The PCO May 2021

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News from the International A ssociation of Professional Congress Organisers

Issue No. 95 Q2 May 2021

Photo courtesy of Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong


CONTENTS ON THE COVER Showcasing Hong Kong's street art


Messages from the President and the CEO


New HQ line-up


40 years at IAPCO draws to a close


Getting to know – Worldspan


6 tactics & tips for virtual events


Partnering in crisis


Mental Fitness


Education calendar


Destination – Toronto


Virtual events’ rehearsals


Technology enabling, not replacing


Destination – Hong Kong


Egypt’s Pharaohs’ Golden Parade


It’s not one leader, it’s one goal


Members’ headlines


Our partners


Photo source: Courtesy of Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong


EDUCATION What’s happened and is happening


ON POINT ARTICLES Keeping up to date with what is happening in the industry

MEMBERS’ EVENTS AND NEWS Read the full stories of our members' news on the IAPCO Knowledge Hub

THE CHANGING FACE OF THE PCO The first edition of The PCO was published in April 1987. Having edited the magazine since August 2001, I am now stepping down after producing 55 issues! And so this will be my last production of IAPCO’s widely-read magazine. (editor 2001-2021, Sarah Storie-Pugh)




edition No. 5

edition No. 33

edition No. 54



edition No. 80

edition No. 95


MUCH TO BE PROUD OF On 8 April we all celebrated GMID – Global Meetings

“For the times, they are a-changin’”

Industry Day. These famous words from singer, songwriter and poet, Bob Although last year, and indeed so far this year, proved to

Dylan, could be no truer than that which we at IAPCO are faced

be by far the most challenging and difficult period we have

with every morning as we begin a new and exciting day ahead.

experienced in our meetings industry, we have much to be

Yes, change can sometimes bring challenges, however...

proud of. Proud of the way we have been able to adjust and respond to the new norm; a new situation that has forced us to

Change also brings opportunity. The increased opportunity

pivot events to the virtual, forced us to make difficult decisions

for IAPCO faculty and panellists to deliver content to a much

whilst driving us to innovate, to be creative and to accelerate

wider global audience than ever before. Whether this is

digital fulfilment.

through the current webEDGE hot topic webinars, our monthly IAPCO Impact Dialogues, bespoke EDGE Seminars in Japan,

During GMID, IAPCO released our annual data report collected

Durban, Thailand and China and participation at the likes

from our members. The report indicated that our members

of Travel Meet Asia and other on-line trade shows, IAPCO’s

had managed 38% less meetings during 2020 compared to

educational content continues to be sought after as it drives

2019, however, the average number of participants only

specific, relevant and practical solutions for PCOs everywhere.

decreased by 6%. In other words, the average number of participants per event increased dramatically from 317 during

Change also brings a desire to collaborate. As Ori mentioned

2019 to 478 during 2020. Virtual events presented an

in his President’s Message, we have seen successful recent

opportunity for associations and corporates to reach new

collaborative activities with BestCities and our on-going

audiences that were unable to travel to, and participate

collaboration with the eleven National PCO Associations

at, onsite.

from around the globe continues to drive engagement, advocacy initiatives and a sharing of protocols to support

Also, during GMID, IAPCO and BestCities Global Alliance

PCOs everywhere. Future collaborative projects that will

released a very important white paper that will help

generate practical resources, as well as drive thought

associations better prepare for the future of events:

leadership, are in the pipeline through 2021.

Hybrid Congress Bid Guidelines. Change also brings creativity. As our new team assembles The template, a result of collaboration and knowledge-sharing

at IAPCO HQ, both Tina and Caroline (see opposite) bring

between IAPCO, our Ambassadors and BestCities Board

fresh ideas, a new perspective and a new energy that I

Members, addresses crucial points for the hosting of virtual

know will transfer across into IAPCO’s current and future

event components including consideration of destination

projects and activities and bring continued value to all

selection, appropriate software choices for streaming,

IAPCO relationships.

capturing content and security, facilitation of networking, the cost for attendees and promotion of the event.

So, are Bob’s lyrics from 1963 still true today? Well, yes, indeed they are but IAPCO remains well positioned to continue to take

As per this excellent example, our industry should continue

advantage of the opportunities that change provides to us, to

working together to better prepare for the future of events

our IAPCO members and to our entire IAPCO community. We

and be proud of our achievements.

have much to be proud of.

Ori Lahav, President 2020-2023

Martin Boyle, CEO


| May 2021


"FOR THE TIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’" There are exciting times ahead at IAPCO HQ as the team line-up changes with two new team members already in post and a third due to join in June.





Tina studied tourism management and leisure industry in her

Caroline is delighted to join the IAPCO team in her capacity

native Austria, and has a Masters in Arts Management. She

of Marketing and Communications Manager and is looking

began her career in the business events industry as an intern

forward to meeting with all of you soon.

for a Belgian PCO before working for ICCA as a sector development executive.

Before joining IAPCO Caroline worked in association management for different AMC PCOs engaging and growing

After her time in Amsterdam with ICCA, she moved to

professional communities. She is passionate about building

Switzerland where she worked as an event manager for

meaningful connections between people and between ideas,

the Jean Nouvel designed Congress Center KKL Luzern.

creating valuable content to trigger discussion, and looking for innovative ways to foster engagement.

