Industry events

What’s next for The MICE Blog

I came across an interesting report entitled “2018 Best Countries Rankings” conducted by the global marketing communications company Y&R’s brand strategy firm, BAV Group, and the Wharton School. The sub category “Best Countries for Entrepreneurship” placed Germany number one, before Japan (2), United States (3), United Kingdom (4) and Switzerland (5). The attributes that scored the highest for Germany making it an attractive country for entreprenurship in this study include a well-developed infrastructure, transparent business practices, educated population, skilled labour force, connectivity to the rest of the world, technological expertise and well-developed legal framework. The areas that scored lower include easy access to capital, entrepreneurial and innovative.

This study and its results were of a great interest to me because 1.5 years ago I moved to Germany from the UK and therefore had to also move my business to Germany. This was a good decision to make this transition. By moving my business to a new country my business expanded to a new and important market for the events industry. There are fundamental differences between the UK and Germany that offer great opportunities but also some challenges (especially for small businesses) so I wanted to share with you my experience and what’s next for my business.

I registered my business in the UK shortly after I started trading. I had to decide whether to work as a sole trader or register a Limited company so I chose the latter. In the UK it’s very fast, simple and inexpensive to register a company, making the barriers to entry very low. The reason I chose to trade as a company is my wish to grow the company and not being perceived as a “one-man band”.

The state of Influencer Marketing in the MICE industry

Influencer marketing is currently a hot topic in the MICE industry. The leisure travel industry has been implementing it successfully since around 2012 as I can remember when I visited the Wold Travel Market. The MICE industry, on the other hand, is slowly testing it since last year. Given that we have so much to learn from the leisure travel industry, ITB Berlin was the perfect opportunity to organise an Event Planners Talk live session about this topic. Each year ITB Berlin has a dedicated MICE programme organised by their official partner, the German Event Planners Association, Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V. (VDVO). This year a half day conference took place, along the MICE Hub exhibition and MICE Night in the evening at an external venue, International Club Berlin. The Event Planners Talk took place just before the MICE Night and welcomed international planners.

For this session we had the pleasure to welcome Nicholas Montemaggi, Chief Marketing Officer at iambassador, and Erik Mortensen, Head of Business Events Denmark at Visit Denmark. I met Nicholas back in 2012 at the World Travel Market when he was working for the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board and was one of the first destinations to run an influencer campaign, Blog Ville. I worked with Visit Denmark on the #everythingiscloser campaign that they launched end of last year.

Top restaurant recommendations in Frankfurt during IMEX

IMEX Frankfurt is fast approaching and so our agendas are getting filled with business appointments and social events. You might want to impress your client, or just catch up with a business partner or a friend after the long day and you look for a nice restaurant in Frankfurt. Or maybe you want to stay few days longer for bleisure and are looking for trendy places to wine in dine in the city? We, event professionals, are pros searching for the best restaurants, but we also love a good recommendation from a fellow planner, aren’t we? To make your life easier, and I know how busy you are, I put together a list or some of my favourite places and also asked my colleagues for their top tips which I share with you here below.

My recommendations

If you are a fan of German cuisine then I can highly recommend you the Druckwasserwerk. I visited few summers ago, not during IMEX through, so we were able to sit outside on the terrace and that was very pleasant. But they also have a beautiful space inside, perfect for large and small groups. They have 180 seats in the restaurant, 50 on the gallery and 300 outdoor. I know from talking to colleagues that this is a popular place for IMEX attendees so can advise you check for availability before going there. I took the Wiener Schnitzel and it was one of the best ones I’ve ever had (The second best was in Munich in Andechser am Dom).

For Asian cuisine, and specifically Vietnamese in this case, I can recommend you the Ong Tao. This restaurant is a walking distance from the Messe and it tucked in a residential area, so the clientele seems to be a mix of business and locals. The food was very delicious with very good options also for vegetarians. The inside area has capacity for 40 people and outside for 70 people. The non-alcoholic smoothies and cocktails are an absolute highlight!

What the future holds for hosted buyer programmes

Hosted buyer programmes and fam trips were questioned and came in the spotlight after an industry “blacklist” was sent to conference organisers last year. To get a further insight into the topic, shortly after its publication we got a panel together and discussed whether this business model still meets today’s business needs of buyers and suppliers. The discussion “Hosted Buyer Programmes and Fam Trips – is it time for a change” had a very strong focus on fam trips, so we decided to host a follow up session and focus only on Hosted Buyers. The Event Planners Talk session took place at the International Confex last month.

The session was called “Hosted Buyers – lifeblood or leeches”. Prior to it we ran a poll on Twitter with the question “hosted buyers: lifeblood or leeches?”. 22 event professionals answered and the result was a 50-50 split. Surprisingly, several event planners said that this model is still relevant but needs innovation. We took on board the feedback from the online audience and aimed to look for solutions how to innovate this model.

Our speakers were Johnny D. Martinez, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Shocklogic, Valerie Kosh, Business Leader at C-WISE, Paul Colston, Managing Editor, Conference Division at Mash Media and Adam Perry, Director at Event Tech Live. The session was moderated by Robert Kenward, Co-founder & Chief Talent Officer at YOU search & select.

The festivalisation of events

Skift Mega Trends Report 2017 listed festivalisation of events as one of the mega trends that will impact the events industry. But it seems that in Europe we are one step behind the US in identifying and implementing trends. Only in 2018 it comes our way and sees the wider adoption in the events industry.

This year at ITB Berlin MICE Forum festivalisation was one of the key topics and welcomed representatives from three German events: Bits & Pretzels, Best of Events International (BoE) and CEBIT to share their experience. These events are very different from each other, but all understand that their audience is looking for a new way of doing business. Therefore, they needed to introduce innovation before they become irrelevant to their target audience. The session was called Create The New: Creating A Festive Atmosphere At Events and speakers were Henrik Bollmann, Project Manager at Best of Events International, Christian Lohmeier, Producer at Bits & Pretzels and Hartwig von Saß, Head of Cebit Press at Deutsche Messe. Mario Schmidt, Owner at SCHMIDTfabrik-medianetwork moderated the session.