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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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Aerial drones are seen at more events

Make sure you know the rules, advises Simon Clayton

Radio-controlled aircraft aren’t a new thing by any means, but, lately, drones seem to have captured the public interest like nothing we’ve seen before in this field. Such is the explosion of interest that the UK’s first consumer drone event, UK Drone Show 2015, is being held at the NEC in Birmingham in December 2015.
Some of this interest in the latest selection of drones stems from their advanced electronics. They are gyro-stabilised, which means they aren’t as hard to fly – but don’t get me wrong; that doesn’t mean they are easy to fly either.


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Low-cost spherical photography is a benefit

Meeting room at the Brooklands Hotel - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

See this example of a hotel meeting room

There is nothing new about panoramic imagery to capture 360-deg images, but before digital photography it was difficult to view the images. Now, with the technology is more practical and easier to use.
Thanks to digital photography, a panorama can be created using nearly every digital camera and smartphone and the results can be shared easily online and on most smart devices. The technology is now so readily available that it has moved into the mainstream, with even small businesses adopting the trend.


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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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5 essentials for 2015

Concentrate on the basics and not the fluff

There have been numerous predictions over the past couple of months announcing the trends that should be adopted in 2015. They are, of course, as usual, ‘going to transform the industry’ and ‘not paying attention to them will be costly’. But, these dramatics aside, what I would actually like to see this year, is everyone, instead, getting the basics right.

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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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Make use of conference content after the event

It brings multiple benefits

When it comes to conference content, I think that the majority of organisers are missing a trick by not curating, or managing, their digital assets post-presentation.
By using simple technologies such as Keynote or PowerPoint, conference content can be transformed into video resources that, once published online, can help to build a bigger audience base for next year.
If a conference delivers compelling content, why would an organiser not wish to utilise it? The answer is simple – the age-old fear of giving everything away for nothing. Fortunately, today the world is different and it doesn’t necessarily mean losing revenue.


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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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Meet with anyone from anywhere

Simon Clayton wonders if Facebook will change the format of future meetings

Discussions about virtual meetings seem to be on the increase again. Unfortunately some people seem to think it’s all new: in fact, virtual meetings have been around for years, although the technology used to be called teleconferencing. In that guise, it involved groups of people gathering in specially equipped rooms. They would be able to see and hear each other and it was fine as far as it went, but it never really took off.

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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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A safer way to choose a password

Online security is a subject I'm passionate about. Choosing a good password is the most crucial element in keeping online accounts safe. Here is an outline of the current best practice for passwords. I specifically say ‘current’ best practice, because, like most things, the advice can change from time to time and has changed over recent years.
The old advice for creating a secure password was to have a random string of upper and lower case letters interspersed with numbers and symbols.


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Time to consider our own data security

Recent stories about celebrities’ selfies being taken from their iCloud accounts and posted on the Web should have the effect of focussing everybody’s attention on data security. The problem is that all too often that phrase is interpreted as referring only to whether or not some remote corporation is doing all that it should to protect our personal information.

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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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User Experience is more about technique than technology

Simon Clayton says UX stretches beyond websites and gadgets

There’s a great deal more attention being paid to user experience (UX) these days. Unfortunately, most people see this as applying only to websites. Obviously the UX of an event website affects reactions to an event, so it’s important to get it right. In reality, though, event planners need to think about the UX of the whole event.
But let’s start with websites, since that’s usually an attendee’s first contact with an event. It’s very easy to get the UX wrong, as demonstrated by any number of sites. Maybe they make it almost impossible to locate interesting breakout sessions. Or they provide only meaningless titles for sessions with no details. Some even forget to show the date and location of the event on the home page.


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China’s dramatic increase in its spend on foreign venues

China is now second only to USA as visitor to ITCM

China is still a novel destination and event organisers can be sure that their award winners or delegates will have memorable experiences if they select some part of China for their venue or programme. It is a huge country, with unending diversity of customs and cultures, visitor attractions, flora and fauna – and it was closed to foreign visitors for long periods.

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Association meetings are still on the up

Paris and Madrid overtake Vienna

ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) has released its statistics for meetings held in 2013. They show continued growth in spite of the years of recession. As many as 11,685 regularly occurring association events which rotate between at least three countries were identified as having taken place during 2013. This was 535 more than the previous year.

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MICE promotions can work fast

Destinations and venues can reap big benefits within a couple of years

Not everyone can be a champion in a sport, but pretty well everyone has a competitive instinct in one form or another.
This instinct can be encouraged and then put to good use in business - and particularly in MICE business.
There are hundreds of thousands of people round the world setting themselves targets in all kinds of different ways. Notably there is running or just jogging. They aim for their PB – their Personal Best. It’s a natural inclination.


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Lobby wants to cut WTM down to 3 days

ANTOR members vote for shorter show

One the one hand the number of MICE exhibitions, workshops and round-table forums is increasing. On the other hand, there is a very evident demand for shows to be shorter. The most recent example was International Confex in London, which has been going for over 30 years. In 2014 it was cut from three days to two.

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Worldwide impact of a successful ICC

 Lyn Lewis-Smith, the CEO of Business Events Sydney

$50m in events secured for Sydney’s new facility at Darling Harbour

The impact of the events world on the outside world as a whole is most visible when a big conference comes to town. Cities talk in terms of millions of pounds or dollars benefit to the local economy.
However, there is even more to it than that. The additional benefits have been nicely summed up by Lyn Lewis-Smith, the CEO of Business Events Sydney.


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