28 May 2019

Tap into local expertise and sector know-how to build better business events

Providing environments that resonate with your attendees’ industry and business focus is key for engaging experiences

By Matthias Schultze, German Convention Bureau

How do conference planners choose destinations? Why do they go for one country or city and not the other? The parameters influencing this choice are complex and intertwining. Topic, target group, competitive situation and not least budget are just a few factors to mention here. However, if I had to name one element that is taking on increasing importance in the decision-making process, I would go for relevant industry expertise at your chosen destination that enriches the experience attendees have. As we know from our research 74% of event planners say that access to relevant know-how is important when choosing a destination – and here’s why.

Attendees look for events that make a difference

With the digital transformation marching on in recent years, we have seen the meeting and event sector undergoing tremendous change. How we meet, why we meet, how suppliers market their service; all these things are in flux. They transform and evolve. One key factor in this environment that no one within the meeting and event community can afford to ignore any longer is the growing importance of the attendee experience. The latest results of the “Future Meeting Space” research that the German Convention Bureau undertakes with a variety of industry partners make it very clear that how you engage attendees is vital for the success of business events – and this means creating experiences that really make a difference for the people attending and add value for them.

Meetings and conferences as connectors to business hubs and industry expertise

Association meetings, corporate events or product launches are all occasions where people come together to connect, network and, most importantly, learn. Knowledge transfer is one of the most important reason for people to attend meetings, congresses and other business events and the importance of local expertise in key sectors is evident in this context. Destinations where meetings can be integrated in and tap into an existing pool of business leaders, scientists, engineers, academics and experts can add another level of know-how provision to your agenda.

Connecting your attendees with industry communities in a destination means people can be inspired and learn. Be it site visits, get-togethers, speakers or other elements – if the quality of your event’s surrounding resonates with attendees, their work, expertise and business challenges, you can offer more opportunities for learning, sharing knowledge, creating connections and ultimately, provide a better experience.

Germany using expertise in key sectors to provide tailor-made experiences

In Germany, for example, we look at six key sectors in which the country plays a major role as a global leader and agenda setter to tailor meetings and events to the needs of event planners in different industries. From technology and innovation to healthcare, the environment or transport and logistics, the fact that the country can offer these hubs of expertise for organisers to use and connect with is an important element that has contributed to establishing Germany in the group of top international destinations for meetings and events. The very specific German de-centralised landscape of commercial and scientific clusters that cover the whole country and that also unlock smaller cities as destinations for business events provide conference planners with valuable resources and flexibility to be creative in their approach to design experiences that really connect attendees with the place, rather than just sit in a room that could be anywhere in the world.

Numerous conversations with a wide variety of event professionals at the recent IMEX in Frankfurt also confirm my believe that the focus on putting meetings and conferences in context with local expertise is vital for our industry’s future development. Meetings and conferences are, essentially, about bringing people and their know-how together. Meeting planners should therefore make use of the connecting powers destinations can provide to ensure that attendees get the most out of their experience – including unique insights into local expertise that will make your event stand out.

Matthias Schultze, Managing Director, GCB German Convention Bureau e.V.

In 2010, Matthias took up his current role as managing director of the GCB German Convention Bureau. He is passionate about driving change and innovation, focusing on future proofing meetings and events as vital platforms for knowledge exchange. Together with industry partners, Matthias has initiated various projects, such as the “Future Meetings Space” innovation alliance, that focus on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the digital transformation.

Never miss the latest article from Matthias by following him on LinkedIn.