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.
The recent Event Planners Talk took place on 21 February at Allianz Park in London. It was entitled ‘Pitching for Success: Pitfalls and Opportunities’. We welcomed an esteemed panel of leading business leaders specialising in corporate events: Kevin Jackson, founder of The Experience is the Marketing, Scott Seaman Digby Collins, Group CEO at Hawtrey Dene Group, Craig Pugh, Proposal Response Manager at DRP Group and Angie Mason, Chairman at Absolute Corporate Events. The discussion was moderated by Caleb Parker, Future in 15 Show host. This panel discussion was a follow-up on a previous Q & A with Kevin Jackson, focusing on whether agencies should charge for pitching and why building a relationship is a more effective alternative to the often-uncertain pitching process. The discussion offered multiple perspectives from both agency and compliance sides on the issue of charging for pitches, and ultimately why that wouldn’t become an industry standard.
Pitching: agency’s cost of sales
According to Angie, there should not be a charge for pitching. It doesn’t matter in what business you are in, there will always be a cost associated with gaining a new piece of business, and only if you have a product or service clients want will they subsequently buy it. According to Craig, it’s also ‘no.’ Throughout his career, it hasn’t occurred to him that they’ve charged for pitching because it is rather difficult to argue the case forward. In contrast, they turn down pitches ‘When you start seeing many pitches coming in without particular opportunity you have to be very careful moving forward.’ Whatever business you have, you will have to cost your sales. Kevin added that ‘Most people put this cost to advertising. Those who don’t advertise, their cost of sales is pitching. We just spend what we need, and that can be any amount. Hence, you have to say ‘no’ to pitching because you can’t pitch most of the time.’ Kevin has mentioned to clients in the past that ‘I can’t afford to pitch; give me the work I’ll do it but I’m not going to pitch for it.’ That provides a way of handing this situation as well.
‘There is no such thing as sales’ is the name of Kevin Jackson’s latest book. He shares the encapsulation of his past 20 years working in advertising and marketing with the leading agencies, including Jack Morton Worldwide, George P. Johnson and now his newly launched businesses in strategic consultancy and events, including The Experience is the Marketing, Muslim Lifestyle Show, London Halal Food Festival and Blueprints.org.
On 21 February, Kevin was a keynote speaker at the Event Planners Talk event about ‘pitching for success: pitfall and opportunities’ and shared very important insights about how agencies can win business without needing to enter the often-uncertain pitching process against other agencies, and instead, make themselves the agency of choice from the get-go.
The Next Event Planners Talk x Future in 15 event is just around the corner, with less than one week to go. We are excited to welcome everyone on Thursday, 21 February 2019 for the event ‘pitching for success: pitfalls and opportunities’ at Allianz Park in London, our official event sponsor.
February 2019 marks the fourth year that I have collaborated with Caleb Parker, the host of the Future in 15 Show (in fact, the first event took place on 24 February 2015, so it’s almost a 4-year anniversary!). Four years ago, Caleb first spoke on my panel about social media for events, and he has subsequently moderated more of my events. Later in February 2017, Caleb launched his own YouTube series ‘Future in 15 Show’, which highlights innovation in the events sector and so, going forward, it was a natural decision to collaborate on content production and live events.
I’m sure that many of you have met Pauline Kwasniak, the Founder and CEO of TurnedSee, at one of the industry events, and if not face to face, then online. She is the queen of video on Facebook, and a true leader for encouraging the use of technology in the events industry. Hence, it is not a surprise that I first started chatting with Pauline on Twitter; we then met at IMEX Frankfurt this year, and keep in touch on social media to exchange knowledge and ideas. Her company TurnedSee connects corporate buyers with suppliers on the digital platform that she is currently developing, to help make the event planning process smoother. She is also a digital industry influencer who works with hotels and destinations and helps them connect with their target audience.
Previously, Pauline worked on the agency side, and as a millennial, she understood that there’s a gap in the market for a better venue sourcing experience. Being a target market herself back then, she felt that the current process is not good enough, and not sufficiently fast. She therefore realised that she needs to develop a platform that will fix this.
Pauline is also one of our speakers for next week’s collaborative Event Planners Talk and Future in 15 event at Allianz Park ‘Is the DMC dead’, joining us remotely via a conference call from Derry. Her mindset for innovation in technology, international experience and entrepreneurial spirit are contagious, and despite not being able to physically attend the live event, she has a very strong online presence that will make for a very interesting interactive video conference during the panel discussion.