Association planners debate partnership approach

There is still room for improvement in the collaborative nature of working relationships between association event organisers, destinations, and venues according to discussions and feedback from the Association Forum at International Confex yesterday.
In a session on ‘Collaboration and Partnership’, representatives from venue, destination and event planning, discussed best practice, and how a partnership approach can build better and more profitable events.

Chris Trimmer, CEO of World Obesity represented the event organiser with Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SECC, and Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB), representing venue and destination respectively.

Trimmer underlined the importance of having a strong relationship with destinations and venues, “Regardless of whether you are physically organising a meeting in that destination, there should still be a relationship. This means when you do visit them, all the building blocks are in place; trust, confidence and understanding,” she commented. 

Meanwhile Warden challenged the nature of the ‘supplier’ relationship, “it’s a word that should be struck from the lexicon of this industry. True collaboration is built around shared objectives; to act like a supplier demeans the quality of the relationship,” she added. 

Award winning Glasgow City Marketing Bureau has built a strong reputation for the city’s Team Glasgow approach and Crawford brought to life some of the examples of great collaboration for association events through the You First Legacy offering. “Partnership working is engrained in the Glasgow ethos. Our close city networks and team working approach is recognised by our clients. At the heart of our offering is the client, we have a can-do attitude and we get under the skin of the organiser’s ambitions to make sure we deliver the best conference possible. Team working is pivotal to making this a success.”

In a straw poll of the audience, delegates felt that their relationships with venue and destinations were good but could be better. “It’s good to see that more and more planners see the value in collaborative relationships, we can all do better though and we’re working hard at the SECC to make this a key feature of our client relationships,” concluded Warden.

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