She also headed up a smaller culture centre in Switzerland and supported several artistic groups in their fundraising as

A political science graduate, she started her career working

well as the organisation and delivery of their events.

for the press services of the French Permanent Representation to the European Union before joining the communication

Her heart, however, has drawn her back to the professional

team of an EU network dedicated to SMEs. She keeps from

industry and over the last several years she has been working

these years a (slight) addiction to reading the press and

for the Swiss Nurses Association planning and organising their

news magazines.

annual congresses. A French native, Caroline has been calling Belgium home for Tina is excited to be back in the international meetings

the past 20 years and will be working remotely from there.

industry and even more so to be working with IAPCO. When she is not working she loves spending time with her family, going for a run, and launching new home renovation projects. Above all, she loves to travel and can’t wait for it to be possible again. | May 2021



40 YEARS AT IAPCO DRAWS TO A CLOSE Sarah Storie-Pugh reflects on her life with IAPCO as she prepares for her departure at the end of May

I am a Wolfie – the faculty of c. 1990

Having attended, as an IAPCO member, my first IAPCO Annual

The Association moved from Brussels to Switzerland and I

Meeting in Bled, then Yugoslavia, in 1980, my journey was to

took on the task of administering the many aspects of it’s busy

continue for the next 40 years.

life. Subsequently, as IAPCO expanded, I became Executive Director. In 2019 Martin Boyle took over as CEO as I went

I have attended over 35 Annual Meetings, all over the world,

part-time as Operations Director.

since then, from New Zealand to Canada, from South Africa to Brazil, and all places between, exposing me to the magnificent

Now it is the time to end this journey, a journey that gave me

world of differing cultures, history, tradition, language and

the best life and the best job imaginable, but now it is over,

experiences but most of all my peers and subsequently great

and it is time to move on.

friends. Nothing can compare to this global exploration, both physically and mentally, provided by our industry.

So all I can say is “thank you” to IAPCO for giving me the world for so much of my professional career. But most of all “thank

During that period I became a “Wolfie”, a participant or trainer

you” to all my friends from every corner of the globe who have

at the renowned IAPCO Wolfsberg seminars in Switzerland –

paid me the most wonderful, emotional and touching tributes,

I was a Wolfie for 27 years! Now IAPCO has EDGE, a modern

which I shall treasure all my life as I start a new journey.

affordable educational programme delivered in-person, virtually or from the webEDGE on-line platform. At the turn of the century I was elected President (2000-2002), having held the position of Treasurer on Council for five years. At the end of that term of office, IAPCO took a change of direction, and I went with it. 6

| May 2021

Sarah leaves IAPCO on 28 May 2021


GETTING TO KNOW …… WORLDSPAN EVENTS & EXPERIENCES IAPCO chats to Jason Wilcock, Chairman and Commercial Director, Worldspan, UK

In what year was Worldspan founded and how has it developed? 1972. We celebrate 50 continuous years in business next year. My father founded the business. Worldspan was a travel management business, setting up and organising travel and tours for wealthy individuals and groups when long haul travel was only for a privileged few. My grandfather had a car dealership – Honda – and gave us our first piece of corporate incentive business. From there we developed our corporate incentive and then events business. We took our first group of doctors to congress on behalf of a corporate client and so began our journey to becoming a full-fledged PCO. And in 2015 I bought the business through a family buyout. Where are your offices based and how many staff do you employ ? Originally from Liverpool, the family relocated to North Wales. My grandmother was unwell and the sea air was recommended. We set up an office there and have since moved to our own purpose-built office building overlooking the sea. We now service global business from our operational base in the town of Abergele and, from there, we travel the World ! We have offices in Liverpool, Manchester, London, and we have just opened in Dublin. We have a core team of 30 employees who have stayed with us through this pandemic year and we are ready to recruit again. Do you specialise in particular events or services which make Worldspan unique? Worldspan has a world-leading digital design and development team in-house. The team works for a number of globally-recognised brands but also, of course, for our own teams and their clients. Having this digital discipline and skill set in-house makes us all digital savvy and is the reason that we were able to develop our own proprietary virtual platform –

Virt-US Live – this year. And, of course, Worldspan works for both corporate and association clients and that brings benefit to both. Have you seen a change in the meetings industry and the role of the PCO? Of course, it is unrecognisable from when we started to trade but we have seen more change in the last 18 months than the last 18 years. COVID-19 has been a catalyst for rapid change. But there are constants. Agencies remain custodians of the brand and brand experience. The user experience – the delegate or member journey through congress – has always been our responsibility. Logistics is one of the skills we need to deliver but we need many more. The professional PCO is multi-skilled with depth of knowledge across many disciplines – finance, marketing, sales and more. With COVID continuing as a current challenge, how do you see 2021 evolving? It is fluid. It will remain fluid. Clients are keen to get back to live events but are realistic about how that can happen. We’ve seen a growing understanding of the complexities and costs of hosting virtual, hybrid and streamed conference and congress. But we see a drive to digital delivery that will continue. Why do you value being an IAPCO member? What we do, as a PCO, is very niche. IAPCO defines, describes and drives our professional make-up and characteristics. IAPCO decides what is good, what is best and what is world-leading. Being part of a professional community helps all of us to stay on top of our game !

| May 2021



6 TACTICS AND TIPS TO BRING VIRTUAL EVENTS TO THE NEXT LEVEL IAPCO Member: AIM Group International Author: Ronsagela Quieti, Managing Director Congress Division AIM Group The pandemic forced associations, corporate event organisers


and event professionals, to assimilate and dive into new

It is important to be able to leverage every single platform and

formats and ways to meet. We moved planned in-person

tool available on the market and evaluate the pros and cons

events into the digital realm, in a very short time frame with

of the different solutions in terms of features, user experience

limited previous experience. It was such a challenge for all

and economics. The right platform needs to be chosen for

event professionals. One year later, after organising hundreds

each project and customised so that it is a functional, useful

of digital events, we have tried different ways and used

and intuitive platform that guarantees an excellent user experi-

different tools to create emotional connections and valuable

ence and an economic return for sponsors. It is also important

and engaging digital journeys for all parties (delegates,

to train speakers, making them comfortable with the new

speakers, sponsors).

technology and tools and learn how to make a speech in front of a video and how to engage participants remotely.

