What if there were a set of values that acted as a code of conduct between event professionals? Could this improve the industry by offering guidance around negotiations? These were just some of the questions under discussion at the #EventPlannersTalk live event on 31 May 2017 which took place in both London and Frankfurt.
In 2016, with the aim of improving values and ethics across the event industry WerteFoundation developed The Kodex, which serves as a code of practice for stakeholders including customers, employees, competitors and suppliers. The code aims to encourage a long term vision around the improvement of the event industry and the success of it’s reputation by reducing conflict or misunderstanding in business procedures.
The key 7 values of The Codex are honesty, loyalty, courage, respect, vision, responsibility and reliability.
In partnership with Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau and the German Event Planners Association the event brought together event professionals to evaluate the value of vision and look at how it could apply to the different stakeholders.
On arrival at The Royal College of Physicians in London attendees were welcomed with a networking drinks reception before moving on to the stunning Dorchester library for the discussion. The Royal College of Physicians will soon be 500 years old and this room full of ancient texts and manuscripts not only provided the wow factor for attendees but also set the context for learning.
Caleb Parker, event industry entrepreneur was the host for the evening and gave attendees an overview and introduction to the Werte Kodex as well as an overview of the purpose of the event.
Natacha Allen, Sales & Marketing Manager at Royal College of Physicians briefly introduced the venue and Livio Goetz, Market Manager UK & Ireland at Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau shared why “your business vision starts in Switzerland”.
After a short group discussion on the tables attendees then broke out into groups using the World Café format. Each group discussed questions around the impact of the values on each stakeholder, answering the questions “Do we need a value code in the event industry?” and “How can stakeholders be incentivised to adopt the code?” After 15 minutes they moved on to the next table, to discuss the questions in relation to a different stakeholder, until they had attended discussions in each group. There were some great discussions generated around the tables and attendees had plenty to say on the topic.
During the break attendees were treated to a German and Swiss style buffet with cold meats, cheeses, sauerkraut, seafood and wine. Many of the attendees then chose to participate in the venue show round. There were several spaces to see including auditoriums, private dining areas and conference rooms.
The treasure room, displaying many artefacts was particularly interesting and the medicinal garden was great for outdoor events. The College is able to provide research on any items that are of particular interest, to add an educational element to events.
Another interesting point was that the layout of the building was based on human anatomy. For example, the library representing the brain and the room nearest the kitchen, where the large dining events are held, representing the stomach. The golden handrail that trails along the staircase represents veins running through the body.
Following the tour, attendees assembled back in the main room where each table host delivered a summary of the key points made during discussions at their tables. When asked if they believed we needed a code within the event industry attendees unanimously agreed but expressed caution that it didn’t become a barrier. Their thoughts were that by creating trust within the industry you should be able to build better relationships with suppliers, which will benefit clients. For example,if you are unable to help with a request you should have a good relationship with your competitor so that you can ask for their assistance.
Attendees also thought that by adopting a code of conduct event businesses would gain a competitive advantage, by showing themselves as responsible traders and leaders within the industry.
For employees, attendees thought there should be open communication about the company’s goals. Furthermore, employees should be treated fairly and their skills should be acknowledged and recognised.
Between suppliers and clients, attendees thought that a code could help establish a culture of clear RFP’s and timelines to improve business. With the introduction of GDPR in the next year clients and suppliers may be more restricted in what information they can send to each other so attendees believed that a value code would need to take this into account. Overall attendees focused on the fact that an industry wide value code would foster transparent communication, integrity, mutual respect and trust between event planners and suppliers.
Social media played an important role throughout the event. Attendees used the #EventPlannersTalk hashtag to tweet throughout and tweets from both Germany and London appeared on the social wall provided by SocialWall Pro that was on display. To round off the event Caleb delivered the key points via Facebook live. By livestreaming the points, more people were introduced to the idea of a value code for the industry. The same also happened in Germany, both groups were able to see what the other one had said during their discussions.
The event was very thought provoking with an innovative multi hub and digitally integrated format. Attendees left buzzing and also considering how they can improve relations and conduct better business.
Visit The MICE Blog Facebook page to see the live stream from both events.
Photos by Sandeep Rai