This year, I was supposed to host the first International MICE Forum at ITB Berlin, but unfortunately, it was cancelled. The announcement came on 28 February 2020, just a few days before the trade show was due to open to international visitors. According to the official statement on the ITB Berlin website, the event was cancelled ‘due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have stated their opinion that ITB Berlin be cancelled.’
When an adverse situation develops, opportunities often arise. Within a few days, ITB Berlin came up with a solution to offer a ‘Virtual Convention’ where planned talks can be recorded (whether live or online) and uploaded onto the new website of the virtual convention.
The MICE programme at ITB Berlin was organised by the Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V., the largest event association in Germany. Following the event cancellation, they reacted rapidly to host a small event on 5 March at the International Club Berlin, which was initially booked for the MICE Night. This session brought together industry leaders to discuss crisis management, share experience and possible solutions.
I was in Berlin to attend this event. One of the International MICE Forum panellists—Han Talbot, Project Manager at Traverse—travelled to Berlin despite the event’s cancellation. Being both in Berlin, we arranged to meet and record this session about ‘Influencer events: from creating instagrammable moments to delivering ROI.’ On 6 March, we met at the highly ‘instagrammable’ hotel niu Hide to record our meeting, and I’m delighted to share with you this insightful interview about influencer marketing.
In June, I attended the leading digital economy business festival, CEBIT, in Hannover. One of my favourite sessions was “Influencer marketing: the biggest marketing shift of the decade”. The expert panel gave in-depth insights, supported by good examples, drawing on their own experiences. Recently, I decided to watch it again, and at the same time thought I would recap the session for you as well. So here we go.
The session was moderated by Jan Homann, founder and CEO at blogfoster. Speakers included Daniel Pannrucker, managing director at The Story Lab, Dr. Peter Opdemom, managing director at congstar GmbH, and Hans Piechatzek, managing director at move elevator GmbH, and vice president of the German Marketing Association.
The panel began by addressing the state of influencer marketing in Germany, using the growing interest among members of the German Marketing Association in this topic as an example. According to Piechatzek, members have noticed that consumers are shifting their attention from print to digital, with consumers under 20 years old spending (on average) three hours per day on social media. As a result, marketing professionals who want to reach their target audience—those who spend so much time on social media—need to explore new ways of reaching this audience.
Companies, big and small, feel they must do something about this new shift to online, however, they do not know how. There is a high level of uncertainty among the smaller players, and these small to medium-size companies, regional and local (as opposed to multinationals) are still exploring the best methods of implementation. This creates more questions than answers.
Influencer marketing is currently a hot topic in the MICE industry. The leisure travel industry has been implementing it successfully since around 2012 as I can remember when I visited the Wold Travel Market. The MICE industry, on the other hand, is slowly testing it since last year. Given that we have so much to learn from the leisure travel industry, ITB Berlin was the perfect opportunity to organise an Event Planners Talk live session about this topic. Each year ITB Berlin has a dedicated MICE programme organised by their official partner, the German Event Planners Association, Verband der Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V. (VDVO). This year a half day conference took place, along the MICE Hub exhibition and MICE Night in the evening at an external venue, International Club Berlin. The Event Planners Talk took place just before the MICE Night and welcomed international planners.
For this session we had the pleasure to welcome Nicholas Montemaggi, Chief Marketing Officer at iambassador, and Erik Mortensen, Head of Business Events Denmark at Visit Denmark. I met Nicholas back in 2012 at the World Travel Market when he was working for the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board and was one of the first destinations to run an influencer campaign, Blog Ville. I worked with Visit Denmark on the #everythingiscloser campaign that they launched end of last year.
All trend predictions say that influencer marketing in the MICE industry is going to be big in 2018. Nothing new for leisure tourism, food, fashion and many other industries, but the MICE industry has still many question marks, some of which we aimed to answer at the recent #EventPlannersTalk Twitter chat about MICE Influencers.
I reached out to the global event community on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to suggest the topics they would like to discuss and got the most important and urgent questions that the industry wants to know.