Here are some takeaways from our recent experience and six

Traditional sponsorship opportunities need to be completely

tips to make your virtual and hybrid event more successful:

transformed into a digital sponsorship offering. A flexible and innovative platform can provide opportunities to create new


and alternative forms of sponsorship that you may never have

Attendee expectations have changed considerably since

thought of for in-person events.

the first digital events. To cope with Zoom fatigue, events are moving away from their conference format to TV show


formats. Speakers are expected to act more like performers.

Providing strong content is what is going to attract

Lively anchormen or facilitators are used to introduce speakers

attendees and pique their interest and attention. You must

and sessions, to encourage discussion and interaction and

deliver something special to give them a reason to be online

summarise the “take-home messages”. Resources are now

for several hours. Plan a captivating event marketing and

being targeted at the quality of the production and meeting

communication campaign (pre-event session trailers, video

rooms are being transformed into TV studios.

clips from the speakers, innovative highlights) tailoring the content and campaign to reflect the interests of the expected

Since people’s attention span is shorter online event sessions

participants. You need to generate FOMO, a fear of missing

are being kept shorter with more breaks. Social platforms,

out, to increase curiosity and ensure attendance.

such as Clubhouse, Twitch, Tik Tok are becoming more and more popular and should be incorporated into virtual and


hybrid events. Clubhouse for example is offering an attendee

Participants were kings of in-person events, but it now

centric structure with new attendance options for those who

becomes more important to involve them remotely, while

feel overwhelmed by traditional virtual events and video-chat.

they are participating from their desks. Give more time to discussion (keeping the sessions shorter) and include


| May 2021

ON POINT ARTICLES innovative networking tools more suitable to a virtual


discussion. Better monitor and interact with the chat

The new normal requires a team of experts who bring

platform using dedicated community managers to stimulate

together knowledge of virtual, strategic event planning as

the discussion among participants. Consider including more

well as technical competences. Associations and event

edutainment solutions and also gamification programmes.

planners are expected to be digital event strategists and

Organise contests, games, competitions, polling and surveys

digital event designers and to have a deep understanding

where user-generated content, and the presence of experts of

of how to deliver digital content, which means that besides

specific topics, can impact positively on the overall experience

having a tech-savvy mindset they need to be skilled or

of the attendees.

develop new skills in the following areas: • Digital event strategy and tactics

Delivering the content in a funny and exciting way will help

• Digital marketing and communication

create an unforgettable virtual experience.

• Digital content design and delivery • TV/video production

As an actor plays a character trying to understand every

• Data analysis

single aspect of his personality, we, as event organisers, need to put ourselves in the attendees’ shoes. Only if we really

Of course there are also a number of skills that cross over

understand the needs and expectations of our target audience

from in-person events that are relevant for virtual ones.

can we deliver something worthy of applause. Data capture

These include project management, attention to detail,

and analysis is crucial in order to better understand the

team management, contingency planning, problem

target audiences.

solving, flexibility, stress management, budgeting and negotiation capabilities.

5. GO LARGER AND LONGER Try to enlarge the scope of your audience. Thanks to virtual

Finally, virtual events are much more complex than

and hybrid events, attendees are able to reach out to

video-chats or video-meetings. It is important to be aware

colleagues all over the world, simply and easily, joining

of all the features and opportunities they offer. We need to

private video conferences, forums and chats. The online

highlight them and share this with the organisation team

participation provides a great opportunity for the meetings

(client, event organiser and sponsors). The results will speak

industry to become more inclusive. Even though attendees

for themselves.

decide not to travel due to visa restrictions, long distance, busy agendas or lack of funds, they can still join the event; this is a great opportunity to not miss out, and this may remain the case when we go back to in-person events.

If you cannot come to the event the event can come to you Another important aspect is to consider extending the life span of the event. The content and networking activities do not have to be limited to the days of the event but can be kept alive much longer. Sessions can be recorded and made available on demand for months and even up to a year. Thanks to the new conversation channels the most popular topics can be further explored and discussed post event, and this can help build active communities who can be engaged as ambassadors for future events.

| May 2021



CASE STUDY – PARTNERING IN CRISIS IAPCO Member: Kenes Group The Bologna Convention Bureau, a long-term destination


partner of Kenes, helped Kenes Group prepare all the onsite logistics for CHEST (American College of Chest Physicians)

While the situation around the CHEST Congress scheduled

Congress 2020 Italy prior to the pandemic. However,

for June 2020 mobilised all partners, it was in fact their joint

February 2020 saw a worsening local situation in Italy,

long-term vision and fruitful collaboration that proved the

followed by worldwide lockdowns, as a result of which

solution. Each partner aimed to bring value to the client and

the event had to be called off. This was the time when all

the event; everyone played a different role in this puzzle. But

partners came together to find the best solution for CHEST.

long-term collaborations are not built to benefit just one event in a single year, but rather to create a multitude of successful


The efforts invested in building strategic relationships pay-off the most during a crisis The situation with the CHEST Congress showed how consistency in working together over many years actually creates one team, striving to achieve a common goal. The process began with open communication and complete trust. All partners, when it came to the decision of postponing the event, showed a great deal of flexibility and worked hard to find new opportunities for everyone involved. With full transparency and placing the event goals at the centre of all efforts, the task proved to be a smooth one with total collaboration – truly successful.


| May 2021

future events in the years to come.

