I have been fully involved in the MICE industry since 2011. During this time, I have attended numerous business events. For not a single moment during these years has the thought of attending as an exhibitor myself crossed my mind.
Nine years on, and this exciting day has arrived. On 18 July 2019, I exhibited for the very first time at a leading industry event in Germany called MICE Branchentreff, which took place at Lake Starnberg and was organised by Illerhaus Marketing.
For those of you who have been following my business activities closely, you will know that next year I’m launching the first international Event Planners Talk conference, which will take place in the beautiful city of Bern, the Swiss capital. The event will be held from 27–30 August 2020 and will bring an innovative combination of content, venues and side programmes for delegates to learn in the most inspiring environment.
This year from 15–20 June 2019, I participated in the second edition of the Switzerland Tourism Influencer Summit together with 29 other content creators from 22 countries. Each of us was assigned to one of the four topic groups, covering hiking and nature, lifestyle and Swiss hotels, Swiss products, producers and food and lastly, art in public spaces and architecture. Being the one covering MICE, I joined the art in public spaces and architecture group to visit Davos, Basel and Zurich.
Attending this trip was a big personal milestone for me because Davos and Basel are two iconic destinations that host world famous events including the World Economic Forum, Art Basel and Baselworld. For a long time, I had wanted to explore these two destinations and learn about their DNA. I wanted to understand what elements make these events so unique, but also the role played by the destination in their success, its infrastructure and how both the event and destination have developed over the years.
Upon arrival, my knowledge of Davos was primarily about the World Economic Forum, and after exploring the destination, I came to realise that the history of art and architecture, as well as creating a piece of art by ourselves, can demonstrate that no technological advancement can replace the necessity of people to meet face to face and conduct business.
Arrival in Davos
Switzerland is a country where it’s easy to get around by public transport, and the simplest way to get to Davos is by train. I used the Swiss Travel System 8-day pass, which provided me with unlimited travel in Switzerland by train, bus and boat. It takes 2.5 hours to travel from Zurich to Davos, and this is the moment when the experience already starts—as soon as you board the train. When travelling from Zurich to Davos, two different trains are used—the Swiss National Railway SBB and the Rhaetian Railway. Both trains provide spectacular views throughout the journey. But the Rhaetian Railway is particularly noteworthy because it operates in the mountain region of Canton Grison, so the moment you board the train in Landquart, the view changes to picturesque small villages with wooden houses, mountains, viaducts, creeks and grazing cows. It’s like a fairy tale!
Calgary is the rising star on the international MICE scene. To many, the Western Canadian city may be known for the Calgary Stampede, the 1988 Winter Olympics or that the city headquarters the major oil and gas companies operating in Alberta, which is Canada’s largest oil and natural gas producer.
Calgary is the fourth largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and its economic verticals and sectors of expertise extend beyond energy, renewable energy and green economy. These verticals also include financial services, technology, agribusiness, creative industries, real estate, transportation and logistics, manufacturing and life sciences. Calgary has a fascinating history, cultural heritage, dynamic urban life, international food, art and architecture scenes, as well as an extensive business offering, all of which we had the chance to experience from 11–14 July 2019 during the #FamPede trip.
Exclusively Corporate is a conference specifically designed for the needs of corporate event managers. It offers a full day of education and networking during EduMonday, which takes place one day prior to IMEX Frankfurt, this year on 20 May 2019.
There were six sessions this year, each approximately 20 minutes in length, dedicated to various topics that can help corporate planners improve their daily processes, become informed about the latest trends and also facilitate knowledge exchange.
One session that I found particularly interesting for my business was by Gerd De Bruycker, Marketing Director, Northern Europe at Cisco Systems regarding ‘Connecting events with your overall marketing mix.’ He began the session by asking who actually knows what Cisco does? The IT giant provides back-end support and software for the Internet—to put it simply, if you’ve sent an email today, you’ve most probably used one of Cisco’s products. Not everyone knows what Cisco does, but in fact, they are one of the largest IT companies, generating 50 billion dollars in revenue and with 70,000 employees worldwide. And, they have a global event team.
Karlsruhe and its region is a fascinating MICE destination which I had the opportunity to discover during a study trip from 24–25 May 2019 with the Convention Bureau Karlsruhe & Region. I guess that many of you know the Black Forest, but not everyone knows Karlsruhe, and in fact these are two nearby destinations which unite under one umbrella when it comes to MICE.
While the city of Karlsruhe has one of the top universities, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and is a hub for knowledge, entrepreneurship and research, the wider region also has state-of-the-art meeting spaces, such as in Pforzheim and Ettlingen, as well as diverse offerings for incentives in the wider Baden-Württemberg region (the German state where Karlsruhe and Black Forest are located), which is also one of Germany’s top wine regions.