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How does terrorism affect destination decisions?

John Fisher reviews the factors to take into account
Terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul and elsewhere have prompted lots of media comment about ‘safe places’ to take corporate meetings and conference delegates. It makes interesting editorial copy, but it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.


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How to make events less stressful

John Fisher provides a checklist of 7 essentials

A recent survey by Q Hotels in the UK highlighted the fact that more than 70% of event organisers lose at least two hours sleep the night before organising an important event.
More than a quarter reported that they feel anxious before an event. 98% say that they need time for their body to recover after an event due to all the pressures exerted by the constant do-it-now demands of professional event management.
Being concerned that all the planning goes right on the big day is not exclusive to event organisers, of course.


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MICE business needs peace

Destinations can suffer overnight

We have to face the fact that in many countries of the world terrorism is not only disrupting tourism but is actually targeting the tourist industry. One serious incident can ruin tourism business overnight.
Naturally, MICE events are very sensitive to any prospect of danger. Organisers are not going to risk wasting investment in preparation for an event that may have to be cancelled. Companies, of course, are not going to choose a risky destination as a venue for hosting the cream of their workforce or clients. ‘Safety’ is now a box that has to be ticked whenever a destination is being considered.


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Allow enough time to prepare . .

. . to ensure a happy audience

It’s easy to criticise an event for spelling mistakes on the screen or for an inaccurate delegate badge, but when your event is under way no-one stops to think about all the trials and tribulations endured to avoid those errors.
Sometimes the professional organiser gets a bigger kick out of rescuing an event from disaster than from the perfect execution of a well-trodden, regular event with no surprises. But how long should you spend putting an event together and is there such a thing as having too much or too little event preparation time?


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Give your event a theme

John Fisher shows how to attract more delegates

Imagine a world where people have no names. It would be very confusing for everyone. It also suggests that individuals are not very important. But as we know, individuals do have their own personality with a unique contribution to make. Being different can change groups of people and even nations by the sheer force of that difference. Personal charisma can even change history.

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Istanbul is the place for events

Sam Robson Group Events Director at The Appointment Group, gives her view of the Turkish capital as a MICE destination

Known as the city where Europe meets Asia across the Bosphorus, Istanbul is also the meeting of ancient history and super cool – and an ideal location for both conference and reward events. A huge, bustling city with a population over 15m, it is just a three-and-a-half hour flight from London with British Airways, Turkish Airlines and low cost carriers flying several times each day.

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Why did BVEP publicly discourage UK Events Week?

Isn’t it supposed to encourage MICE initiatives?

ITCM was surprised to receive a release from Michael Hirst, Chair of The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) distancing that body from UK Events Week, an initiative announced by Mash Media to coincide with their show, Confex 2016, 29th February to 4th March. .

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Event management is a team game

Low-cost procurement might be dangerous

When we ask for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice. In other words, if we are putting together a complex event we often have a number of go-to suppliers who we know can do the job and also deliver it the way we want it. They may not be the cheapest or the most fashionable or have beautiful offices but we have been working together for a long time and we understand each other…mostly.

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Don’t spend incentive funds on the wrong people

Apply these basic rules

By definition, incentive travel means going somewhere as a result of an incentive campaign. Otherwise it’s just group travel.
But how many organisers are aware of what participants have had to do to qualify for such events and does it make any difference to the delivery of the travel experience on the ground, even if some have not actually qualified?


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Keeping track of delegates

John Fisher chips in with a suggestion

Pet owners may well be familiar with microchips that carry information in a small, plastic RFID, usually inserted into the back of an animal’s neck. In the UK some 7m pets are ‘chipped’ in this way, so that, if lost, they can easily be returned to their anxious owners.
It was Dr Mark Gasson who first pioneered the idea of data-carrying chips for humans in 2009 in the UK. The chip would carry vital health information in the event of accident or an incapacitating illness, so that medical professionals could diagnose problems more quickly and restore the patient to health again.


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State your budget and save time

.. and events will benefit, says John Fisher, Director, FMI Group

When you walk into a shop, with the intention of buying something, you generally have a pretty good idea of how much cash you have in your pocket or what you might expect to pay for the item you are seeking. The only decision then is whether to pay slightly more for slightly better quality. It’s called consumer choice.
So, why is it that when you buy corporate services such as events and travel the buyer almost always says the budget is secret?