THE OUTCOME A highly successful CHEST virtual congress, in partnership with the Italian delegation, was held in June 2020, highlighting the connection with Italy to 3150 participants. While we cannot say with certainty when the event will again take its physical shape, Bologna Congressi applied special flexible clauses to the contracts, helping Kenes Group to manage the risk.

3150 registered participants 2100 users logged in on 26 June 700 active users at all times


HAVE A GOOD READ As recommended by Magdalina Atanassova, Marcom & Brand Manager, Kenes Group The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer - just a reminder to all those that were last year at the IAPCO AM&GA in Vancouver who did not get time to read Michael's

The power of collaboration creates for a better future

book, and a solid recommendation for those that missed the event - this book is a must for anyone that wants to be a good leader.

FUTURE PLANNING Both the city of Bologna and Bologna Congressi used the long months under lockdown to develop effective safety measures, in line with Kenes Group recommendations, for the return of in-person events by implementing the following activities: • Creating a catalogue: “Bologna, Safe City for Events” with detailed practical information for event planners on how to host safe events. • A venue redesign with new tailor-made solutions on offer

Some good fiction - any of Marc Lawrence's books, but especially the trilogy called Book of the Ancestor - a story about a girl with interesting powers, and her journey mastering those. Anyone can see themselves or their children in these books - it is a story about growth, friendship, being different, owning what you have.

for optimal in-person meetings, such as: • Rooms equipped with new audio/video technology, including the latest generation streaming service • New and larger entrance foyer • New exhibition hall of over 3000 sq.m. connected to the Palazzo dei Congressi and the Ex-Gam • Easily accessible information protocol on all prevention measures • New services offered by other suppliers in the city included: • highly trained personnel on the operation of the new event formats: in-person and online • reinventing the delivery of catering services following the latest food guidelines • transportation services with high hygiene protocols • solutions for physical distancing – signs, materials, and more

| May 2021 11


MENTAL FITNESS IAPCO Member: AFEA S.A. Travel & Congress Services, Greece Author: Sissi Lignou, CEO,

“Health is the greatest of human blessings” according to Hippocrates. Who could disagree with such a statement, especially in these critical times that the world health is facing today. Physical and mental health have definitely become the protagonists of our priorities, on both the

We can only achieve mental fitness if our body is functioning well

personal as well as the professional environment, and

Socrates, the great philosopher said “I call myself a peaceful

the importance of work-life balance is absolutely trending.

warrior, because the battles we fight are on the inside”. I could not agree more. The battles of our daily life, especially in times

Our ancestors had identified the importance of having a

of crisis, are multiple and sometimes very difficult to manage.

balanced and healthy body and spirit and have specifically

Overthinking and multi-tasking, the absolute trends of our

preached on the value of mental health, so why should we

times, do not make things easier when it comes to managing

act any differently? The benefits of exercise on our physical

challenges. The actual battles, however, first come from the

health are widely known and constantly highlighted.

heart and the mind and their management can be influenced by the way we react to them. A good brain health, a state in

But what about mental fitness and brain health? How

which every individual can realise their own abilities and

important is it to train our mind and care for the

optimise their cognitive, emotional, psychological and

body-mind connection?

behavioural functioning to cope with life situations, is a


| May 2021


necessity in these circumstances. It can even be a catalyst

the emotional, social, financial and physical. Starting from

in the decision-making process on how to deal with the

self-acceptance and resilience, friendship and a happy social

challenge effectively.

life, then moving swiftly into a healthy lifestyle with careful nutrition, slowing-down on one’s daily routine and embracing

According to Wikipedia “Mental Fitness is defined as a state of

decompression, exercise and meditation.

well-being and having a positive sense of how we feel, think, and act”.

Taking steps to build your mental fitness enhances our ability to cope with stress and improves our physical health,

The pandemic had a very negative impact on people’s mental

productivity at work, relationships, and overall lifestyle. We

health, as stress, fear, anxiety and the feeling of insecurity

can only achieve mental fitness if our body is functioning well.

began to dominate. Consequently, the role and contribution of mental fitness to a healthy and balanced life is now more

References: Wikipedia, Healthline, KFF

than ever in the frontline, as important (in some cases more important) as physical fitness and should not be neglected. Mental fitness can be achieved through various exercises and practices, based on a number of components, such as that of | May 2021 13



Perhaps the closing question summed up the sentiment

Dialogues, the most recent discussion

of the past year and where we are heading. In response to

took place on 29 April, with over

the question credited to Eric Riesenberg the answer was

80 registrations.

clear cut:

When we meet in one year over a glass of champagne what are we celebrating?

The event brief keeps changing! As cities around the globe are at different stages of the pandemic, reimagining events from lockdown to restart, to ensure sustained momentum, is key. As we all deal with the challenges our clients face from financial pressures, travel restrictions, changing delegate sentiment, a new level of health and safety responsibilities and the need to quickly develop new ways of delivering events, the panel shared insights into fostering innovation and tackling clients’ expectations – from shifting KPIs, new ways of generating RoI, support for clients and driving value to sponsors.

• Celebrating the resilience of humanity – we get up and get on with it • Celebrating the retention of talent, the resilience to hold on these special people who work in our industry. • Celebrating the amazing collaboration displayed by all, the new openness of doing things in a different way and supporting each other • Celebrating how a global industry can come together and help each other. But perhaps most of all – celebrating being together!

