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Mice Net : February 2009
news However, a dedicated group is trying to bring all major players to the table to develop an industry-wide response which could be submitted to the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. • Signs of aversion to long-haul destinations were evident out of Europe. The Germans especially were talking about strict corporate compliance rules and the impact of CSR policies on choice of destination. • In the USA, offshore meetings were expected to fall back, more as a result of cost containment measures rather than a “green” issue. • Perceptions are as important as budget. The most obvious example cited was the US AIG experience, where a “luxury” incentive event saw the company, which was in the process of being bailed out by the US government, get mauled by the media. This led to an over- reaction by AIG with mass cancelling of its 2009 events. Companies will be taking care not to be seen as providing extravagant junkets, however incorrect the perception, when they are laying off workers or “consolidating”. • A Middle East correspondent remarked that the ME industry and tourism boards were looking more within their own region to generate business. • Tech whiz king Corbin Ball continues to attract the crowds to his sessions, with standing room only. Delegates can’t seem to get enough of the latest industry technology news. • On the technology front, an online software system which tracks ROI (return on investment) of events for both the host and the participants, won EIBTM’s 2008 Technology Award. Called “MeetingsMetrics”, it enables easy self-management of event measurement which can be custom designed from the online menu. In the current climate of austerity and cost-cutting, this type of tool is expected to become more widely used by organisers to demonstrate the value of their events. • “Meetings Architecture” is another term you are likely to be hearing of more. Maarten Vanneste has authored a book of this title which he declares with conviction has moved beyond a book to a “movement” or a manifesto for change. This Belgium-based author is certainly helping to lift meetings management beyond logistics to deal with the substance of the program itself. He wants to see planners become “architects” of the event, taking more ownership of the meetings and adding more value. More is needed on the intellectual level: the psychology of group participation; the potential to draw out more wisdom from the crowd; even studying the effects of music. A group of 25 industry thought leaders has been assembled by Vanneste in Europe and North America to produce a White Paper 2020 on the subject. www.meetingarchitecture.org. • Anyone heard of the expression “fit for purpose”? A new one for me, but it popped up during the sessions at EIBTM. An operator out of the UK gave some frank advice during a panel session. In these tougher times ahead, make sure your business is fit for purpose – you know exactly what you are doing and are an expert in doing it. You will need more clarity and more professionalism in your approach. • Along the same lines was talk about “authenticity” – companies returning to their own truth or core elements and wanting to profile that at their events. • Someone running a session of generations suggested that the meetings industry was made for baby boomers, by baby boomers who are now trying to force their memories onto Gen X and Y. (More on the generational impact in the Report below.) • Web 2.0 continues to draw plenty of attention, with talk focusing on the impact of social networking over the web on events, building communities, extending the life of events, matching needs by creating ad hoc special interest groups or micro-communities. The events industry needs to understand the value and potential of sites like Facebook, Linkedin and MySpace, or how to establish intranetworks to build an event community. Mobility is the key. The new IPhones will introduce still more possibilities. • There are a myriad of tech-related ideas out there which will be more commonly used to enhance the collaborative meeting experience: name badges programmed to enhance on-site networking; mobiles being used in sessions to SMS questions or comments; blogs to ABOVE: EIBTM was held December 2-4, 2008 with: - exhibitors from 100 countries taking nine per cent more space than 2007 - 3700 hosted buyers - around 8000 total visitors Reed Travel Exhibitions is obviously positive about the market. The company continues to expand, with the latest addition to the stable being a new trade show in North America in 2009 – AIBTM. Baltimore is the destination and is rumoured to have invested several million dollars to secure the show. mice.net 11