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#02, Oct/Nov 2015 €19 / 199 SEK





ECONOMIC IMPACT Policy makers need to see and understand the economic value of our industry. We are still a hidden industry in many economies. Unless you can demonstrate your contribution to GDP, jobs represented and taxes contributed, then you will not be taken seriously.

Content transfer to participants. An ongoing evaluation of the educational tools used, new forms of knowledge transfer implemented, how to mobilize active participation of participants.





Drivers for economic growth are human capital, knowledge incubator, innovation accelerator and international connectivity. Embrace clusters.

When the business intelligence radar is switched on, you might find yourself going from business intelligence to intelligent business.

Smarter Meeting Design

Pushing Sustainability

Developing Talent

Virtual or Live?


Most meetings are boring and create little value or growth. Death by bullet points are turning venues into crime scenes.

Is sustainability sustainable? Will sustainability make the case for radical changes in where and how we meet?

The meetings industry needs to position itself as an attractive career path for the young. Gen Z, it’s all about going your own way.

More data, more kinds of data, more analytics, all telling us more things, means more meetings – not less.

Knowledge of the meetings industry is a new kind of function-based cluster, in the space between all branches.

Activate your audience

with an unforgettable experience Every year, we inspire over 1.3 million attendees through creative meetings, events, congresses and incentives.

If you’d like your next event to drive lasting results, visit for more information

The Cape Town International ­Convention Centre Flexibility Without Compromise


ocated on Cape Town’s northern foreshore, beneath Table Mountain and only a 20-minute drive from Cape Town’s International Airport, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) provides flexibility without compromise, as well as the most modern amenities and technology as mandatory components. The centre is built to meet and fulfil the unique and varied needs of its delegates and visitors. Its sub-divisible multipurpose facilities and dedicated exhibition space creates an environment conducive for a variety of functions to occur simultaneously. Over the past 12 years, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has proven itself to be an invaluable contributor to the sustainable growth and development of Cape Town, the Western Cape, and South Africa as a whole – injecting more than R25 billion into the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and more than R22 billion directly to the Western Cape Gross Geographic Product (GGP). More than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs have also been created and sustained throughout the construction and operation of the centre. As part of its commitment to growing its value, the CTICC’s expansion will double the centre’s existing exhibition capacity by adding 10,000 m² of multi-purpose conference and exhibition space and nearly 3000 m² of formal and informal meeting space. While the completion of CTICC East will enable the centre to meet the steadily growing demand from exhibition and conference

organisers across the globe, the CTICC expansion is about far more than merely adding buildings or increasing the centre’s floor space. Rather, the expansion is a key way in which the CTICC will help to raise the global competitiveness of Cape Town as a premier world-class meetings and events destination. This, in turn, makes the centre a significant contributor towards the realisation of the City’s objective to establish Cape Town as Africa’s premier business events destination as outlined in its Integrated Development Plan. Given the widespread acknowledgement that future global economic growth is increasingly reliant on intellectual capital, the meetings, conferencing and exhibition sectors have a serious role to play as a key driver of knowledge sharing and intellectual growth in South Africa. The CTICC is committed to playing a leadership role in the development of this knowledge-driven economy in Cape Town and across South Africa. By allowing the centre to attract even more global associations and large, knowledge-based events, the CTICC expansion is growing its contribution to expanding the expertise, knowledge and skills in the city, the province and the country. For more information, visit


The Capital City Has the Right Location for Every Event


re you looking for the right event location? In Berlin, you are certain to find one! The capital city has numerous unique venues – from former porcelain manufactures and old warehouses with view of the River Spree to modern congress centres. And Berlin is excellently connected: situated in central Europe, the city is very convenient to reach by plane, train, bus or car.

The Bolle Festsäle was once home to a dairy factory, but it now serves as a location for exclusive meetings and conventions along the Spree, just to the north of the government quarter. The spacious rooms cover 3,000 m² and feature eight metre high ceilings, industrial charm of the 1920s, and the latest event technology. A highlight is the new terrace on the roof of the historic dairy.

Find the right location with only a few clicks:

Old industrial buildings repurposed

Additional convention capacity: ­Estrel ­Convention  Center New major convention capacities for Berlin: Estrel Berlin – Germany’s largest hotel – has opened its new Convention Hall in early September. The Convention Hall II offers more than 10,000 m² of meeting space for conferences and congresses for up to 5,200 participants. Together with its existing meeting space, the Estrel Berlin has more than 25,000 m² for conventions for up to 12,000 participants.

On the waterfront: locations with views of the River Spree Once a warehouse, now a modern venue for events: the Westhafen Event & Convention Center (WECC) features multifunctional rooms for meetings and conferences. A special feature: a private pier allows guests to be transported conveniently to the venue by water. ADVERTORIAL

The four lofts at Fabrik 23 offer 1,000 m² space for meetings and events in an old factory building in Berlin’s Mitte district. The “Berlin Loft” was named by Architectural Digest to the 2014 “Best of Germany” list: The original concrete floors, four metre high ceilings, custom designed furnishings blended with vintage pieces help create a truly special atmosphere. Offering three separate rooms covering 170 m², this space is ideal for meetings with up to 30 people. Since 1763, KPM has been making refined porcelain china and figurines in Berlin. The doors of the company’s historic building complex in Berlin’s Tiergarten district are now also available for events. The furnace hall where porcelain was still being fired in the 1960s offers 560 m² space, suitable for events with up to 300 participants. By contrast, the Boccherini Hall creates a magnificent setting for exclusive parties and receptions for up to 22 people. Find more information about event locations in Berlin here:

© Estrel Berlin

Berlin’s Special Locations

Meeting planners are the real stars in Berlin. We know all there is to know about arranging meetings.

Do you need to arrange a meeting, convention or any other type of event at short notice? If so, the Berlin Convention Office is on hand 24/7 to give you all the support you need. We work closely with local partners across the city and can quickly provide you with relevant advice, help and information. With the Berlin Convention Office, you can rest assured that your event is in good hands. Member of

D. Rostuhar

Arhiv TZGZ

Arhiv MSU

M. Vrdoljak

G. Vranić

D. Rostuhar

D. Vurušić

Arhiv TZGZ

M. Vrdoljak




Zagreb a Smart Place to Meet


agreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia, is one of the oldest European cities with its history running back to the 11th century, and is yet one of Europe’s youngest metropolises. It is the administrative, economic, diplomatic and cultural capital of the country, with a population of almost one million. This “city of million hearts”, has always been attracting visitors’ attention. Lately, this interest has been growing faster than ever before due to Croatia’s accession to the European Union. In addition, it makes it easily accessible from all parts of Europe. Zagreb is also the city of science and culture. Many excellent scientists and artists who have enriched Croatian and world heritage, work here. The city has approximately fifty museums and galleries, as well as private art collections and about twenty theatres and musical venues. From spring to autumn many events and exhibitions take place outdoors. They are a real treat for the visitors and they largely contribute to Zagreb’s special atmosphere. The most important cultural attractions and hotels, many of which are members of international hotel chains, are conveniently located in the heart of the city, all within 15 minutes walking distance. Zagreb is renowned for its Gothic churches, Baroque palaces, Art Deco buildings, beautiful city parks, but is also famous for the fascinating atmosphere in the historic Upper Town and the numerous downtown outdoor cafes where the true pulse of the city becomes captivating. Other attractions include one of Europe’s most lively outdoor markets, Dolac, with its cheerful red parasols – it is here that the scents and the colourful diversity of fresh picked fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products make you remember those almost forgotten tastes of your childhood … Although a Central European city in geography, culture and baroque architecture, in many ways, Zagreb has a Mediterranean

way of life. Its numerous downtown open air cafés give Zagreb the image of the biggest European café. Thanks to its many influences, the city has a special charm and that unique hospitable feel generated by its proverbial open-hearted inhabitants. To be in the city center and enjoy nature and greenery at the same time – this is all possible in Zagreb. Whichever way you go, Zagreb delights with its beautiful parks as the city boasts a long park tradition and particularly valuable natural heritage. Zagreb and its surroundings with its exceptionally preserved nature lure numerous visitors to explore the mysteries of the region: the castles, romantic legends, vineyards, spas, local gastronomic delicacies and traditionally hospitable hosts. Zagreb has a thousand faces and each one is – professional yet relaxed, modern, with a dash of a thousand years of longevity, cultural and economic, urban and adventurous … in short, Zagreb is the city that simply has to be discovered and rediscovered over and over again. The wide range of accommodation and convention facilities in Zagreb combined with the old city core, rich historical heritage, vibrant cultural life, friendly people, relaxed atmosphere, exciting gastronomic adventures and fascinating surroundings make Zagreb the ideal destination for conventions, conferences, meetings and incentives. The city houses a rich variety of venues for both small meetings and big congresses, and offers numerous exciting possibilities for setting up a memorable incentive or a fascinating event. High class congress hotels, halls in the very historical core of the city, numerous museums and galleries in addition to top quality PCOs and DMCs will make your congress an event talked about long after. Zagreb is a city where captivating city atmosphere and making business make a perfect match. For further info, please visit