Brought to you by the MCEC (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre) and MCB (Melbourne Convention Bureau) the expert panellists rose to the occasion and shared some first-hand personal experiences with candid honesty.

Watch the Dialogue on IAPCO Impact Dialogue on Vimeo Faculty pictured from top to bottom: Ori Lahav [moderator], IAPCO President; Julia Swanson, CEO, MCB; Nicole Walker, CEO, Arinex PCO; Natalie Phillips, Executive Director, Victoria State Government; Darren Waite, Director of Sales, MCEC

All about Money – Budgeting for

EDGE (bespoke) Hangzhou

IBTM Wired – JMIC Session

Hybrid – Hot Topic Webinar Pt 2

2-4 June 2021

1 July 2021

18 May 2021

(see opposite for details)

Looking Ahead: a Practical

Part of IAPCO’s webEDGE programme IMEX Live Engagement Programme 19 May 2021 State of the Industry IAPCO Panellist: Nicky McGrane The Future of Travel Impact Dialogue 27 May 2021 Brought by Dubai Business Events


| May 2021

Perspective on Industry Recovery EDGE (bespoke) Thailand (TCEB)

IAPCO Panellist: Ori Lahav

25 June 2021 EDGE (bespoke) Thailand (TCEB)

Bidding for the Beginner

14-16 July 2021

Impact Dialogue

Bid Training - Beginner/Intermediate

29/30 June 2021 Brought by Hamburg Convention Bureau




EDGE Lillehammer 24-26 January 2022 Host: Gyro Conference AS



focused on the value proposition

Moderator: Mathias Posch

Watch Live on Tuesday 18th May:

Stephen Noble

Melbourne: 1600 Auckland: 18:00 CET: 08:00

revenue potential really look like in in-person v virtual participation; what do the must-have cost items look like and what’s in your nice to have bucket; what are your

Also available to the rest

and how does that realise itself in

2021 on demand by

The Conference Company Kirsty Grimwade Head of Events, Industry Relationships and Operational Projects, The Australasian


HANGHZOU BESPOKE IAPCO EDGE SEMINAR Wednesday 2 - Friday 4 June Attend in-person or virtually interpretation provided ANCHORMAN: Stephen Noble, The Conference Company FACULTY: Oscar Cerezales, MCI Group Loren Christie, Consultant Christine Hence, INTERPLAN Mathias Posch, International Conference Services


The Trusted Advisor Value over Cost

From Live to Online to Hybrid


| May 2021 15



ON As Canada’s leading meetings destination, Toronto thrives as a creative hub that lends to progressive and innovative experiences. Now more than ever our hospitality businesses continue to put guest safety first and we look forward to hosting you soon.

Exhibition Place recently introduced StudioEx, a hybrid

For the fourth year in a row, Toronto Pearson has been named

studio in downtown Toronto designed to accommodate

“Best Large Airport in North America serving more than

a live studio audience, with a maximum capacity of 100

40 million passengers” by Airports Council International

people at one time. This central hub will allow meeting

(ACI) - World.

planners to produce hybrid events.

On 8 April, Toronto meeting venues, hotels and attractions across the city were lit blue in support of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). This international day of advocacy highlights the vital role that meetings, conferences and events play and which took on a special meaning this year. Visit:


| May 2021




IAPCO Member: Convin S.A., Greece Author: Alkis Polyrakis, Technical Director It is the first day of the Virtual Congress, and there are less

The first thing that the faculty members need to understand

than five minutes left on the clock until the Keynote Session

is that, unlike physical events where you and your colleagues

goes live. Hundreds of people are logged in to the platform

are always next to them to assist when needed, virtual

and are eagerly waiting for the Opening Speech. Everything is

conferences require a minimum of actions from them.

ready – apart from one tiny detail: the Keynote Speaker, the

Although those are few and fairly simple, they do need to

world-renowned expert professor - for whom a large chunk

hear them earlier than on the actual day. Previous experience

of the budget would have been set aside for his travel and

in webinars and e-conferences is helpful, but there is no

accommodation expenses had this been a physical event -

guarantee that the procedure with which they are familiar

is still nowhere to be found. He has not been answering his

is identical to the one of the upcoming congress. There are

phone or e-mails, and you are starting to panic. When you

currently several different platforms for virtual events, so they

finally reach him, he nonchalantly asks what the link is. You

must familiarise themselves with the actual one if they do not

forward one of the many invitations that you have been

want to feel lost when it is time for them to present or chair

sending to him during the past weeks and, after a bit of an

a session.

effort, he shows up on your screen, with a minute to go. You heave a sigh of relief as the session chair welcomes him and

You must make sure that their equipment is up to the task,

you give your associates the green light: We are now live.

and that they are aware of all the tips and tricks one must

The speaker smiles, looks at the camera and says to the entire audience: “Where do I click?” If the imaginary sound of an e-room full of people collectively wondering why the Congress Organisers are not doing their job sounds familiar to you, chances are that you have been on the receiving end of a similar story to the one above. A story that began with the speaker saying, “Rehearsal? I do not need a rehearsal. I do this all the time”.

keep in mind in order to preserve bandwidth. Will they be using one screen or two? A wired internet connection? Will they have a source or light in front of them as opposed to their back? Are there any videos with sounds in their presentation? Can they use the tools at their disposal to address the questions of the audience or contact the technicians should they need something? These are all questions that need to be addressed, and a rehearsal is the only way to do that. Virtual conference bloopers are an embarrassing YouTube trend. Let us all steer clear of them by convincing our clients to rehearse.

