I am very excited to share with you this guest blog post by Julius Solaris from the Event Manager Blog ‘More, more and more: how the events industry got it all wrong’. This article has significantly influenced how I organise my events and think about the events I attend, and I can highly recommend to anyone who works in the events industry to read it because it contains important advice about why less is actually more. Going for quality over quantity will help you add more value to your delegates and organise more successful and impactful events that have a higher purpose.
Now, every time I see an event website claiming ‘1,000+ speakers/ sessions’, it makes me cringe because it is fundamentally wrong. No attendee will have time during the several days of a conference to attend such an extensive programme, and this aim doesn’t add any value to any of the stakeholders. Offering large choice doesn’t translate to better events and Julius brings this point across very well! A must read!!
Valerie’s updates were constantly visible on my Twitter feed in the past one and a half years, and she is notably active in the digital space when it comes to hotels, hospitality and MICE. Her podcast Stimmen für die Hotellerie and her blog Hotel-O-Motion offer weekly interviews with various experts from hotels, event planners and attendees about the latest trends in this industry, with a key focus on digitalisation, particularly digital hotel management. She helps hoteliers digitalise their processes for increased guest satisfaction, higher employee retention and improving the bottom line. She tackles the daily challenges and looks at how they can be solved with practical tips and the digital tools available.
After meeting ‘online’, we met face to face at the mbt meetingplace in Frankfurt last year and kept in touch afterwards. Valerie launched her podcast less than two years ago and it has already secured a remarkable reputation in the MICE industry. Because we share a joint passion for social media and digital marketing, a topic that interests us a great deal is influencer marketing, and therefore we also recently recorded a podcast about this area in relation to the MICE industry. As a result, we’ve decided to continue producing a short podcast series of five episodes, focusing specifically on the aspect of hotels and MICE.
Podcasting is growing in popularity, with more individuals and businesses recording, listening to and talking about podcasting. There are not enough corporates in our industry yet, but clearly a change is occurring. Podcasting is effective because it goes directly into the ear of your listeners. But why is podcasting important for business and who is listening?
I met Susanne Illerhaus, founder of Illerhaus Marketing, through mutual connections at a trade show in 2018. In fact, prior to meeting her in person, her concept had been praised among colleagues in business discussions, highlighting her role as being an important MICE player in Germany. It was a pleasant surprise to meet the woman who is both a successful business owner and a MICE professional, and we immediately found a common language. Susanne organises her flagship events, called the MICE Branchentreff, multiple times per year. Each year, she fine-tunes the format and introduces new venues and destinations to her savvy audience of event professionals in Germany.
She has organised these events for the last 14 years, and during that time has built an extensive and trusting network of business partners who enjoy working with her and who are happy with the results her business platform generates. As a business owner herself who also attends and exhibits at other trade shows and events, she knows that an event such as hers must justify the time and money required for her participants. Therefore, her format is constantly developing to meet the evolving needs of her stakeholders and also engage them online through the new communication channels available today.
Festivalisation of events is a concept widely discussed in the past two years among corporate event professionals. According to a 2017 Skift megatrends report, ‘The festivalization of meetings trend started with the multidisciplinary programming at SXSW and TED, bringing together thought leaders from different sectors to share their views on driving change in a new era of global connectivity.’ South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, has been running since 1987, so certainly the concept is not new, but as we in the events industry love using new terminology every few years, the term ‘festivalisation’ is the new ‘it’ term for innovating in the corporate event space.
After being introduced myself only last year to the concept of ‘festivalisation of events’ at the ITB Berlin MICE Forum, with speakers from three events — Bits & Pretzels, Best of Events and CEBIT (which unfortunately was cancelled after the 2018 edition), I’ve had the chance to attend another event recently which makes a business case for ‘festivalisation.’ The event — KeyFrame — took place in Hamburg from 28 February–3 March 2019 and is a perfect example of how an innovative event format for the right audience and in the right city can be seamlessly executed to provide a fruitful ground for creatively, engagement, learning and networking.
Over-tourism is currently an urgent topic being discussed by travel professionals globally. It’s addressed mainly on the leisure travel side, without sufficient coverage on the MICE front. Therefore, we wanted to tackle this issue and examine possible approaches to help event planners solve the problems destinations face due to over-tourism and suggest solutions. There are popular destinations which have a high influx of travellers, and other destinations which need this particular piece of business because they require the economic benefits that a healthy and sustainable tourism flow can bring.
To cover all the above issues, we hosted an Event Planners Talk panel discussion of founders and business owners with Pauline Kwasniak from TurnedSee, Joel Francisco Vicente from LineUp Events Factory and Portugal Incoming DMC and Laura Notarbartolo from Italian Special Occasions DMC and I moderated the session. The event took place during the ITB Berlin and MICE Night on 7 March 2019 at the International Club Berlin.