Events industry is not only about beautiful venues, exciting destinations and smiling people. Unfortunately there is also a dark side to it, one that we almost never talk about between peers and in the press. But times are changing, and people are more open to talk about taboo topics, like sexual harassment in a professional setting. The change that brought the society to acknowledge and terminate sexual harassment in the workplace is the #MeToo movement. It went viral back in October 2017 following sexual abuse allegations against the American film producer Harvey Weinstein. The “Weinstein effect” was triggered as a result of the viral campaign and called for dismissals of men who hold positions of power in the society and workplace for sexual abuse allegations.
On 23rd January Financial Times broke a story about sexual harassment at the Presidents Club fundraiser dinner. Financial Times sent two journalists undercover to work as hostesses at the Presidents Club Dinner that took place at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The journalists broke the story of sexist environment and abuse towards the hostesses. It made headlines on social media and international press, but in the events industry, media and event associations were slow to respond to the story.
From 10 – 11 January I attended the Best of Events International event at the Messe Dortmund Exhibition Centre. Taking place in the second week of 2018 that was a good opportunity to get back to business after the quiet Christmas and New Year period.
Along exhibitors ranging from venues, destinations, catering suppliers, technology providers, entertainment companies and others, four education streams took place that included the MICE Forum, Security Forum, Career Hub, Digital Forum and Acts on Stage. Another highlight was the BoE night.
Best of Events goes international
But let’s start from the beginning. What is the Best of Events International, or BoE? The BoE is a trade show for experience marketing, connecting exhibitors with event professionals and offering educational content for attendees across the multiple streams. It’s an annual show for trade visitors without hosted buyer programmes. Until now the show had mainly German focus with only one international exhibitor the Netherlands, but this year saw increase in international exhibitors including Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. There was a small number of international delegates as well, demonstrating that the show is on the right path to achieve its goals.
One of the key trends predicted for 2018 is that delegates are looking for more authentic and local experiences and for “off the beaten path” destinations. As a result, destinations are adjusting their offer to follow this trend, with further DMCs and event agencies designing experiences around the „unknown“.
I love off the beaten path and authentic experiences. I don’t like crowded places, waiting in the queue (unless it’s Wimbledon) and overpriced products and services. But the same year that we talk about authenticity and off the beaten path destinations there is also a new widely used term – „over tourism“ that makes many tourism providers worried. Several destinations, especially Italy, Spain and France, encounter the negative effects of over tourism – so how can we prevent that other authentic destinations will not become overcrowded and lose their uniqueness?
And so we’re already in December and it’s time to write my “year in review” post. I do this each year to reflect on all the business activities and thank to all the partners and event attendees. It’s been a phenomenal year, fast paced and exciting. It brought new networking opportunities, innovative ideas and few last minute projects that turned out to be very successful.
We hosted three #EventPlannersTalk events, worked on two social media campaigns, travelled internationally and attended industry events, and the year is not over yet! Let’s look closer at each activity.
All trend predictions say that influencer marketing in the MICE industry is going to be big in 2018. Nothing new for leisure tourism, food, fashion and many other industries, but the MICE industry has still many question marks, some of which we aimed to answer at the recent #EventPlannersTalk Twitter chat about MICE Influencers.
I reach out to the global event community on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to suggest the topics they would like to discuss and got the most important and urgent questions that the industry wants to know.