I am positive that I do not need to convince the readers of this article of the importance of rehearsals. It is, however, often necessary to convince clients, and therefore it may be good to remember the principal argument. | May 2021 17


TECHNOLOGY ENABLING, NOT REPLACING IAPCO Member: MCI Group Canada Author: Juliano Lissoni, MSc, Managing Director

The COVID-19 pandemic brought an immeasurable amount

as we learned how to solve problems using co-operation, and

of stress into our lives. Limitations of movement necessitated

our tribal social instincts helped to design current institutions

by physical distancing took their toll on citizens and

and social norms.

businesses alike. While COVID-19 changed how we engaged with our teams, partners, and clients, it did not eliminate our

The advancement of digital tools is helping us to share

need to meet altogether. With restrictions imposed in every

collective knowledge and re-define the concept of community.

part of the world, players in the events’ ecosystem were being

Features of other individuals and the environment help to

flooded with questions: “Will events go back to the way it

define social situations, affecting our social strategies. Our

used to be? Will events be digital for evermore?. Trying to

brains are social by nature and built for relationship

understand what the future of the events’ business will look

optimisation. We are wired to connect.

like requires us to go beyond technology and have a deeper understanding of our human needs.

When it comes to business events, creating opportunities for people to come together in the same space is not

A biological/anthropological need to meet

about content distribution, it is about reinforcing human

The traits that make us uniquely human come from our

connections through social intelligence, and amplifying

approach to cognition, communication, and language,

the effects of knowledge spillover.

including the largely innate and physiologically complex phonation, and the mechanisms of learning. Humans came together at first for security. Our social psychology evolved


| May 2021


The development of our emotions is part of human evolution An emotional need to meet The development of our emotions is part of human evolution. Back in time, chasing food, finding shelter, and dealing with all types of wildlife problems, required humans to trust their minds and their thoughts and feelings, guiding them through every situation. Survival was a consequence of trusting the emotional radar and reliance on instincts as first screening for information received. Being in a group has a positive impact on our emotional lives. Emotion influences our cognitive processes with a marked influence on attention, by modulating it, motivating action and behaviour.

An economic need to meet Social intelligence has a deep impact in the way we engage. Attending events and conferences, joining informal discussions, and getting to know what others are working on and what progress they are making, are all critical steps for innovation. This knowledge spillover effect is a proven fact of the importance of being physically together at some point. Digital tools will enhance the way content is distributed but, as creatures with social brains, our evolution requires being together either for triggering the right emotions that makes us feel part of a community, or for how we economically evolve by co-innovating. It is not all these digital applications we are tired of. We simply crave a return to meetings and conferences, meeting people, and shaking hands, because it is in these environments that we thrive.

| May 2021 19


VIBRANT EVENTS UNDERSCORE HONG KONG’S ART APPEAL Arts fans in Hong Kong and around the world will be treated to

and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). A new digital initiative Art

an elaborate line-up of arts and cultural events, both physical

Basel Live: Hong Kong will run in parallel with the physical

and virtual, in the city in May and June, and reminded yet

show, featuring live broadcasts and Online Viewing Rooms

again why Hong Kong is the undisputed Arts Hub of Asia.

for virtual browsing of collections. Satellite booths have been introduced for the first time for leading art galleries to show

The highly anticipated annual Hong Kong arts extravaganza,

their collections. In all, 104 galleries from 23 countries and

The French May, presents an expertly curated programme

territories will be on display, physically or virtually.

of 100 arts and cultural activities spanning May and June. The sumptuous celebration of all art forms delivers inspirational

Meanwhile, Art Central, held concurrently in the HKCEC, will

works from local and global artists, including traditional and

showcase ink, painting, photography, video and sculpture by

contemporary art, design, classical and pop music, opera,

next-generation artists from Asia’s most innovative galleries,

Hip-Hop street dance, movies and a circus. Connoisseurs can

alongside distinguished international artists.

even sample culinary art in the concurrent FrenchGourMay, an adventure with French cuisine.

Stay tuned for more inspiring arts and cultural events coming up in Hong Kong, Asia’s arts capital:

Internationally renowned Art Basel Hong Kong will have its ninth edition on 20-23 May at the Hong Kong Convention 20

| May 2021




The whole world witnessed the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in

The parade was part of Egypt's efforts to revive the Tourism

which was seen 22 royal mummies being transported from the

& Events Industries that were reeling from the political turmoil

Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the new National Museum of

following 2011 and, more recently, COVID-19. It was an

Egyptian Civilization, to the pride and honour of the Egyptians

important step in highlighting Egypt's position on the


International Tourism & Event’s Management Map. People around the world who watched the epic described it as a

The highly anticipated Pharaohs’ Golden Parade kicked off

legendary event and that it heralded a successful marketing

from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday 3 April. This event was

and propaganda campaign for Egypt that was unprecedented.

the first of its kind in the world. Of the 22 mummies, 18 are kings and four were queens, among them the mummies of

Again, Egypt proves to be the cradle of civilization and

King Ramses II, King Seknen Ra, King Tuthmosis III, King Seti I,

fountain of knowledge. The “Pharaohs' Golden Parade”

Queen Hatshebut, Queen Merit Amun, wife of King Amenhotep

was a true moment of pride for Egypt and all Egyptians.

