EIBTM CEO Summit - Debate, game-changing trends, insight

Friday 10, December 2010


EIBTM CEO Summit - Debate, game-changing trends, insight


“There is huge potential for the industry in post recession growth, the global economy is improving and CEO’s are signing off discretionary spend, people are cautiously optimistic”.


These were just three of the key points to emerge from the first presentation at the annual EIBTM CEO Summit held in Barcelona last week. The new format this year included three powerful presentations to the global group of 60 CEO members who represent every part of the meetings and events industry.


Engaging with the audience, UK Economist Professor Dominic Swords spoke first and gave an overview of the global economy and post-recession growth. He spoke of why this current economic climate can be a great time to take business risks, to merge, or to acquire. He said that there is “huge opportunity in a post recession stage” and that whilst there are clear signs of a stronger economic platform around the corner there will still be short-term bail out activity.  East will not replace West but the best portfolio of clients will be balanced across geographies, and across industry sectors. People are more optimistic but not necessarily enthusiastic which, he believes, is yet to return.   


Swords asked the audience if their business confidence had improved over the past year and 75% of the audience gave a resounding “yes” with a show of hands. Roger Tondeur CEO, MCI Group Holding said: “We are trying to be positive about the future and our clients are pretty confident that we are on the way out of recession”.


Ali Monassar, Founder and Chairman of The Vision Destination Management in the UAE commented that as one of the leading DMC’s in the Gulf he had noticed a shift in where the business is now coming from. There is new demand from countries in Asia, plus business from China, India, Turkey, and Iran replacing what was previously repeat business from the “regular” destinations that had always come to the region. 


The subject of Social Media and its relevance in the meetings industry was presented by Felix Haas CEO of Amiando, Europe’s leading online service for on-demand event organisation and event ticketing. He opened his presentation by saying that social media platforms are now mainstream within big corporation’s and outlined why it is difficult to build a brand if you ignore social media.  He also said that technology is going to play a big part in the future to help prove the value of meetings, “but it’s not just about apps” he continued, “it’s also about content and messaging”. 


Haas also talked about the role and importance of social media in promoting events, because increasingly they want to talk and share information amongst themselves before attending an event, whilst they are onsite and after they have left. “It’s about sharing information and content with online communities, because it will make a real difference to marketing for meetings and events.” He added.


Mark Wright, Chairman of Simple Experience presented 'The Power of Live Events'.  He talked about how, well crafted live events, are one of the most important and powerful elements within the marketing mix. However he warned that it costs just as much to create a bad event as it does to create a good one, so clients must be focused in what they are trying to achieve. He also said that it’s about measuring the ROI on an entire marketing campaign rather than just trying to evaluate one live event. Wright believes that Gen Y will struggle with live events where they are required to sit still during presentations. “The format is going to have to change to include much more interactive exchange and the ability to showcase best practice through dynamic workshop experiences” he said.  


One of the easiest changes to affect the planning of live events is to; “absolutely insist upon sincere and authentic ‘voices’ representing the client company. Superficial, gratuitous speakers are easily ‘discovered’ and will reflect poorly on the event campaign and mother brand.  Internal and external speakers who talk with credible authority are massively important”, he added.


Summing up the day, Jeremy Garbett, CEO Chair said, “The immediate feedback from today has been very generous and considered. The invited audience of CEO’s were engaged throughout and contributed hugely to the debate and exchanges. I am delighted with the event and it provides a brilliant platform for next year’s Summit at EIBTM”.



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