Feeding a hunger for local culture

VizEatWhereas dining functions presented by private chefs are often an elite affair, a social dining concept presented by VizEat looks set to give the experience a more homely feel, allowing guests to sample flavours of the destination in a local home.

Since coming into operations in 2014, the European company now has a network of 17,000 hosts in over 100 countries including Italy, the US, India, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Hosts not only provide a dining experience in their humble abode, some also offer cooking classes and market tours. To enjoy an activity offered by VizEat hosts, travellers need only to search and make a booking on the VizEat website.

While VizEat serves a largely leisure crowd, it has seen a 20 per cent monthly increase in corporate event bookings. And it is taking a serious look at the market by establishing online support for event planners.

Jean-Michel Petit, co-founder of VizEat, said: “In the coming weeks we will (introduce) a section on the website (allowing) corporate event planners to describe the event they are looking to organise. Based on (this), we will select the hosts and set up a co-branded website with the organiser.” The experience could set planners back by US$25 to US$50 per pax.

VizEat’s track record in putting together major social dining events includes the Airbnb Open in Paris last November, where over 1,000 Airbnb guests from around the globe dined simultaneously in local VizEat hosts’ homes in the French capital.

The company will run OuiShare Fest for 1,000 participants this month, and a dining event for a major insurance company as part of an annual meeting  in June, with over 2,000 delegates expected in attendance.

While the bulk of corporate bookings comes from Europe, Petit said the company is determined to expand its reach into Asia and had participated in IMEX Frankfurt in April to build awareness of its specialisation.

“We are also planning to (establish) strong curated host communities in Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul (which are active destinations for corporate events) by 4Q2016 and expand quickly across more key Asian cities by 1Q2017,” Petit said, adding that VizEat will work with the local tourism bureaus to promote the experience to corporate clients.

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