I, and Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, and wife of King Ahmose. Egypt will remain a popular destination for international About the “National Museum of Egyptian Civilization”:

events, thanks to its specialised MICE facilities that cater to

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is one of the

a variety of organiser needs. This remarkable country has a

most important national projects adopted by the country, as

unique glamour due to its location, infrastructure, convention

it is one of the largest international museums, as well as the

& exhibition facilities and the remarkable cities situated on the

only museum of its kind in Egypt, the Arab world, the Middle

River Nile and the seashores of the Mediterranean & Red Seas,

East and Africa. It includes all the manifestations of the

such as Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab

richness and diversity enjoyed by the Egyptian civilization

and many others.

during various eras starting from pre-eras to the present time. The museum will also house several antiquities belonging

Organise your event in Egypt with no anxiety.

to various different civilizations, such as the Islamic, Coptic, Roman, Greek and of course, the Egyptian civilization. | May 2021 21


IT’S NOT ONE LEADER THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IT’S HAVING ONE GOAL IAPCO Member: Conference Partners International, Ireland Author : Nicola McGrane, Managing Director

Having let some time settle since the announcement of the

So many worked on a voluntary basis and gave up their

One Young World win for Belfast on 31 March, it is nice to have

personal time. Why? Because this is no ordinary event. This

time to sit back and reflect upon the long two-year journey

is not just a conference, this is a movement-style event that

that brought this great win for the city of Belfast. Sometimes

will transform the mind-set of the people of Northern Ireland.

it is not until you reach the ultimate goal that you realise the

The win is not just to bring another conference to Northern

incline of the mountain we have all climbed.

Ireland. The win is a chance for the young people of Northern Ireland to share their story of Resilience and Global Ambition

There is old expression “it takes a village to rear a child”, well it

with the world. The win is to identify the next generation of

took an amazing Belfast community to win One Young World. I

young leaders in Northern Ireland and to place them amongst

exaggerate not when I say it took hundreds of people in Belfast

a global community of powerful young leaders where they will

to get this global Olympic-style event to the city and everyone

all inspire each other to create a better world. The win is for

played their part with passion, drive and pure excellence.

the established leaders of Northern Ireland to find a place for young leaders to have a voice in critical decision making. This

From the creation of the advisory board, the various organising

is the power of the win of One Young World.

committees and the engagement of the people of Northern Ireland across a number of communities, Belfast City Council,

Although we have reached the end of our bid journey, we now

Visit Belfast, Tourism Northern Ireland, ministries, agencies,

embark on a new journey. A journey of legacy with a clear path

educators, young talent and the stakeholders of the business

to positive change and societal impact. We now have a new

tourism sector; it is the culmination of the passion of all these

goal. ONE goal with many leaders to bring us to the next finish

great people that won the One Young World bid.

line, which will be One Young World in Belfast in May 2023.

With a clear eye on the prize, and a focus on first place in

Watch the video on vimeo.

the race, every single person played their part with such determination. There was no ONE leader, there was the strength and power of many leaders with ONE goal in mind. Now that is a powerful city. 22

| May 2021


eTECHSUITE AND ARINEX LAUNCH eMEETING IAPCO Member: Arinex pty limited eTechSuite, technology partner of Australian events management company Arinex, has launched eMeeting, a multi-functional platform that seamlessly delivers virtual and hybrid events. The virtual events platform, born from an increasing demand

15 years. While digital streaming technology is not new, it has

for online meetings due to the inability to meet face-to-face in

become essential in connecting people globally and delivering

2020, has been refined following years of research and industry

virtual and hybrid events.

experience. READ MORE Creators eTechSuite, as an extension of Arinex, have been servicing the conference and events industry for more than

Download the essential 101 checklist guide

INNOVATIONS FOR THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY IAPCO PCO: Congrès Inc, Japan The 9th (MICE) Innovation Study Meeting, held physically for the first time on 18 March, introduced exciting innovations for the Meetings Industry. Congrès Inc. and the Institute of Creative Industries & Culture (ICIC; Headquarters: Chiyoda City, Tokyo) serve jointly as the Secretariat for the “MICE Innovation Society” established in July 2020, with the objective of taking on the challenges of the transformations occurring in meetings & events industry. The study meetings provide a forum for identifying issues in the industry and demonstrations of concrete solutions through new technologies and seeds for developing new business, based on collaboration between diverse fields and industries.

An example of a creative solution: avatarin Inc. introduced its remotely operable robot “newme” and reported on the outcomes of field operation tests on a new style of meeting/ event that anyone from anywhere in the world can attend, nicknamed “avatar MICE.” READ MORE

GLOBAL EVENTEX AWARDS 2021 Two IAPCO members have been shortlisted in various

were announced on 10 May, too late to make this issue, but

categories for the 11th edition of the Global Eventex Awards:

regardless of the final outcome, many congratulations to

Kenes Group and AIM Group International. Selected from 561

reaching the shortlist – we hope you made it!

entries from 37 countries around the world, the winners | May 2021 23


WORLD SLEEP CONGRESS 2022 FOR ROME IAPCO Member: Ega worldwide congresses & events Ega worldwide congresses & events is happy to announce that the World Sleep Society has decided to hold its first face-toface congress after the COVID-19 pandemic from 11-16 March 2022 at the Nuvola Convention Centre in the Eternal City Rome and have contracted them as their DMC service provider. The International Congress of the World Sleep Society is the

The 2022 edition will be hosted by the Italian Association

most important meeting of Sleep Research Scientists world-

of Sleep Medicine (AIMS) with the goal of showcasing the

wide. In Vancouver, Canada, the last in-person congress 2019,

national society with an in-person meeting to the global sleep

over 4000 participants enjoyed a vast scientific programme

medicine and research audience.

with 12 keynotes, 89 symposia, 17 courses, 10 panel discussions and 192 oral abstract presentations.