Dubai Attracts Professional Associations Contributing to the Sustainable Development of the Economy of the City and the Wider Region


ubai Association Centre (DAC), which was formed last year as a joint project by Dubai Tourism, Dubai World Trade Centre and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is a legal entity which serves as a spring board for international associations looking to establish a presence in the UAE and the Middle East. Over the past one year of its operations, DAC has succeeded in its objective of promoting Dubai as the preferred regional destination for professional associations, as is evident from the rising interest by global associations in setting up branches in the emirate. DAC has already welcomed 13 global bodies, with 54 applications still under process and has participated in over 10 promotional events in eight cities around the globe. Home to more than 200 nationalities, Dubai has a history of welcoming individuals from all backgrounds and faiths, which makes it an ideal gateway for all industries to flourish and positions it as a global meeting point. Associations can support a vast range ADVERTORIAL

of professional and academic fields and help to further strengthen Dubai’s role as a knowledge hub across various industries, which will organically increase the number of meetings and events that are hosted in the emirate. Through DAC, associations can use Dubai as springboard to the vast growth opportunities in the region, which will help them grow in a sustained manner and get access to new funding sources and partnership opportunities. Commenting on Dubai’s positioning as a global knowledge hub, Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events – the official convention bureau and a division of Dubai Tourism said: “Associations play a vital role in establishing Dubai as a knowledge hub regionally as well as internationally. They bolster the capabilities and expertise of their sectors and drive advocacy, research, development and community learning. For us, their presence enhances the development of Dubai beyond meetings and events”.

Making business a pleasure

Conventions don´t have to be conventional A business trip to Madrid seems less like hard work than most. Sunny weather, conveniently located conference venues and gourmet lunches are just some of the bonuses for when you visit on business. A„er a busy day, Madrid’s famous museums and elegant stores are a great way to recharge before sampling the vibrant nightlife. Relax over tapas in an outdoor café or dance until dawn. Whatever you do, Madrid is the business. (+34) 91 758 55 28



Conventions Don’t Have to Be Conventional


ew cities can boast such suitable conditions as Madrid for hosting professional meetings, conferences, conventions and incentive trips. Its economic vitality is complemented with an excellent infrastructure, modern congress facilities, highly specialized ­services and an excellent hotel sector. It is not just these competitive advantages that make the difference compared with other destinations, but also the possibility that the capital offers to combine work and fun. Because in Madrid, leisure and business are complementary rather than mutually exclusive terms, and doing business can be a real pleasure. With a million business tourists each year, Madrid is the undisputed international hub between Europe and South America and has vast potential to become the primary gateway to North ­America. Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport operates direct flights to 200 destinations around the world. And it also boasts an extensive modern urban and intercity public transport network, having more high-speed links to other national cities than any other European capital and a large high-speed trains system, with more than 2,600 km and 80 destinations from Madrid to the rest of Spain. The city offers 242 hotels in the three, four and five-star ­categories and is able to accommodate more than 42,000 guests, more than 81,000 if we talk about Madrid region. And what’s more, Madrid’s hotels offer a highly competitive quality/price ratio. However, if Madrid has a distinguishing feature it is its ­ability to make work meetings a pleasurable time. In Madrid the line separating business and pleasure blurs, making it possible to hold ­meetings and close business deals while enjoying the city’s unbeatable entertainment, food and cultural agenda.

The kilometre-long Art Walk is home to three of the world’s finest art galleries – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía Museums – and receives more than seven million visitors each year. In 2013, Madrid was chosen as the second best city in Europe for shopping (Globe Shopper Index): going shopping in Madrid is very tempting given the variety, the quality and the numerous and appealing possibilities one will come across. Visitors will find products for every taste and every pocket, at shops ranging from the most avant-garde establishments to traditional shops in the old part of the town. With almost 3,000 hours of sunlight per year, Madrid is a bright and warm city. Its Mediterranean continental climate is the best invitation for a walk. A great number of parks embellish the city and contribute to creating a pleasant and healthy atmosphere, making it, at the same time, the greenest city in Europe. Madrid is the only city in the world which is surrounded by six sites considered World Heritage by UNESCO within a 100 km radius: Toledo, Ávila, Segovia, Alcalá de Henares, El Escorial and Aranjuez. Cutting-edge facilities, devoted professionals and modern infra­ structures allow you to comply with the most demanding ­quality levels. And the region’s excellent climate, its safety, the ­quality of life, culture and history and the multicultural ambience which permeates the city all combine to create a perfect fusion between the business world and leisure attractions. Thanks to all this, in Madrid your event is sure to be a unique experience. For further information visit


RAI Amsterdam The Future is Now


ince 1893, RAI Amsterdam has actively tried to create the right context for inspiring meetings to take place in and strong ties to develop in. As the facilitating party, RAI Convention Centre creates the ideal conditions for inspiring meetings to take place in and strong ties to develop in. As the organising party, RAI Exhibitions connects context, content and communities utilising national and international consumer and professional trade fairs.

RAI Amtrium RAI Amsterdam opened the doors to its new multi-purpose exhibition and convention centre, RAI Amtrium, in June 2015. The Amtrium is a third-generation structure which unites exhibition, convention and office functions. It also features two restaurants and a special greenhouse for urban farming. The Amtrium is the first convention building in Europe to receive the BREEAM-NL Excellent label from DGBC.

nhow hotel Amsterdam RAI The RAI is set to add an iconic element to the skyline of the Zuidas business district in 2018 with the nhow Amsterdam RAI. The construction of this 91metre hotel with 650 rooms is planned to start in mid-2016. The hotel will occupy a triangle bounded by the Europaboulevard, the A10 ring road and RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre. The RAI chose NH Hotel Group and its innovative nhow concept after a rigorous tendering process. The hotel is designed by OMA, the firm founded by Rem Koolhaas, and will be developed by COD. The new structure is expected to be operational in 2018. ADVERTORIAL

Multifunctional parking building In September 2015 RAI Amsterdam has started the construction on an nine-storey multifunctional parking building near the point where the A10 ring road intersects the Zuidas district in Amsterdam. The structure will be 30 metres high and contain approximately 1,000 parking spaces. The building will be much more than just a car park, however: with 7.20-metre ceilings and a sophisticated finish, the first floor will serve as a 2,500 m² exhibition and convention space. In addition, the roof will provide multiple opportunities to install an extra pavilion during major events. The structure will be built in accordance with all current sustainability standards and is expected to be completed in August 2016 These new facilities are part of an ongoing programme of investment by the RAI in sustainable innovation, reinforcing the company’s position as a leading international exhibition and convention centre.

