The Association Meetings Conference in full swing

18th Jul, 2016

For the fourth year, meeting professionals from around the world gathered to pick up insights provided by expert speakers at the Association Meetings Conference at Church House Westminster in London on June 13. More than 100 delegates attended the one-day conference featuring sessions on how to deliver value and use innovation in association meetings.

Katie Lau reports

As part of the Meeting Show held at Olympia on June 14-16, the Conference covered a wide range of topics from technology and creative marketing to securing sponsorships and promoting destinations.

The Gillette Effect

Alessandro CorteseModerated by Linda Pereira, Conference Chair and executive director of CPL Meetings and Events, the event kicked off with a session by Alessandro Cortese where the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology CEO talked about how to create value for their delegates through innovation. “Try to avoid the Gillette effect – adding new blades to increase sales… You have to create a new box, for example, the iPhone is not a creation but an innovation on already existing technology,” Cortese said.

Then the sessions were split into two streams, one designed for event organisers, and the other for PCO and AMCs working in the association sector. Paloma Cid from the Institution of Engineering and Technology addressed how to deliver value to delegates by adopting a client-centred approach and capitalising on the values of an association (reputation, contacts, brand effect, etc). Sarah Wiggins from GSMA then provided specific tips on how to deliver tangible results with “experiential” sponsorships that tailor the association’s needs.

In the other concurrent session, delegates learned from individual associations on what made a successful association meeting. Sarah Netherway from Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) echoed the sentiments of other speakers by stressing that innovation and diversifying the event offerings is key.

Sarah Wiggins and Paloma CidDelivering Value

Other additional sessions also drove home the importance of delivering value. Customer value management expert Phil Allen led an interactive session on how to create value and deliver benefits to their members better by communicating with them more.

Destinations also play a vital part in delivering value for events, according to the closing session featuring speakers from Dubai, Hong Kong and Edinburgh, which in recent years has emerged as a destination for events attended by people with disabilities, such as the Rehabilitation International World Congress and Autism Europe. Disabled visitors are incredibly loyal to businesses that make provisions for their needs, and they do not tend to travel alone. Potential growth of this market would offer long-term benefits to Edinburgh,” said Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism, Marketing Edinburgh.

And the event seems to be well liked by the participants. “The event was a wonderful tool to learn about what is happening in the association world, to meet and discuss with peers from other associations and learn from the specialists. What I find the most useful are the tips for sponsor hunting and how to make conferences more attractive,” said Gwendoline de Viron, Head of Marketing and Communication, Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

The next edition of The Meetings Show will take place 13-15 June 2017 at Olympia, London. More info:

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