KOVWA APPOINTS BANNIE KIM AS PRESIDENT IAPCO Member: MECI, Korea Bannie Kim, President & CEO of MECI, has been appointed as the President of KOVWA (Korea Venture Business Women’s Association), effective 25 February 2021. As president, Ms Kim has heralded in, with challenge and innovation, a new era of mutual growth of women-led ven-

maximum effort in building a platform where women-led

tures. She has redefined areas of capacity development to aid

ventures can scale-up and getting mobilised for networking

KOVWA members and pertinent partakers by launching the

around the globe.

Global Women’s Venture Innovation Centre and introducing innovative start-up and scale-up programmes. In the next two

KOWVA looks forward to exploring business opportunities and

years of her presidency, she is strongly committed to exerting

networking with ventures in IAPCO member countries.


Submitted by Shaun Pierce, President, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives, MCI

Life is a series of precedents If you allow something to happen once and don't correct or at least discuss the situation then that precedent is then set and is much more difficult to change/correct in the future. 24

| May 2021


AN IAPCO COLLABORATION IAPCO Members: African Agenda, South Africa, and K.I.T. Group, Germany A distinct advantage of IAPCO membership is the ability to

knowledge, capacity and networks to deliver the event.

collaborate globally – no better example of this than the

To further enhance the collaboration, the prior version of the

recent award to an African Agenda/K.I.T. Group joint venture,

same congress, to be hosted in Bogota is being managed by

the management the XVIII World Congress of Neurosurgery -

another IAPCO colleague, BCO Congresos, who were able to

WFNS2023. The congress, to be held in Cape Town, will see

share their specific knowledge and experience at the time of

these two IAPCO colleagues pooling their respective skills,

African Agenda and K.I.T.’s joint submission.

SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP - ICOM GROUP & HILTON HOTELS CHAIN IAPCO Member: ICOM Group, Egypt At ICOM Group, we have extensive experience producing

from 24-26 February. During this Hybrid Event, our team of

Virtual & Hybrid Events that give our audience a branded,

experts utilised the previews of Hilton Green Plaza Hotel on

multisensory, immersive experience. With advancements in

the 3D platform in order to provide a real and interactive

3D imaging and virtual reality, the virtual event experience can

experience to our virtual viewers so that they could have

be so much more than watching a web-hosted PowerPoint

many of the same options to participate and engage as the

presentation. We use top-of-line tools to give our guests an

physical attendees.

experience that looks and feels just like a live event. We frequently rely on our business associates to help We recently organised the 13th Annual Conference of

and support us in various business activities.

Neuropsychiatry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, at the Hilton Green Plaza Hotel, Alexandria, Egypt,


ON KENES SPAIN The Kenes Spain team behind the 42nd National Congress of the Spanish Society of Immunology (SEI 2021) took one of the compulsory celebratory pictures after the very successful event was over. If you don't post about it, it hasn't happened, right? | May 2021 25


GOING FROM VIRTUAL TO HYBRID IN 2021! IAPCO Member: AFEA S.A. Travel & Congress Services, Greece For the AFEA PCO division, 2021 is all about hybrid events an exciting opportunity to innovate and pave a new path forward for our events and clients. This year, more than ever before, the key to upscale the delegates’ experience is by providing them with flexibility and “allowing” them to choose their journey through personalised options.

irreplaceable value of in-person aspect that attendees all around the world are seeking. AFEA team is ready to welcome

The AFEA team will combine the best elements of live

all attendees in the exciting, sensible and eco-friendly format

and digital experiences, while safely reintroducing the

of hybrid events, while offering all necessary safety measures.

TO MAKE YOU THINK “Be present in the Future!” A favourite quote from Sissi Lignou, AFEA

The 1st Virtual Annual Meeting of AFEA was one to remember,


filled with emotion, joy, anticipation and hope for a safe return back to f2f connections and live meetings! We cannot wait to meet again!


| May 2021


COMMUNICATING NEUROLOGY IN TIMES OF COVID FROM LOCAL TERRITORIES TO THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT IAPCO Member: AIM Group International How has scientific communication to the public, patients and their families changed in times of COVID-19? How can a scientific topic be proposed in an easily understandable way to a non-expert public? How do you manage to make communication about a disease appealing? Gas Communication, a communications agency specialising in press office, media relations and awareness campaigns on health issues and part of AIM Group, is facing these challenges every day, and is currently launching new integrated awareness campaigns focusing on videos and social media. Just this March, some projects that will be launched or developed can represent an example of effective solutions: • “Beyond spasticity” - To increase the awareness about spasticity following a cerebral stroke; • “Beware of those two: heart and brain” - A.L.I.Ce. Italia Odv (Association for the Fight against Cerebral Stroke) would


like to launch a new awareness campaign on stroke and atrial fibrillation.

ON AICCER & AIM TEAM IN ACTION The first digital edition of the annual congress of ophthalmologist surgeons (AICCER), 19-21 March, was scheduled and personalised following members' preferences and recorded a great success.

| May 2021 27


DESTINATION PARTNERS Long-term partners of IAPCO, each representing specific regions of the world

webEDGE Supporters of web-EDGE educational programme - KLCC and MyCEB

HOSTS, SERVICE PROVIDERS & CONVENTION CENTRES Recognising convention centres and suppliers to the meetings industry who provide an insight into current trends, latest innovations, advice and tips and quality service.

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Convention Centre

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Annual Meeting Host 2022

The PCO: published by IAPCO Whilst every care is taken in the preparation and publishing of The PCO, the views expressed are not necessarily those of IAPCO or its members and no responsibility can be taken for articles, errors or comment. Editor: Sarah Storie-Pugh / Design:


| May 2021

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