Just before BD West opened at the Los Angeles Convention Center in early April, an estimated 65 designers and 15 hospitality suppliers from across the country gathered at an LA restaurant to mingle, dine and talk design.
Design & Dine LA, a networking opportunity for experts in the hospitality and designing industries, was the second such event following Design & Dine New York, held the day before BDNY opened at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side in November. Both events were sponsored by HOTEL MANAGEMENT and Hotel Design.
The dinner was held at the Il Cielo restaurant in Beverly Hills, where Design & Dine’s five sponsors—HMI/Cardinal Shower, Porcelanosa, JVA Art Group, Serta Mattress and room360 by FOH—manned stations to promote and demonstrate their products and services to the attendees.
“We had been a sponsor previously at BDNY and we felt like the response was really positive,” said Skip Weitzen, VP of marketing at JVA Art Group, noting that smaller events offer better opportunities to form quality relationships than traditional trade shows do. “When you have a booth at a trade show, you have to be lucky to make sure people stop by,” Weitzen said. Design & Dine offered JVA a better chance to demonstrate its products to a more relaxed audience.
“Spending quality time with customers (and potential customers) is difficult these days as everyone is so busy and suppliers are competing for attention,” said Andy Pennington, national sales and marketing director at Porcelanosa, noting that some design firms are booking appointments six months ahead. “Think about that; they won’t get to see what’s new half-a-year out and the market won’t incubate product launches. So a high-end out-of-hours event such as Design & Dine is a great setting to meet clients old and new and to do that old-fashioned stuff called conversation. It still works!”
“I wanted to attend the event to network with the designers, meet new designers and to thank the designers that we currently work with,” said Rick Sequeira, VP of contract sales at Serta Mattress. “The designers that I met were extremely helpful in sharing projects that they are working on and giving me the opportunity to supply them. It's always great to dine with industry leaders.”
The next Design & Dine event will be held on Nov. 10, just before BDNY in New York City.