AIPC, the international association of congress centres, represents a global network of over 185 centres in 60 countries with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals worldwide. It encourages excellence in convention centre management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation. To do so, it is engaging in a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs. Its Annual Congress is part of those efforts to bring excellence in all areas of centre management: 2018 saw about 250 delegates converge to ExCeL London to tackle the very broad theme of Strategies for a Changing World!
The Conference achieved a balance between high level perspectives on global issues of potential significance for the meetings industry and the creation of practical solutions to the consequences for local centre management. These ranged from the implications of significant international and geo-political turmoil – as exemplified by the UK Brexit challenges evident in the Conference location – to growing urgencies in such areas as talent acquisition, accommodation access and affordability and a rapidly evolving exhibition industry.
Featured keynotes included Razeen Sally, a Singapore-based global economist and expert on trade agreements and global economic trends, who addressed the evolution of international relations and trade in a world increasingly moving toward protectionism and trade friction and Roger Martin-Fagg, a business process expert who counselled members on creating business strategies for uncertain conditions. Other sessions included a review of the international hotel scene under “peak” business conditions, the challenges faced by centres in recruiting and retaining key staff in a period of increasingly full employment and a highly selective work force and a comparison of different centre management models along with the factors considered by owners in choosing amongst alternatives.
Each “thought” session was followed up with industry-based panels that focused on the centre-specific implications of the big picture topics and explored ways in which centres might or already have responded. These latter insights served to “ground” discussion of high level issues and enable group insights that will assist centre executives in creating their own response strategies.
In 2019, the Conference will be held at the Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp. In 2020, the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur was selected.