Destinations in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region have long understood the need of association planners to rely on them for the organization of their events, whether by facilitating access to local stakeholders or renowned speakers, or by engaging with associations in sustainable approaches, as we wrote in our May edition.
When you think about it, it has everything to do with the people in the South, who have an authentic way of relating to one another with an infectious sociability – open, generous, and united are adjectives that are often used to describe them. These values come from a strong Mediterranean heritage where intercultural and trade exchanges prevail and human values are of paramount importance.
During these unprecedented circumstances, stakeholders in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur have demonstrated core human values, and showed their ability to cope with current challenges while listening to their clients.
Convention centres have proved to be flexible whether by supporting event planners to reschedule their events, offering deposit deferrals or ensuring financial support to events despite their postponement. In this regard, Marseille Chanot Exhibition and Convention Centre exceptionally made financial efforts to support organizers in booking additional spaces, thus enabling them to comply with social distancing.
Supporting local communities
All in all, venues have been very responsive to a situation no one could have anticipated. As early as March 2020, most of them made their facilities available to welcome different kinds of activities supporting local communities. A sign of their ability to meet the needs and requirements of associations, they were able to provide staff, materials, and logistics in short time frame and in accordance with sanitary specifications.
Examples of this are legion. The Nice Acropolis staff volunteered to solidarity actions and delivered masks to the home of the most deprived persons, while the centre itself was turned into a “drive-in” for mask distribution to healthcare professionals. Similarly, the Palais des Festivals de Cannes turned into a shelter for homeless people, while the Convention Center Neptune Toulon supported healthcare institutions in organizing blood donations. As for Marseille Chanot Exhibition and Convention Centre, they made one of their exhibition halls available for four months to host a mask factory.
With the sanitary requirements they have had to fulfill, destinations as well as venues had to innovate and invent new ways of hosting events. The convention centre in Mandelieu-la-Napoule, in this regard, created a social media studio to broadcast e-events, while the Palais des Festivals de Cannes opened its doors to shoot an award ceremony on the scene of its famous Debussy auditorium.
These awe-inspiring commitments have contributed to placing convention centres as true partners and key players in the city, a main condition to best serve the goal of event planners when a new normal is in place.
If at first the pandemic generated frustrations and limitations, it now looks like it also created new opportunities for venues and convention centres to act as central players supporting people and communities in the long run.