Diversity and women in events are two topics high on our agenda this year. It came to my attention early this year when I attended the Best of Events International in Dortmund and listed to Kerstin Wünsch, editor-in-chief at the German trade publication tw tagungswirtschaft and the co-founder of She Means Business conference that had its debut at IMEX Frankfurt this year.
In Dortmund Kerstin presented the results of a study conducted by tw tagungswirtschaft, m+a report and IMEX Group in 2017 called “Women in the events industry – on eye level with men?” and it was a packed session, clearly showing the interest to address the challenges women are facing across areas including salary, responsibility, freedom of action, career opportunities, training and trust.
After learning about this event, I attended She Means Business in May and it lived up to its expectations. Close to 400 participants attended the conference, out of which 10 percent were men. Kerstin is very involved in the events industry in Germany, where she is based, and when you meet her in person you will be also amazed how passionate, committed and engaged she is and a true leader advocating for more equality for women in the events industry.
End of last year I e-met on Twitter Pauline Kwasniak, the Ireland based founder of TurnedSee and we naturally started chatting about the industry. Being active in the digital space myself, I immediately felt that Pauline also “gets it”, and perhaps that’s why quickly we found a common language. She is one of the leading industry vloggers, and vlogs weekly on Facebook. The first video that I saw and caught my attention was called “If you are not visible to your potential clients on SOCIAL MEDIA you are ultimately INVISIBLE”. Since then I enjoy following her entrepreneurial journey and delighted to share it also with you here. This boss lady walks the talk and puts out an enormous amount of B2B content, on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and interacts with her community on a daily basis. I want to give her a big applause for her hustle online and offline.
Let’s start from the beginning, how did you get into the events industry?
I have been involved in events, since I was a little girl. Back in Poland, I was involved in various charity and local events. When I moved over to Ireland at 16, I did the same in school and college. After my graduation, I started to work with various events and corporate clients, before launching my own venues sourcing and groups hosting agency hotel4meetings.com. However, having worked with many corporate clients, I found it problematic to research unique venues and quickly match them with the client’s needs. Together with my team I have developed TurnedSee – which using our proprietary software can match the right buyer, to the right venues at the right time.
End of May I attended the Traverse Conference in Rotterdam, an event for bloggers, content creators, influencers and PR professionals. This was my first Traverse event, after attending their blogger sessions at the World Travel Market. This conference was aimed mainly at travel bloggers, and about 400 people attended the week-long event. It started officially on Monday the 21 May with mid-week events and the main conference took place on the weekend of 26 – 27 May. Additionally, there were co-working spaces for those who arrived earlier and wanted to get some work done. I arrived on Wednesday night, and stayed until Monday morning and that was the right time to experience the host destination Rotterdam and make the most out of my time there.
I think that the MICE industry can learn from what travel bloggers are doing as there are many overlaps. Bloggers are not only content creators, they are digital marketers who’ve build strong personal brands and communities. Similarly, event planners travel a lot; post photos from hotel rooms, food, incentives, so why not do it more strategically with the aim to sell their services or build a personal brand?
Therefore, I decided to share this post here with you to help you to showcase your work better online. As the lines between leisure and business travel blur, MICE suppliers should be paying even closer attention to what their leisure counterparts are doing when it comes to influencer marketing. The consumer journey begins early on social media, and the discovery starts. Social media plays an important part in how people will then interact and book their trips (business or leisure) and how they will spend their time at the destination.
But now let’s get to the content part. The content was excellent! It ranged from inspirational and creative tips for improving the blog to practical seminar sessions about how to improve technical aspects such as SEO, Adobe Lightroom, and perhaps the most exciting part for many bloggers, how to make money. There were four education streams simultaneously, and sometimes it was very hard to choose one!
This year’s IMEX Frankfurt ended on a positive note for the Monaco Convention Bureau, where both the quality and the high number of qualified buyers exceeded exhibitors’ expectations. Nine partners joined the Monaco Convention Bureau this year as well as the local representatives from the UK and DACH. Various activities were on offer to enjoy between the meetings. The mixologist from the Columbus Monte-Carlo Hotel served refreshing cocktails and a therapist from the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo offered hand massage for visitors. And that’s not all, the Executive Chef Philippe Joannès from The Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel was also on site to prepare delicious canapes and give the guests a little taste what it’s like to host an event in Monaco.
Stand partners who joined this year included the hotels Columbus Monte-Carlo, Fairmont Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo SBM Group. The following DMCs: DreamCatcher, Incentive Concept, Lafayette Monaco, Raising Stones Events and Welcome Travel Team / Publi Créations. Last but not least the congress centre Grimaldi Forum Monaco was also at the show.
Exclusively Corporate is a conference specifically designed for the needs of corporate event planners. It offers a full day of education and networking at IMEX Frankfurt and takes place as part of EduMonday. This year it took place on 14 May.
One of the morning sessions that I attended was about how to put the WOW factor into events. It was an innovation panel with speakers from two technology giants: Rena Lindell, Head of Sponsorships at LinkedIn and Amy Brown Head of Creative Strategy at Google. The session was moderated by Patrick M. Delaney and Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partners at Sool Nua.
The danger for any tech company is using tech for tech’s sake. Therefore, these companies need to find ways to bring tech to life in ways that make their companies more human and connect with the customers on a personal level. And this they can achieve by hosting live events, and making the customers leave the event knowing that they are better off.
In-house teams work with multiple agencies on a regular basis, employing several agencies for different projects at the same time not to give them too much workload. Alternatively, when the companies are involved as sponsors, they have less decision making power and control over the final event outcome.