RAI Sustainability Report live now! Under the motto Creating a great environment to meet, the RAI will continue to play a leading role in the field of sustainability within Europe’s conference and events industry in the years ahead. All this and more is contained in the seventh edition of RAI Amsterdam’s sustainability report, which has been published online in October 2015. The report was made ​​together in accordance with the guidelines of the GRI B (Global Reporting Initiative). For more information, visit


Half of the world’s population within a five hour flight 133,000sqm of stunning, flexible event space 27,000+ hotel rooms across the city State of the art facilities and infrastructure

Proud members of

visit call +971 (0)2 444 6900 email

Ireland Taking Care of You


reland’s only international-standard convention centre, The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD), has a solid reputation for exceptional events and outstanding customer service. The venue is celebrating five years of business this year, and since opening in September 2010, has hosted over 1,150 events and 1.4 million delegate days. The experienced and dedicated team at The CCD work relentlessly to offer conference and event organisers, as well as conference delegates, an unrivalled event experience. The venue maintains a customer satisfaction rate of over 95 % and prides itself on high levels of professionalism coupled with a sense of Irish warmth and hospitality. It’s not surprising that The CCD receives excellent feedback from its clients, particularly about its award-winning team. It was fantastic working with such a professional, dedicated, hard-working team who understood our event and what we were trying to achieve. Nicki Bird, Conference and Events Manager, ­Corporate ­Rewards – NetApp Insight

It was such a nice event and experience working with you and your team. From my experience with EPP congresses, it was the best organised congress and the venue staff was wonderful and responsive to all our needs. Bernada Cunj, Martens Centre Administrator, Martens Centre – ­European People’s Party (EPP) Elections Congress

This is the best convention centre I have ever worked in. The staff were so well prepared and had such a great handle on things.

UK C&IT Award for ‘Best Overseas Conference Venue’ for the second time, and three UK Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA). To date, the venue has won 31 industry awards, which it credits to its wonderful team. Whether your event is for 50 delegates or 5,000, The CCD is perfectly designed to suit all, with halls for exhibitions, a 2,000 seat auditorium for plenary sessions, and banqueting facilities for up to 3,000 guests. In addition, four boardrooms and 11 meeting rooms are available for intimate meetings and breakout sessions, while six foyer spaces flood the venue with natural light and offer the perfect setting for registration and hospitality. Ireland is easily accessible for delegates who can avail of direct flights to the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East with 57 airlines and 175 routes. The CCD’s central location, just 20 minutes from Dublin Airport and in the heart of the city centre, gives conference organisers the choice of over 20,000 competitively priced hotel rooms within a 10 km radius. Many other amenities, including Dublin’s many museums, galleries and tourist attractions are also within close proximity. The CCD continues to see huge interest in what it has to offer as a European conference venue and in the last six months alone, has confirmed a host of high-profile conferences up until 2019. These include ICANN 54 which will take place in October this year, the Social Media and Critical Care Conference (SMACC) 2016, DrupalCon 2016, the 7th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights (WCFLCR) 2017, the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR) 2018, the International Association for Plant Biotechnology Congress (IAPB) 2018 and the 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Science (INQUA) 2019.

Cathy Ryan, Senior Director, International Meetings, HIMSS – eHealth Week

So far this year, The CCD has won the UK M&IT Award for ‘Best Overseas Conference Venue’ for the fourth time in a row, the

If you’re looking for a unique and inspirational venue for your next business event, visit, email or call +353 1 856 0000.


Active Autumn Meeting Sessions Even in the aftermath of a summer slump due to fears over the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the city’s MICE industry has managed to bounce back with vengeance to kick off the fall. Coex, Seoul’s premiere convention and exhibition center, alone will see over 8,800 visitors from just three major conventions happening over the fall. Supporting Coex’s reputation as a venue for prestigious medical conventions, the 16th International College of Prosthodontists Scientific Conference and the World Allergy Congress together brought in 5,800 medical experts from over 100 countries. Another 5,500 guests from 120 countries will flood the centre during October and November for the PIARC World Road Congress, the 24th International Conference on Magnet Technology, and the International Conference on Food Factors, proving that Coex is a centre built for meetings for all industries. The autumn season also means Coex is preparing for the launch of KOSIGN and Food Week, two of its biggest, UFI approved international events, expecting to draw more than 60,000 visitors.

A Season of Colour and Culture In addition to a bustling time for business deals, its truly one of the most scenic times to visit Korea. Seoul enjoys mild temperatures and colourful landscapes during the fall. Located at the heart of the city in the Gingham district, ADVERTORIAL

many of Seoul’s scenic hot spots are easily accessible via the two train stations or inexpensive taxis near the exhibition center. The burgundy foliage that covers Namsan mountain, for example, is only a short ride away. From the observatory guests can get a 360 degree view of the autumn leaves that envelope one of the biggest cities in the world. For visitors with more of an interest in the latest trends, a walk down the renowned Ginko treelined Garosugil street in the Sinsa district offers a perfect mesh of trendy fashion and nature. Closer to home, Boeung Temple across from Coex’s third floor auditorium offers stunning fall scenery as a backdrop for social coffee breaks, or a quiet sanctuary for guests looking to get closer to Korean history.

A Time For Celebration This autumn also marks a time for celebration as the Coex MICE Cluster celebrates its first official fall season. The Coex Mice Cluster consists of 13 partner companies including the Coex conventions and Exhibition Center, Grand Intercontinental Parnas and Coex Intercontinental Hotels, Oakwood residence, 7 Luck Casino, Coex Aquarium, Megabit Cinema, Lotte Duty Free, SM Town, Coex Mall, Trade Tower and ASEM Tower, City Airport Terminal, Our Home Catering, and the Hyundai Department Store. The MICE Cluster kicked off the autumn season with the opening of the new Bongeunsa express subway station that is now connected to the Coex Mall making it easier than ever to visit the autumn tourist sites of Seoul and its surrounding provinces.

Connect with Business, Explore Culture Whether a convention, team building event, or world class exhibition, Coex goes above and beyond to ensure an unforgettable event experience. Ask Coex how we can make your autumn event a memorable one. To learn more, visit

Virgile Simon Bertrand


eoul has long had a reputation for being a one of the most competitive destinations in Asia’s MICE industry, and its a reputation hard earned. In just a matter of decades the city grew from its war-torn roots into an expansive, high-tech metropolis. With an extensive track record of quality business events and a booming MICE industry, there is no better time to visit Seoul than during it’s peak autumn season.


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No. 02 

2015 Think Laterally WRI TERS Carolyn Clark, Simon Dufaur, Greg Oates, Jan Rollof, Atti Soenarso,


Freedom of Expression

Rohit Talwar P HO TO GRAP HERS Sara Appelgren,

Atti Soenarso: The foundation of all other liberties.

Stephanie Blomkamp, Roger Kellerman, Magnus Malmberg, Simon C Maxwell, Larissa Nowak, Jon van Terry TR A NSL ATION  Dennis Brice


From the Postcard to the Business Card

E DITOR Pravasan Pillay ART  D I REC TO R

Greg Oates: Turning second-tier cities into top-tier destinations.

E DITOR IA L R AYS O F  S UNS HI NE  Bimo’s cello ensemble +

Diversity + London Tech Week + Max Martin +


Adopting the Millennial Mindset

Freedom of speech + John Travener S UBS C RI P TI O N  Four issues: Sweden €39, Europe €73, Outside Europe €77.

Destination Marketing: The New Wave.

Buy at or Single copies are €15 + postage


Rohit Talwar, Futurist

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An updated meeting structure.

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Every Crisis Has Its Opportunities Bert van Walbeek, a “Master of Disaster”.

80 SAFETY AND SECURITY Reproduction of articles and other material, whole or in part, is forbidden without the prior consent of the publishers. Quoting, however, is encouraged as long as the source is stated.

Alexandros Paraskevas The industry has to go the extra mile for safety and security.


Andy Williams What’s your risk appetite?

Meetings International is a member of ICCA, MPI, SITE and The International­Federation of Audit Bureaux of ­Circulations, IFABC.


