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Digital guru Ben Hammersley addresses Scottish business tourism conference

One of the world’s leading digital gurus has urged members of Scotland’s business tourism industry to harness technology to improve the happiness of their workforces and prevent them from becoming “psychologically desperate”.

In a keynote speech to the Business Tourism Scotland conference 2014 entitled The Very Big Picture, author and television presenter Ben Hammersley explained how noise, lighting and temperature can affect people’s productivity, and how conference organisers and office managers should pay particular attention to “environmental psychology”.  

Ben said: “It’s incumbent on the likes of hotel owners, office managers and event organisers to create an environment where thinking is easy and pleasant.”  

Organised by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise and supported by Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau, Marketing Edinburgh, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (People Make Glasgow) and Visit Aberdeen, hundreds of members of Scotland’s business tourism industry were set to attend today’s conference at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.  

Ben added: “In Scotland, you really have to pay attention to environmental cues. We have to pay a lot of attention to things like light, temperature and sound, or things can get psychologically desperate.  

“Ambient noise in the workplace, caused by things like fans and air conditioning, can create a noise which sounds creepy and becomes oppressive, while some fluorescent lights flicker in a way that most people can’t always see – making some people nauseous and giving others headaches.  

Ben explained how modern computer software and lighting can help improve the mood and productivity of staff.  

He also stressed that, even when modern technology allows virtual meetings to take place, face-to-face gatherings are still “incredibly valuable, but only if they are run properly”.  

The Business Tourism Scotland Conference is an invaluable opportunity for the Scottish meeting industry to meet and network.  

Other speakers included Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing, VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay and David Campbell, a founding director of Banks Sadler.  

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Tourism at VisitScotland, said: “Ben Hammersley has his finger on the pulse when it comes to the changing nature of technology and business and he will certainly give our delegates some food for thought.   

“This has been an extraordinary year for Scotland, with our stunning range of venues, accommodation and facilities showcased to a massive global audience. In the afterglow of 2014, Scotland is now recognised as a place to host world-class events and this year’s Business Tourism Scotland conference will show how the industry can use 2014 as a springboard for continued success.”

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