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Meetings and Events - an industry in denial?

Meetings and Events - an industry in denial?

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Published by roger9523
Meetings and Events - an industry in denial?
I spoke recently at the MICE industry’s prestigious IMEX event in Frankfurt and at the end of my speech I shared the Change House model with the delegates:

"Which room you think the Meetings and Events industry is in?" I asked "Denial" came back the universal view. This is not sustainable. Our industry needs to change - and change dramatically - NOW. There is a fundamental of business - any business - that if the customer's needs change then as a sup
Meetings and Events - an industry in denial?
I spoke recently at the MICE industry’s prestigious IMEX event in Frankfurt and at the end of my speech I shared the Change House model with the delegates:

"Which room you think the Meetings and Events industry is in?" I asked "Denial" came back the universal view. This is not sustainable. Our industry needs to change - and change dramatically - NOW. There is a fundamental of business - any business - that if the customer's needs change then as a sup

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Published by: roger9523 on Mar 15, 2010
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09/21/2010

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Meetings and Events - an industry in denial?

I spoke recently at the MICE industry’s prestigious IMEX event in Frankfurt and at the end of my speech I shared the Change House model with the delegates:

"Which room you think the Meetings and Events industry is in?" I asked "Denial" came back the universal view. This is not sustainable. Our industry needs to change - and change dramatically - NOW. There is a fundamental of business - any business - that if the customer's needs change then as a supplier you have to respond to that immediately and not in two years as our industry has started discussing. The meetings and events industry needs to wake up since the status quo is simply not an option. You would not have believed that, however, if you visited IMEX with its lavish, sparkling exhibition stands – most. I suspect, ultimately government funded – each trying to persuade meeting professionals to book events in the country or town or specific venue. © 2009 Roger Harrop Associates

I am a former CEO of a multinational plc and if I was in that position now I have no doubt that I would be viewing any investment in a meeting or event in exactly the same way as any other investment - be it new product development, new manufacturing plant or market development. I'd be looking for a full business case to justify the investment – including detail of the anticipated payback. I would also be expecting to receive a "playback" after the event demonstrating that we actually achieved the returns that we planned. This means, of course, that to be able to demonstrate such returns on investment every event or meeting in future has to be about content and value. My checklist as a CEO for the objectives of the event would therefore include: • • • • • Learning Motivation Inspiration Reward (possibly) above all – Value

This all seems quite logical and straightforward and if you were from outside the industry you would expect this to be the norm. But it's not: CIC research suggested that very little focus is currently placed by meeting professionals on content, outcomes and payback. Maarten Vanneste in his excellent book "Meeting Architecture" argues strongly that what the MICE industry has to do is to change by 180 degrees to respond to the need for content to be king. He also proposes the need a new function, that of "Meeting Architect" to be the central figure for an event - focused on content, shape and the outcomes. The good news is that from Maarten’s book has now come an industry working party. The bad news is that it is targeted at 2011. That's far too late. The needs of the end customer have changed now. We must therefore also change now. As an industry we have had it good in the past, let's be honest, - lavishly funded incentive events, corporate and Association meetings and government funded thinly disguised "jollies". Also, perhaps, there has been an abrogating of end Client responsibility to industry "experts" to spend their money for them. No longer!

© 2009 Roger Harrop Associates

We have a food chain like no other - full of brokers and middlemen, consultants and advisers and some less than clearly defined job functions. I've had a peek at how I believe the future will look: I am a professional speaker and in July last I received a phone call from the CEO of a highly successful Dubai based corporation. "I hear you're a good speaker" he said "and you speak on business growth" "Yes" I said "Would you be interested in speaking at our annual conference in Mauritius from the 18th to 21st of February next?" "Yes" I said "I'm available then" "In that case" he said "we would like you to attend an interview and audition in London in August together with three other candidates" I went for the audition, which was held with the CEO and his VP of Marketing, and was successful. I was then flown to Dubai in September for a two-day briefing on the company and for an introduction to and meeting with the AV supplier and the event management company both of which had just been appointed. The Client, AV manager and Event Company Director and myself then went through a forensic examination of the contents of my speech, slides and interactive elements in order to maximise the "fit", learning and value to the delegates. So what is so unusual here? Firstly there were no middlemen involved of any kind - no one to cloud the focus between the provider of content and value (in this case the speaker) and the event owner. Secondly the AV company was appointed early and was, I understand, not only involved with the event and speaker content but also in the selection of the venue. The selection was not just based upon location, food and beverage but with a huge impact related to the general ambiance and meeting room acoustics. It is perhaps interesting to note that the VP of Marketing told me later that they had been disappointed with event companies over the years since they appeared to know nothing about these aspects of venues that they were proposing nor did they seem to have any expertise in the design and management of meeting or event content and return on investment. The result, he said, was that they had to have a much greater involvement and

© 2009 Roger Harrop Associates

in fact he has always had to make a number of trips to potential venues himself, together with the AV company, before making a decision. So what we learn from this? It seems to me that increasingly this is the way that event owners will want to function in future to ensure that they are intimately involved in ensuring that they get the return on their investment they are looking for. • They will wish to appoint a Meeting Architect early - either an independent or from within an event company - to be the "quarterback" masterminding the shaping of the event in terms of its content and value. They will appoint the AV company early and use them as an adviser. They will want to be involved in the detail of event and speaker content

• •

We also must take from this that outside of the fundamental triumvirate of the Meeting Architect, AV supplier and speaker everyone else in the industry will need to be able to demonstrably show how they add value (in the view of the owner - be they a corporate, Association or government) to survive into the future. Are you in denial?

Roger Harrop is an International Speaker who inspires and entertains his audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® series. Over 10000 CEOs and others have achieved transformational change through his thought provoking and entertaining talks laced with real-life stories, anecdotes and humour. He is a former CEO of a highly successful high tech multi-national publicly quoted company, author, consultant, mentor and leadership tutor. To receive his FREE NEWSLETTER go to www.rogerharrop.com

© 2009 Roger Harrop Associates

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