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Are hosted buyers the answer?

Do compulsory appointments spoil the show?

So, you’ve got your hosted buyer status sorted, flights organised, dinner with a prestigious hotel group and promises of champagne receptions for several hours on the trot. Then comes the tricky bit…what to do about those troublesome timed appointments?
If you’ve ever been speed-dating, you will soon get the idea. The deal is that you have to see everyone, even the ones you think you would never in a million years be interested in.


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Is hospitality worth the trouble?

John Fisher, Director, FMI Group, asks incisive questions

After a recent seminar I conducted for event organisers about the UK Bribery Act…emphasising the point that hospitality was not illegal and that the Ministry of Justice was really not interested in who you may take to Wimbledon this year… one delegate from the pharmaceutical industry asked if it was okay, then, to still put chocolates on the pillows of cardiac specialists as a gift from the organisers. My reply was that if a heart surgeon was really going to be ‘unduly influenced’ by chocolates on his pillow, it’s probably time to look for another medic.

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When no show is a good show

Expensive extras can dilute the message

Once the venue is sorted, many conference organisers plunge headlong into ‘The Show’. But we know that deciding what to say can be problematic.
If the delegates are employees, there are sensitivities regarding who is delivering the message, how it should be said and what baggage they carry as internal speakers.
Add in that most finance or IT directors are not specifically employed for their sparkling charisma or ability to project a message and you begin to appreciate the complexities of mass human communication.


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What makes a destination attractive?

image

The award-winning 3D film of Jerusalem helps to provide an answer

Everyone engaged in the global travel sector is asked by acquaintances ‘Which is the best trip you have ever made?’
That is an impossible question to answer, of course, without defining the word ‘best’. Was it a canoe trip on the Zambezi close to the edge of the Victoria Falls? Was it a day with a group in Disney’s Magic Kingdom? Was it attending a ball in Vienna?
If the question relates to a choice of destination for an incentive group, then there are entirely different criteria. What is the age range of the award winners? Does the host company prefer some kind of connection with its core business? How important is the overall cost? What about flight connections? And so on . .


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More optimism in the MICE sector

Incentives are back in fashion

ITCM is in touch daily with scores of MICE correspondents around the globe. We are very pleased to report that we are receiving more and more notices stating that MICE business is on the up.
In addition to news material, we welcome enquiries from event organisers asking if we can be of assistance in bringing them up-to-date on specific destinations or venues that they are considering. These enquiries, too, are on the increase.


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Real-time voice translations make progress

Science fiction becoming reality

Microsoft has recently started the preview program for Skype Translator, which allows English and Spanish speakers to converse in their native languages. I find that a wonderful use of technology.
Much like the Universal Translator used in Star Trek, Skype’s system uses speech recognition and intelligent translation technology, which, thanks to its machine-learning, gets smarter the more it is used.


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Ebola can be a threat to international gatherings

Ebola precautionary measures

Behaviour protocol should be established for the future

The world has great sympathy for so many people in parts of West Africa who have lost family members to the dreadful ebola epidemic. No one can fail to appreciate how appalling it must be to live in an affected area and to see the fever spread around you.
It has at last become a priority for nations outside the affected areas to provide assistance as rapidly as possible – and, at the same time, to do everything possible to protect their own nations from its spread.


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When the show goes on . .

. . . the destination is on show

Organisers of large events, with several hundred delegates up to many thousands, don’t just choose a venue. They choose a destination.
Large numbers of senior people from many countries, with lots of disposable income, will not only participate in sessions in a venue, but will be seeking alternative places to eat and drink, tourist sights to visit, attractions to take in on a leisure activity.


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MICE on the move

Business is arriving – but from different sources

There is a definite sense that the MICE sector is showing signs of recovery. At present it is mainly in terms of enquiries for events, but there have been some notably big pieces of business. The interesting pointer is that recent big contracts, especially for incentives, have come from the emerging markets.
The outstanding source is China and there is also lots of new potential in countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Korea.


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