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INTRO | 23

Freedom OF EXPRESSION Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, yet this freedom is being curtailed in an alarming number of nations. British author, Ian McEwan, reminds us that every liberty we own or struggle for has first been considered, debated and written about, which is why freedom of expression is the foundation upon which all other liberties rest. A journal’s greatest merit is that it makes it possible to view a story from many different angles, hence reducing the risk of biased opinions being formed about, for example, speakers before they even speak. Those crucial seconds that pass before we become aware of who is speaking could be decisive in forming a biased opinion. German author and anti-Nazi, Victor Klemperer, said the following in a speech on freedom of expression: “Words can be like small doses of arsenic. They are swallowed unnoticed and seem to be having no effect until the poison eventually goes to work.” Journals come in many shapes and forms. A journal may well be a tribute to words, thoughts, perspectives, ideas. And there are editorial offices

that do what they have always done. With words – and terms – change with the times, they just have to be aware of how. Words are not meant to stand in the way of exchanges, but facilitate them. A small shift in the meaning of a word is enough. If words are used carelessly they risk becoming undermined. Another author, Hungarian Péter Esterházy, said in his opening speech at the recent Sweden Book Fair in Gothenburg something along the lines of: “Art is not a solution to anything. No novel has ever stopped something bad from happening. But the good books, those usually spoken about here, in these circles, are suffused in the desire to teach understanding. We could also call it hope.” The famous words usually attributed to Voltaire should never be forgotten: “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is seldom appropriate to try to silence those you disagree with.

Swedish-Indonesian Atti Soenarso has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. She has worked for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, was TV4’s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings. photo Magnus Malmberg



Start Thinking About


Carolyn Clark

“It looks like some of them see Airbnb as a creative option during group gatherings” Do you remember when corporate travel programs focused on discounts with a few major hotel brands? Those days are dwindling. While the most recognized names in the hotel industry will continue to attract plenty of on-the-go professionals, the peerto-peer rental service that everyone is talking about appears to be making big strides in the business travel landscape. Airbnb recently announced that it has signed 500 new companies to its Airbnb for Business program. The most impressive piece of the announcement? These 500 companies didn’t come over the course of a quarter. They came within 24 hours of the company’s launch of a new global travel management suite that makes company accounting convenient for travellers who want to spend their travel time in an Airbnb property. Translation: a wide range of corporations are encouraging their employees to jump on board the alternative lodging bandwagon. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

With the latest addition of these new companies, Airbnb says it now has more than 1,000 businesses from over 35 countries who are making Airbnb accommodations a part of their travel programs. These companies aren’t just looking for affordable housing options for individual business travellers, either. It looks like some of them see Airbnb as a creative option during group gatherings. “We were particularly impressed that Airbnb’s new Business Travel product suite allows you to uncover unique locations for temporary housing, team offsets and conventions where there is an opportunity to build closer working relationships by sharing accommodations in a casual and friendly environment,” Jeff Mannie, VP, Controller and CAO at online file sharing firm Box, said in a statement. In addition to Box’s praise of Airbnb’s business offerings, the most important name in online search is giving its employees the opportunity to think outside the traditional four walls of a hotel room when travelling for conferences. “Our employees appreciate the choice and the flexibility that Airbnb listings provide them when they’re on the road – whether for conferences, meetings or team off-sites,” Darragh Ormsby, Global Travel Man-

ager, Google, said in a testimonial on Airbnb’s business site. Business leaders aren’t the only ones who are turning up the volume on the alternative accommodation conversation. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Travel Association announced a new partnership with Airbnb that will help connect Airbnb “to meeting and event planners to achieve peak attendance during city-wide conventions and big events while meeting the diverse preferences of a wide range of delegates coming to the city.” Read more:


Algiers Firmly on the Map AS A MAJOR MEETINGS DESTINATION The International Conference Center (CIC) is currently being constructed in Algiers by the Government of Algeria. The venue is scheduled to be completed and open in the 2nd quarter of 2016. Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria, with a population of approximately 4 million people. The project site is located in the territorial perimeter of the Sahel State Residence at Club des Pins, in the district of Algiers. Sitting on the Mediterranean Sea, its location provides a picturesque setting with breathtaking views and a mild climate. It will be a first-class state of the art international center that will house meeting rooms, exhibition halls, restaurants, retail space, parking facilities and an amphitheater that will accommodate over 6,000 delegates.

The total capacity of the CIC is approximately 10,000 people and the configuration of the space allows the center to host multiple events at the same time. The CIC is sure to put Algiers on the map as a premier conference destination in North Africa and the Middle East. Global Hospitality Management, LLC (GHM), an affiliate of Drew Company, Inc., who developed the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center Boston Complex, have been selected to operate and manage the CIC. The firm has had over 25 years of experience in owning and managing trade center operations. John E. Drew is the Chairman of Trade Center Management Associates, which manages the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the U.S. Government. He is

also the Chairman of the newly established World Trade Center Dublin, Ireland. On being awarded the management contract Drew commented: “GHM is excited to be part of such a pivotal and challenging project. This public-private partnership affords GHM and its team the opportunity to participate in a game-changing development to catapult Algeria as a major meetings destination in international markets.” Paul D’Arcy, who has recently joined from the Calabar ICC and previously managed the Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching, Qatar National Convention Centre and Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre, has been appointed CEO and Executive Director. He is confident that Africa and North Africa in particular, has a tremendous amount to offer the developing meetings and events market. 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL

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“When it opens in 2016 CIC will offer not only first-class state of the art facilities with a total capacity for over 10,000 people and amphitheater to accommodate over 6,000 delegates. It will also provide significant additional economic benefits including direct and indirect employment, additional demand for hotel rooms and demand for ancillary tourism products. It will put Algeria firmly on the international map as a meetings destination,” said D’Arcy. Daniel Charbonnier, an industry professional who has many years of hospitality experience gained in such renowned brands as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and provided advisory services and hands on operations assistance on assignments in India, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Russia and Switzerland, has been appointed COO.

The center will create employment for approximately 700+ employees with a core management team of 7–15 expatriate employees. The intent is that some of the positions filled by expatriates may ultimately be filled by locals after they have been trained to take over that position. The Government of Algeria is committed to promoting the natural, cultural, and historical potential of the country to enhance Algeria’s tourism profile in order to raise it to the level of an outstanding destination in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The CIC is viewed as an important conduit to this focus on tourism as an economic driver. In furtherance of its commitment to the success of tourism and the service industry, the Government of Algeria has recently opened ESHRA, a nearby hospital-

ity university co-sponsored by the Lausanne Hotel School. Students and graduates of this program will gain the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to succeed in the hospitality industry and will be able to put those skills to practice at the CIC.

“Scheduled to be completed and open in the 2nd quarter of 2016”

When heart meets business. It seems possible to enfold the whole world in an embrace. Your ideas start to feel at home expressed in 305,407 m2 of space. 19 trade fair halls swell with all the new opportunities you can envisage. Somehow you know you’ve reached the right destination: 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

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Amex GLOBAL TRENDS 2016 “The choice of venue will nearly always be influenced by budget” A snapshot of the forecast’s Meetings ­Program and Policy Trends. A need to move quickly. A pre-

dominant trend across regions is an increase in pace. As more meetings are planned, locations fill up quickly and compliance and risk issues rise in importance, the scope of meeting planning activities has grown but the time allowed to complete them has not. As a result, meeting planners and owners must be much more proactive. One expert explains, “Businesses needs to be thinking strategically much further in advance then they have been. One organization, for example, has a global conference of 5,000 employees and we’re already negotiating contracts for 2020 in order to secure the properties they want.” Budget drives location. Respondents

all regions identify budget as the key consideration in choosing a meeting location. Ultimately, regardless of the intent of the meeting, the choice of venue will nearly always be influenced by budget. Companies will determine what they are willing and able to invest in each event, with costs for accommodation often consuming MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

a significant portion of that investment, and location heavily influencing transportation costs as well. While budget drives location choice, one-fifth of respondents from North America and Europe identify the type of location required as a priority. Type of location could include its proximity to a training facility or an airport. This element is ranked as less important in Asia and Central and South America. Ease of transportation to the location is also a priority across regions as it can impact both attendee time requirements and travel costs. Economic and political instability.

