hotel to show off their products and services, as well as answer questions for event planners and representatives seeking ideas for their specific business events.
The annual expo -- the final of three hosted by the Business Ledger this year -- provides a one-stop opportunity for planners to scout out new ideas for corporate events. Vendors represented restaurants and caterers, hotels and meeting sites, and entertainment providers offering unique spins to the traditional staff meeting.
The more than 800 registered attendees got to sample delicacies like butternut squash soup made by the Schaumburg Marriott; peppercorn Asiago cheese, house-smoked lamb shoulder and Wisconsin summer sausage from the Stella Hotel and Ballroom in Kenosha; and fresh tiramisu from Chicago Prime Steakhouse.
Attendees also got to try out entertainment ideas, from playing blackjack at U.S. Poker and Casino Party to spinning prize wheels at Topgolf in Schaumburg, to participating in magic tricks with corporate magician and trade show presenter Randy Bernstein.
For most vendors, the event was a chance not only to find new business, but to introduce new products and services.
"I've made a couple of great connections here already, so that's a great positive," said Lisa Weatherston of Kuma's Corner in Chicago, Schaumburg and Vernon Hills, who with brand Ambassador Eric Hersemann handed out homemade potato chips while pitching the famed burger restaurant's catering business.
Melissa Porter of McAllister's Deli in Bloomingdale and Lake Zurich returned for a second year at the expo, noting she generated a lot of new business from last year's event.
"We met a lot of great business clients and connected with a lot of people in the communities," Porter said while giving out house-baked cookies and iced tea samples.
Phil Wingo, founder of Sandhill Coffee in Lisle, offered samples of espresso martinis and well as samplings of his coffee. The expo was a way to get the new company's name out into the public, he said, as well as look to connect with restaurants or businesses looking for a local coffee option.
"We're trying to showcase how coffee can be used in different ways rather than just serving coffee," Wingo said of the espresso martinis.
The ability to talk to people is important for a new business like his, Wingo added.
"People have questions and you can answer them, so it's nice to have that conversation rather than if someone finds me online, I'm not there to talk to them."