Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Wolf

Erik Wolf

Executive Director, World Food Travel Association

Erik Wolf is the visionary founder of the world's food tourism industry, and of the World Food Travel Association. He is a highly sought speaker, thought leader, strategist and consultant, in the US and abroad, on all aspects of food and drink tourism. Mr. Wolf is considered the go-to food tourism industry resource for media outlets that have included CNN, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NBC, GQ, Forbes, Huffington Post, PeterGreenberg.com, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Arirang Korea, Sky Media (UK) and many more. He has spearheaded projects for world-class brands that have included the Province of Alberta (Canada), American Express, Walt Disney, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, just to name a few. During his tenure as Executive Director of the Association, Mr. Wolf launched several innovative products for our industry, including the annual Food Travel Monitor, including the Monitor's PsychoCulinary profiling tool for food travelers; the Certified Culinary Travel Professional program; Business Readiness Training in Food Tourism; and Food Travel Talk TV. He is also the publisher of Have Fork Will Travel, the food tourism industry's most comprehensive handbook. Mr. Wolf's articles, speeches and research have been published in dozens of languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Polish, Russian, Portuguese and many more. Mr. Wolf also advises to UNESCO's Creative Cities Network gastronomy program and the UNWTO's Gastronomy Network. Mr. Wolf holds a B.A. in languages from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Travel Marketing and International Communication from The American University in Washington, D.C. For Mr. Wolf, food is a way to communicate and connect with local people. A command of several languages has helped him navigate through dozens of countries. He has lived in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa. The more he traveled, the more he realized that many destinations have wonderful but untold stories in the form of truly unique food and beverage experiences. Mr. Wolf enjoys recommending unusual and remarkable food and beverages experiences from obscure lands. Don't ever let him loose in a grocery store in another country - you won't see him for hours.

Please visit http://www.worldfoodtravel.org for more information.

Mr. Wolf can be contacted at (1) 503-213-3700 or erik@worldfoodtravel.org

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.