For 14 percent of respondents from Asia, safety is an important consideration and for 16 percent economic and political instability is also a key concern. While experts refer to these as important across all regions, economic and political shifts in Asia may be driving the higher level of concern in the region. The influence of managed programs.

Managed travel programs appear to be quickly becoming
the norm across all regions. “The number of organizations that are implementing managed

meetings programs and looking to our company to be a preferred supplier is increasing,” says Kaaren Hamilton of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The growth of managed programs is driving new attention to all aspects of meeting planning so that location and accommodation remain high priorities but are among a range of considerations in the hotel sourcing process. Driven by compliance. The imple-

mentation of formal meetings policies continues to grow within and across regions. “Overall meeting management is on the rise and growing in terms of priority and companies are struggling with how to address the need for meeting policy and driving adoption,” according to a meetings expert from North America. Asia continues to see remarkable growth in this area with only 13 percent of organizations reporting no formal policy compared with 21 percent in our 2015 Forecast. While 68 percent of North America-based respondents state that policies are in place for some or all of the organization, 25 percent still state that there are no formal policies at the organisational level. More than 70 percent of Europe-based respond-


“Meeting management is on the rise and growing in terms of priority”

ents indicate that formal policies are in place for entire organizations, while 18 percent suggest that there is some formal policy. Similarly, Milton Rivera of America Express Meetings & Events sums up the current meetings policy shift by suggesting that, “The torch at the front of the initiative is compliance.” Another meetings expert in Asia indicates that, “Companies are looking at developing more robust policies and those companies that had a meetings policy last year are working on making it more effective this year.” Compliance leads to consolidation of meeting planning within an organization to provide greater transparency of meeting processes and to ensure fit with policy. Policies cover a range of components. Meetings policies cover a range

of issues including expansion, safety, payment and approval processes. Meetings policies in Asia appear to cover a wider breadth of components, with at least a third reporting the inclusion of all surveyed components. Policies that relate to meetings/ events payment tools are important across all regions as are the procurement of meetings and goods and

services policies for those meetings. While 38 percent of organizations in Asia include Return on investment (ROI) metrics in their meetings policies, this component is included in less than one fifth of organization policies in other regions.

North America and Europe at 23 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Central and South America-based respondents report a lower number at 18 percent, and in Asia, respondents see a big rise to 45 percent from 26 percent in the 2015 Forecast.

ROI matters more. While still rela-

The changing work of the meeting planner. As the work required of the

tively small compared with other policy components, the percentage of respondents reporting explicit language around the expanded use of ROI metrics continues to rise from 2015 in all regions. The most dramatic shifts are seen in Asia where the ROI component has risen from 20 percent inclusion noted in our 2015 Forecast to 38 percent, and Central and South America where it has risen from 5 percent inclusion in 2015 to 15 percent in 2016. More and more companies are wanting to see the return on investment for meetings measured in some way. However, there still does not appear to be one consistent way meetings are measured. Global expansion and standardization. The number of respondents

incorporating globalization/standardization content in their meetings policies is relatively similar in both

meeting planner broadens in scope to include data tracking
and analysis provision as well as effective meeting delivery, the job of the meeting planner becomes more complex. “We need to be very organized and very data savvy to manage the client activity and expectations. The job is becoming more intense at the local level requiring a shift in skill set,” explains one meetings expert. Meeting planning technology. Re-

spondents report that the inclusion of policies regarding the use of meeting planning technology ranges from 18 percent to 29 percent, with the exception of Asia, where it has nearly doubled to 45 percent since last year’s forecast. Milton Rivera of American Express Meetings & Events sees the need for a concerted strategy


make the most of the ever-changing meeting technology landscape. He explains that, “While the features available through meetings technology keep increasing, customers often struggle with knowing which feature is applicable. The company that has a well-thought-out strategy and understands its requirements will be better able to take advantage of the solutions that are available.”

President American Express Meetings & Events explains, “While it used to be insulting to the presenter for audience members to be on a device during the presentation, now it is expected. But we have to make sure the technology is contributing to the meeting, whether the attendee is communicating with others who are connected in some way to the meeting, or enabling the meeting owner to

“Experts and suppliers alike continue to say that face-to-face is the preferred meeting type” Another meeting professional suggests that the uptake of technology will increase as those with more skills move up through the meeting planning process. “Right now, technology is often seen as very complex but as the younger generation takes hold in the industry this will likely change quite quickly, given their near constant exposure to, and experience with, technology.” The rise of social media. While the

inclusion of social media language in meeting policy remains at 11 percent in Europe, it has risen to 20 percent across other regions and 29 percent in Asia. Meeting owners and planners are beginning to look more and more to the potential utility of social media tools in the meeting process, and the potential risks. Multitasking. Planners reinforce

the importance of ensuring that the event app doesn’t take away from the meeting. However, Yma Sherry, Vice MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

more closely monitor the activity of the attendee.” Virtual and hybrid meetings. While

experts suggest that people are becoming better equipped to manage or attend virtual and hybrid meetings, their usage does not appear to be increasing. One quarter or fewer of respondents report using virtual or hybrid solutions in more than 10 percent of their meetings. Experts and suppliers alike continue to say that face-to-face is the preferred meeting type. Mobile apps. Mobile apps are be-

coming increasingly common and effective across meeting types and regions. Usage among Central and South America-based respondents is highest with more than half of all respondents using mobile apps in more than 10 percent of their meetings. Significant growth in mobile app usage is also anticipated for all regions in 2016. A meeting expert noted, “We

are definitely seeing a maturing with increased uptake of social media apps and the changing shape of meetings. Clients want to be flexible so it comes down to how the app will contribute to the meeting.” Sorting through the options. Experts

suggest that while the use of and interest in mobile apps is rising rapidly there is often limited understanding within organizations regarding how best to take advantage of them. There are numerous meeting app solutions available, so it can be a challenge for an organization to identify the best one for their event. According to one meeting expert in North America, “There is a role for the meeting planner to play, to help companies find the right solution and ensure it’s compliant with their policies.”


Fast50 FOR MEETINGSELECT For the third consecutive year Meetingselect has been awarded a Deloitte Technology Fast50 company during the annual election of the fifty fastest growing technology companies in The Netherlands. Meetingselect, the online venue sourcing and meeting booking tool, achieved 8th place in the ranking with 979 percent growth. A remarkable achievement given the fact that the selection is based on the revenue growth over the past four years. This year’s award is extra special for Meetingselect; first they are awarded a Fast50 tech company for three consecutive years, secondly they are listed in the top ten fastest growing tech companies and to top it off, Meetingselect was ranked the number one women-run company in the Fast50 list.

“The strength of our company is access to the newest technology combined with customer-focused service, such as access to experienced meeting planners to book hotels for groups and meeting venues worldwide,” said Judith Huisman, co-founder of the company. “This award is a great recognition for our team and we are grateful for the continuous trust and support of our customers and suppliers.” “From start-up we are running a transparent business strategy which is clear to our customers and fair-play for the hotel and meeting industry. This is part of our success and quick growth,” said co-founder, Anouk Roohé. The online meeting booking tool connects more than 450,000 meeting spaces over 100,000 locations

worldwide. Venues range from traditional hotels and conference spaces to unique venues such as farmhouses, country houses and castles, golf clubs, villas, museums and ships.

