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.
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.
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.
This coming May will be one year since I teamed up with Laura Notarbartolo, Founder at Italian Special Occasions DMC and Farhan Huseynli and his wife Aysel, independent photographers, videographers and producers, to create a documentary about Milazzo, Sicily. Several content pieces have been produced about this journey, and next week I will host an Event Planners Talk event during ITB Berlin, at the International Club Berlin regarding the topic ‘Over-tourism and the MICE industry — looking for solutions’. I will be joined by Laura Notarbartolo, Pauline Kwasniak from TurnedSee and Joel Francisco Vicente from LineUp Events Factory and Portugal Incoming DMC and together we will address this problem further, as well as look for applicable solutions that group travel bookers can implement strait away.
The following post is a case study example of how this project resonates with the topic of over-tourism and what can be done to support small regions, their local business and crafts and ensure that their legacy will live on.