Covid-19 may still be disrupting our industry heavily, but we hear about more and more successful online events from destinations where conference centres make the most of the technology available. The International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) could not but follow this trend.
On 24th and 25th September 2020 AIPC held their first hybrid annual conference in Paris. 25 AIPC members from across Europe decided to participate in the event live and travelled to Paris, whereas 125 unique participants logged on to join the conference remotely. This new format gave the event a much broader platform where all members had access to high educational content and participated in discussions about current affairs of the industry.
All participants recognised the high value of the content provided digitally by the AIPC and the importance of its international reach through this hybrid event. Conversations revolved around collaboration, regeneration and the opportunities of innovation with a highlight of a panel debate on The Economic Model of Hybrid Events, to which Boardroom was a contributor.
Talks and presentations revolved around how CVBs and venues the world over are hosting test events to put health and safely protocols in place, while marketing messages, as you would expect, are all about reassurance, trust and confidence, with destinations presented as safe, reliable and clean locations. Being flexible is of course more important than ever: congress centres, which are members of AIPC, all emphasized the fact that they are more partners of their clients, than mere suppliers.
Where can destinations retain their uniqueness in this new reality? By promoting even more their history, legacy, links to universities and research centres, and values carried by the city, with congress venues leading the way in the matter. In this context, all stakeholders will contribute to economic recovery and regeneration: local, national and – hopefully soon – international events will be the main supporters of change in this environment.
Aloysius Arlando, President of AIPC, commented: “It’s important to be sensitive and sympathetic to the widespread impact the virus has had, but now is the time to think and define our future as an industry. The path towards success in the events sector involves thinking outside-the-box and actively meeting people’s needs.”
This out-of-the-box thinking was emphasised by the event’s keynote speaker, Mark Gallagher – media commentator with great experience in Formula 1 – who compared the issues of the two industries and concluded that it’s now time for the industry to reposition and reinvent itself.