“The strength of our company is access to the newest technology combined with customer-focused service”




Greg Oates, Skift

“There’s been more change in the last five years than there was in the 50 years before that” The Convention Industry is turning second-tier cities into top-tier destinations. Austin, Hamburg, Auckland, Medellin, Bangalore and many more cities with good international access are emerging as “new world cities,” and the convention industry is playing a growing role in their development. That’s according to professor Greg Clark, chairman of the Business of Cities think tank in London. He outlined the trend at this year’s International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) conference in Boston during his presentation: “The Role of Convention Centers as Instruments of City Development & Transition.” Clark asserts that the global financial crisis and the spread of digital connectivity worldwide have spurred a new era of mobility. Following the recession, multinational companies are much more agile and willing to invest in a wider spectrum of new destinations, based on an evolving set of criteria revolving around high levels of accessibility, talent, tolerance and technology. “Since 2008 and the global financial crisis, there’s been a massive acceleration in the changing global maps of trade, investment, tourism, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions,” said Clark. “There’s been MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

more change in the last five years than there was in the 50 years before that. What that has essentially done is to crystallize a new map of the world, where much of the dynamism is in locations that were previously perceived to be developing or emerging, or not yet complete as markets.” In an effort to attract foreign investment and raise their stature on the new world map, these new world cities are now acting more like multinational corporations themselves, in effect, competing for customers looking to expand in the new global marketplace. Because of that, there’s a more strategic focus among city leaders today on building a stronger, more specific city identity by improving their destination branding and reputation to better compete within their competitive set globally. This is a major shift for many city leaders, explained Clark, who are now seeking ways to raise their profile on a playing field that didn’t exist ten years ago. “The competition that is produced by hyper-mobility is the key thing that many cities have to now focus on,” Clark emphasized. For municipal governments striving to elevate their cities on the world stage, one of their primary strategies is a heightened focus on the

ability of convention center districts and conventions themselves to shift global perception around the destination brand. These new world cities tend to be either second-tier cities in established global markets, which are moving out of the shadow of their iconic business world capitals, or first-tier cities in emerging or smaller global markets. Examples of the first scenario include Austin, Lyon, Bangalore, and Hamburg. Examples of the second are Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen, and Auckland. Ten years ago, international companies overlooked cities such as these for investment and expansion, so they often bypassed them as host locations for international conventions. Why those cities are succeeding as new world cities while others are not is based on many factors. The most interesting of those relating to the convention industry is what Clark calls the “reurbanization of business.” “The process of sprawl was the dominant model of city development in the 20th century, [which] placed population and jobs consistently outside of the city center,” he said. “The technological advances of the 21st century, plus some big improvements that have been made in cities, has allowed companies and population to


come back into cities. So at the same time as we see global urbanization, we also see a re-urbanization, particularly in the OECD countries.” That reurbanization of downtown cores is driving the shift from previously standalone convention centers to vibrant convention center districts, where the meeting facilities are now integrated into new residential and

even though all of you agree that convention centers are really critical.” That challenge pivots on strong collaboration between city governments, convention centers and convention bureaus to define their destinations’ business brand. San Francisco is an example of a fully realized world city that has developed its destination identity to

“Ten years ago, international companies overlooked cities such as these”

commercial urban ecosystems more than just a decade ago. The success of reurbanized cities like Austin, Nashville, Calgary and others illustrate how regional markets are expanding into national and international markets, driven in part by their growth in attracting more large scale conventions year-overyear. In Nashville, for example, the Nashville Business Journal reports that the Music City Center convention facility hosted 305 events during the 2014/15 fiscal year, with 676,060 attendees generating 389,696 room nights and $392 million in economic impact. During the previous fiscal, the MCC hosted 491,352 attendees resulting in 272,917 room nights and an injection of $243 million into the city. That’s a 61 percent jump in tax revenues. Speaking to the audience of convention center executives, Clark said, “The key thing that I’m concerned about is that you believe city governments don’t really understand how to make the most of convention centers,

successfully engage the leisure, business travel and convention markets. The city collaborates as well with its convention center and tech sector as it does with its wine tourism and food festival partners. Meanwhile, cities like Miami and Amsterdam are only now emerging as new world cities, because they’ve had to overcome long-established reputations as primarily leisure destinations, which hampered the development of their business brand. Both cities are investing billions in urban infrastructure while their convention bureaus are investing heavily to promote their convention infrastructure. Clark says cities that have effectively challenged those one-sided misperceptions are focusing on strategic urban placemaking, experiential brand building, and destination marketing that shifts their reputation from the “postcard to the business card.” At the AIPC conference, he explained: “These cities that have become real convention favourites – cities like San Francisco, Barcelona,

Miami, Amsterdam, Cape Town, Stockholm and many others – these are all cities where part of the appeal of going to visit them is that they have this wonderful urban lifestyle. They have an outdoors culture, they have a sense of being accessible, it’s not overwhelming and yet it’s urban. There’s a buzz, there’s a feel, they are really interesting places. “But the problem for these cities often is that it’s very difficult for them to build a business brand. They get, as it were, kind of stuck with a very strong visitor brand and then it’s hard to tell a business story … This is where I think conventions and congresses make a huge difference. “If you think about Miami, this was about saying we’re not just a holiday destination and a retirement location. We are actually the business capital of the Pan American economy. It’s about trade, it’s about capitalization. They’re steadily building that story, but I think that story is not complete.” In other more established new world cities such as Sydney, Barcelona and Dublin, they have successfully linked their growing technology and academic sectors with their convention industry infrastructure to drive this shift from the postcard to the business card. “You can see Dublin using this whole idea of being a knowledge hub, showing its excellence in medicine and technology and education, a small city with global reach,” said Clark. “For each of these types of cities, conventions and congresses can play very specific sorts of roles in helping that city to reach the next stage in its overall strategy.” The growing emphasis on conventions as a destination brand identifier and magnet for corporate investment in a hyper-mobile world is placing a greater onus on convention centers 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“Provide accessible and robust evidence on economic impact beyond the old formula of jobs and bed nights”

and cities to collaborate more effectively. Clark presented the following lists to suggest how each side can be better partners in that equation. Top 10 Strategies for Convention Centers to Support Cities

1. Understand your city type and strategy goals. Who are the wider competitors and comparators? What are the priorities? What is your city’s strategy? 2. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your city governance system and its points of influence. 3. Form a strong relationship with your convention bureau and work on joint relationships with city hall. 4. Volunteer support for city strategy in the areas of brand, tourism, connectivity, destination development, knowledge economy, and district business. 5. Share the credit with city leaders 6. Provide accessible and robust evidence on economic impact beyond the old formula of jobs and bed nights.


7. Join the city economic development organization and work with leaders at the universities, airports and city center improvement agencies. 8. Help city leaders understand how conventions link and leverage business and tourism brands, because most city leaders don’t have a firm grasp of that. 9. Support other large events not taking place at the convention center, because it’s a great way to build alliances. 10. Bring business leadership from visiting groups into dialogue with the city. Top 10 Strategies for Cities to Support Conventions

1. Recognize that growth sectors and high value sectors are the most mobile and most likely to have conventions. 2. Understand that conventions are huge sources of high value relationships in a hyper-mobile world, and that conventions are about business relationships and not just a tax base.

3. See the convention center primarily as a shop window, front parlour, stage and networking platform for the city with high value audiences. 4. Task the convention center with high value strategic priorities. 5. Understand the conventions cluster as a whole and its many dimensions and impacts. 6. Solve travel and transportation problems actively. 7. Make a point of knowing which groups are in town and why, and make the welcome personal for them. 8. Follow up post-convention with high value opportunities. 9. Keep the convention center team at the top table with tourism, government and economic development. 10. Celebrate convention center successes. Regarding number seven, Clark made the point, “The number of times I’ve been to a city to moderate a convention, and I’ve popped in to tell the city government that 1,000 investors are in town, and they didn’t know, is startling.”



