The recent roundtable discussions organised by The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) at the QEII Centre found that trust, transparency and sharing of knowledge are key when it comes to delegate acquisition and partnership working within the industry.
Roundtable events, which are held under Chatham House Rules, offer ABPCO members the opportunity to share their opinions on industry challenges whilst also providing a platform to develop ideas for best practice.
“The latest roundtable event was a huge success and those attending are a real example to the profession,” comments Caroline Windsor, joint-chair of ABPCO. “I think we can all agree that delegate acquisition is a science that is becoming increasingly sophisticated and our challenge is to find skilled resource to achieve our clients’ objectives. A lot of the day was focused on maximising the effectiveness of partnership working, with sharing of knowledge, trust and transparency by all stakeholders being highlighted as absolutely essential when creating a successful and popular event.”
Case studies from Kathleen Warden of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and Sarah Fitzpatrick of MCI Group started the day before open discussion and debate regarding matters such as:
• The financial challenges faced when investing heavily into an event to assure its success. • Driving interest by investing in delegate benefits, an increase in technology and the guarantee of content and education to meet the needs of segmented target audiences • The importance, benefits and financial restrictions of marketing, advertising, PR and social media both in-house and externally • Importance of destinations and whether cultural experiences can help boost delegate numbers. • The benefits of strong Corporate Social Responsibility within the event’s community and the effect it can have on delegate acquisition
After a morning of discussion and debate, the event continued with an afternoon Partnership Workshop looking at challenges faced by the industry in areas such as finance, availability, information sharing and joint marketing.
“The opportunity to share best practice and take that back to our own business has been fantastic for us,” comments Jaime Bennett, Conference and Events Manager of Visit Belfast. “Knowing that other professionals within the industry face the same challenges and the opportunity to share knowledge at these kinds of events is phenomenal.”
The presenters and panel members included:
• Caroline Windsor, Key Account Director, TFI Group and joint-chair, ABPCO • Sarah Fitzpatrick, Director, MCI UK • Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales, SECC • Sue Etherington, Head of International Sales and Industry Relations, QEII Centre • Maris Kuklis, Senior Manager, Dubai Business Events • Paul Szomoru, Head of Business Tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative • Sandra Eyre, Sales Manager – Association, ACC Liverpool
ABPCO is the UK’s leading organisation for professional conference and event organisers, industry associates and those studying for, or seeking a career in the conference and meetings industry. For more information about ABPCO visit www.abpco.org