Adopting the Millennial Mindset IN DESTINATION MARKETING “Convention bureaus should think like Millennials” Marketing Challenges International (MCIntl), a New York-based company that represents international convention bureaus and convention centers, recently released an illuminating research report titled Destination Marketing: The New Wave – Marketing Business Destinations to Millennial Meeting Planners in North America. The report outlines the coming culture shift as a result of the growing ascendancy of Millennials – a shift that has been on the minds of many meetings industry trend-spotters. “Within 10 years, the Millennial generation will make up more than 75 percent of the global workforce,” the report’s opening lines note. “In the meetings industry, these Millennial planners are already taking up an increasing percentage of senior roles in their organizations and serving as drivers of change. They’re utilizing technology in new ways to connect

more effectively, work with greater efficiency, and bring greater engagement to their events. It continues: “In effect, technology has changed the way that Millennial meeting planners research, plan, and communicate with one another. Technology has created an expectation of immediacy, as well as a desire to engage rather than consume media.” However a key insight from the report is that Millennials aren’t as far removed from older generations as the above picture may suggest. “What we discovered in our research is that Millennial meeting planners are fundamentally no different from other generations in their core values and desires,” said Michel Couturier, ­MCIntl President, in a recent interview. Couturier added: “However, technology has changed, and Millennials happen to have the strongest

relationship to digital media of all generations. It’s that relationship and mindset that we need to understand in order for convention bureaus to evolve their marketing strategies.” The report advises that convention bureaus should “reevaluate the way they market themselves to North American meeting planners as a whole. Rather than just catering to generational segments and marketing to Millennials specifically, convention bureaus should think like Millennials. Adopting a ‘Millennial Mindset’ allows destinations to adapt their marketing tactics to a digital era while still meeting the needs of all planners.” What follows is extracts from Marketing Challenges International’s report – which set out three specific ‘Millennial Mindsets’ and provides marketing strategies and examples from other destination marketing organizations. The extracts also 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


evaluate new technologies and media platforms that are shaping the way convention bureaus engage with meeting planners in the digital age. Millennial Mindset 1 When we access

information in today’s digital age, it should be immediate, simple, and work across all my devices. Marketing Strategy: Rethink your

device it is being viewed upon. This is fundamentally different than a mobile-version site, which requires two sets of design and coding. Integrated Venue Tools: Many convention bureau websites feature venue directories, but some have gone above and beyond to make those directories even more useful to planners. Sites like London & Partners

“61 percent will leave the site if it’s not mobile friendly”

destination’s digital presence, particularly the website, and create an interactive portal that is adapted to today’s mobile work life. According to a 2015 Cvent study, the top channel for Millennial planners to source information is online. But today’s websites have evolved greatly in just the last few years, and it’s important that convention bureaus sites incorporate the technologies that today’s users expect, particularly when it comes to mobile. According to Google, “72 percent of users expect websites to work on mobile platforms,” while “61 percent will leave the site if it’s not mobile friendly.” Thus, here are three important trends to take into consideration when it comes to websites: Responsive Design: In a multidevice world, people can now access websites from their desktop, tablet, or phone. To create a web browsing experience that is optimised across screens, developers now create sites in a “one code fits all” responsive design, which automatically adjusts the site to fit perfectly on whatever MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

and the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau allow planners to add venues to a custom list that they can then view on a map, export as a PDF, or save and return to later. San Francisco Travel has gone a step further, allowing web users to export their venue selections as a spreadsheet – a particularly useful tool for Excel-loving planners who can easily import the sheet to a database or customer relationship management (CRM) software. Clean and Easy-To-Navigate Web Pages: Experts report that the majority of web users leave websites within 10–20 seconds, particularly if they do not find what they are looking for. The remedy for this is to use clean design that uses prominent photography and visual cues to direct users where they need to go. The navigation should be simple, and the homepage should remain uncluttered and contain only the content that is most visited by users.

Millennial Mindset 2 We don’t con-

sume digital media passively, we want to engage with it. Marketing Strategy: Provide social media and digital tools to help planners create engagement with their meeting attendees. With such limited time available, meeting planners appreciate any additional support that convention bureaus provide for events. In addition to vendor sourcing and destination advice, marketing support has been an invaluable resource to planners. Many tech-savvy convention bureaus have tapped into a number of social and digital tools to create unique marketing media that attendees not only consume, but can also engage with. Social Concierge Services: Many convention bureaus have begun to offer social media services to help planners promote their meetings. Such services can range from readymade event posts and tweets, such as the ones offered in the Louisville CB’s Social Media Toolkit, to completely customized social media experiences like the ones offered by Austin CB and San Francisco Travel. Interactive Travel Planning Sites: Salt Lake City, in an effort to change the perception of meeting planners that there is nothing fun to do in town, built a custom site for convention attendees called “There’s Nothing To Do in Salt Lake.” The site offers a ‘spin’ tool that randomizes a selection of bars, restaurants, and activities to do in the city using Instagram photos. Attendees can browse the activities, see a map, and follow the Instagram accounts of local businesses and influencers. Custom Event Microsites: Many convention bureaus in the U.S. have been creating custom microsites for planners to promote the event destination to their attendees. Micro-


“Within 10 years, the Millennial generation will make up more than 75 percent of the global workforce”

sites, which are specially branded web pages that exist within a parent site, usually have a custom URL and can be built much faster and more economically than a full event website. Through the microsite, event attendees can get helpful travel information as well as ideas on what to see and do. The convention bureaus of Salt Lake City, Tampa Bay, and Anaheim even actively promote this service on their websites. Millennial Mindset 3 Though we rely

heavily on digital media for information, we still value trusted relationships immensely. Marketing Strategy: Use digital media to help foster trust with planners by becoming an invaluable resource for information, tips, and connections. According to David Kliman, a hospitality consultant who has consulted with some of North America’s top destination marketing organizations, meeting planners still see convention bureaus as the go-to source and local expert. To take that relationship to the next level, it’s important to engage planners with content that is relevant to their business objectives, instead of just broadcasting desti-

nation-specific content. Planners that see the convention bureau as a trusted resource will hold onto that relationship for the long term. Meetings-Specific Content Marketing: Convention bureaus in North America such as Tourisme Montreal, Visit Orlando, and CincinnatiUSA have invested in creating their own meetings industry blogs. These blogs are not intended to overtly promote the destination, but rather provide meeting planners with useful information on tech trends, social media, productivity and more. CincinnatiUSA’s meeting blog has been so successful that planners now regularly call their office seeking advice. Promoting the Knowledge Economy: Michelle Crowley, Director of Global Development with Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), recommends that destinations leverage relationships with government and business leaders, universities, and other major industries to show meeting planners that they can provide access to potential speakers and support for events. In recent years, the Germany Convention Bureau (GCB) has made a point to promote the country’s key industries on its website, showcasing where the

sectors for transportation, medicine, technology, pharmaceuticals, energy, and financial services are. Bridging Real Life and Social Networking Through Linkedin: Nothing beats the power of face-to-face communication, but social networking has proven to be a powerful tool in keeping that relationship fresh. Linkedin has proven to be a great resource to meeting planners and vendors to stay in touch through group forums and company pages. The platform has recently expanded to allow users to publish their own content through Pulse (for articles) and Slideshare (for presentations). Because of Linkedin’s popularity, content shared through this network offers the opportunity for high visibility not only within one’s network, but the network’s network. Visit Marketing Challenges International’s website:



Meetings in Germany Rise AFTER THE FALL OF THE WALL “Since the reunification 2,172 international meetings have come to Berlin” Last year the German Convention Bureau (GCB) marked the 25th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the wall which culminated in the reunification of Germany one year later. These milestones launched a steady stream of progress across the country, particularly in the meetings industry. According to Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, “The fall of the wall 25 years ago and the reunification one year later have had great impact on the meetings industry as a vital component of our economy. Our agility in meshing evolving conference goals and needs with our strengths in industry, innovation and in the environment have been a successful formula for several decades. Additionally, our ability to listen to meeting planners about what is important to them has ensured that what we offer the meetings industry is high impact.” The number of conferences and meetings organized in Germany has grown every decade since ICCA was founded in 1963 and started recording the number of international association meetings hosted per country per year. According to ICCA, in the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

26 years from 1963 to 1989, Germany hosted a total of 2,149 international industry meetings. By contrast, in the 21 years since the reunification to 2011, that number grew to 7,549, an increase of more than 250 percent. Now for the tenth year in a row, Germany has earned the ranking of #1 in Europe and #2 in the world, after the United States, as an international meetings destination. What’s more, the number of German cities hosting international meetings has grown significantly. In the Sixties, just five cities – Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Wiesbaden – hosted international meetings. Today that number has grown to more than 30 cities from across all of Germany. This distinguishes Germany in the meetings industry as most countries find that only a handful of their cities host international meetings and conferences. It probably comes as little surprise that the growth of Germany’s capital and most populous city, Berlin, is the most significant. From 1963 to 1989, the city hosted 306 international meetings. Since the reunification 2,172 international meetings have come to Berlin, representing

an increase of more than 600 percent. Today, Berlin is ranked fifth worldwide as a city for international meetings. Hamburg and Munich, the second and third most populous cities in Germany, have also had positive growth paths. Hamburg hosted 221 meetings from 1963 to 1989 and 511 meetings from 1990 to 2013 (up 130 %). Munich hosted 344 and 900 meetings (up 160 %) in the same time frames. Another unique characteristic is the rapid growth of foreign participants in German meetings. Just from 2006 to 2013 alone, the number grew from 14.3 million to 22.1 million, an increase of 54 percent. In 2013 the GCB released findings from a study titled “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A study of mega trends shaping our industry.” These findings formed the foundation of a new marketing strategy for 2015–2020, which focuses on the themes of sustainability, innovation and industry expertise.


Iceland THE NUMBER ONE MEETING ­COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Iceland, with its 329,000 population, is a rather small country and yet it’s amazing comparing the ICCA figures between the island and larger countries. Iceland, it turns out, is number one in the world for international meetings, if we compare meetings to inhabitants. 35 meetings in 2014 gives the country one meeting per 9,400 inhabitants. Compared to the USA that had 831 meetings which gives it one meeting per 385,000 inhabitants. Germany has one meeting per 121,000 inhabitants, Sweden has one per 42,000 and Denmark one per 35,000. The Meet in Reykjavik Ambassador Club consists of a range of experts and academics with the common

objective of bringing conferences and events to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. The Ambassadors have in recent years been involved in hosting conferences as well as securing future events. These previous and confirmed future events include a total number of around 32,000 guests, generating approximately $100 million in foreign currency earnings into the Icelandic economy. This is testimony of the huge economic impact a small group of people can have. At the Meet in Reykjavik annual Ambassador event at the HARPA Conference Centre, the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, gave the opening speech and touched on Reykjavik’s and Iceland’s unique

ability to receive international conferences and meetings. The Mayor of Reykjavik spoke of the opportunities to generate foreign currency earnings and of strengthening the knowledge society. By linking together the contact networks of the Ambassadors and the marketing efforts of the Convention Bureau, a significant increase is anticipated in the number of international conferences, meetings, incentive tours and events. A recently developed service support for the Ambassadors is a Meet in Reykjavik app. It’s free and can be downloaded by everyone.



CWT Meetings and Events FORECAST 2016 “For select meeting categories such as incentive trips, international destinations will remain more popular” Selected extracts from the fourth annual CWT Meetings and Events Forecast. Global macroeconomic overview Stronger U.S., recovering Europe and improved outlook for developing economies. In 2015, improved

economic performance in the U.S. has been counteracted by economic weakness in Europe and Japan, a slow-down in China’s growth rate and recession in some emerging economies (e.g., Russia, Argentina and Brazil). The resulting divergence in performance, inflation rates and monetary policy has caused global trade to slow and the U.S. dollar (US$) to appreciate considerably. One of the biggest factors shaping the global economy is lower oil prices. Countries that are net importers of oil are slowly receiving the benefits of increased household disposable income and lower business costs. But net exporters are suffering from plummeting revenues, a sharp decline in investment activity and strained fiscal balances. Geopolitical challenges may appear quiet at the moment, but the situation in Ukraine or conflicts in the Middle East and Africa could quickly erupt, causing spikes in oil prices, financial market turmoil and additional trade restrictions. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

Meetings and Events Outlook Hotel prices up globally in 2016.

Globally, the meetings and events price outlook will be varied. Demand in North America, both transient and group, continues to grow at a rate that exceeds new supply, and the result is a seller’s market causing challenges for meeting owners. Europe is seeing slow but steady growth with buyers gaining greater leverage. In Asia and Latin America, economic challenges are causing uncertainty. For meeting owners who seek to hold a meeting in a high-demand market where suppliers hold the control, we’re seeing a number of trends. Hotels are omitting or reducing flexibility in key clauses related to cancellation and attrition in both rooms and F&B, and they’ve limited rebooking for future dates or the ability to resell unneeded rooms. Attrition clauses are under significant pressure in compressed tier 1 markets. In these mega cities with large airport hubs, we’re seeing up-front offers in the 10–15 percent range, compared to a traditional 20–25 percent. In addition, planners should be aware that hotels in high-demand markets are beginning to stop holding space when responding to availability requests. Meeting owners should alert internal decision makers of this

market shift, as the risk of lost space will increase and date flexibility will be crucial as events are sourced. European hotels, although more hesitant to hold space, are typically doing so with two-week limits. As with transient travel, hoteliers are increasing their yield management on group rates. With demand increasing, now more than ever, CWT recommends providing as much lead time and date flexibility as possible to manage costs and obtain your destination and venue of choice. Asia Pacific China and India dominate spend for the region. The unpredictable

economy and health-related scares threaten to limit overall growth for the region. However, strong demand from China and India will drive prices and group size up, which should mitigate the challenges we’re seeing in the rest of Asia Pacific. Increased governance and focus on compliance is being driven by the pharmaceutical industry, prompting these companies to look for ways to gain the best control of their overall meetings and events programs. As of June, there are 2,363 hotels offering 554,532 rooms under contract in the region, representing a 6.7 percent increase compared to June


2014, and a 0.6 percent year-overyear increase in rooms under construction. And Indonesia and China are constructing a strong pipeline of hotels, with large global chains expanding even further into China. Overall, supply is growing in the region, which is helping to moderate the cost increases driven by growing demand.

challenges when implementing these strategies due to the diversity of countries and cultures in the region – as well as a more dispersed existing stakeholder base. The benefits realized by a successful SMM strategy remain compelling and include double-digit savings percentages, risk mitigation, transparency, regulatory compliance and improved attendee

“Meeting owners should alert internal decision makers of this market shift” In particular, global meetings and events clients with a presence in Asia Pacific are becoming more interested in SMM (Strategic Meetings Management) programs, but they seek to balance the improved control and potential cost savings generated by SMM strategies with local business needs. Europe Fragile economic recovery prompts caution. While the European

economy has seen slight improvements, buyers remain cautious due to a potential backslide into recession. This is driving a trend towards domestic meetings as companies seek to contain costs. In terms of supply, 805 hotels totalling 130,652 rooms are under contract in Europe as of June 2015, representing a 10.2 percent decrease compared to June 2014. Further, we’ve seen a 7.6 percent year-overyear decrease in rooms under construction. As economic conditions improve and demand grows, prices may increase due to lack of supply. Regarding SMM, interest throughout Europe is growing. However, companies continue to experience

satisfaction. Much of the current successes realized within the European market stem from global companies with SMM strategies that span other regions. Latin America Supply pipeline coming online. The

landscape is changing as suppliers offer better prices and more favourable agreements for meeting planners. Growth in pharmaceutical industry meetings should continue as companies based in North America expand their meetings and events programs and visibility to Latin America. However, economic challenges are driving a trend toward domestic meetings. And we’ve also observed a move toward midscale hotels as clients look to cut costs. As of June 2015, there are 438 hotels with 68,618 rooms under contract, representing a 4.8 percent increase. However, demand has flattened in Brazil for non-pharmaceutical clients, which could drive down costs and cause a shift to a buyer’s market. In 2015, corporate group size has dropped by almost 10 percent year over year in Latin America due

to deteriorating economic conditions in major economies Brazil and Argentina. The industry remains hopeful that the Olympics in Brazil, elections in Argentina and economic improvements in the region will bolster confidence and encourage more travel. Interest in SMM continues to grow, primarily in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, but individual event management remains the most common strategy. North America A sellers market. In general, we

expect North American meetings held domestically to increase in 2016. However, for select meeting categories such as incentive trips, international destinations will remain more popular. The supply pipeline is picking up significantly, with 3,511 projects totalling 426,043 rooms under contract in the U.S. in June 2015. This represents an 11.1 percent increase compared to June 2014 and a 20.9 percent yearover-year increase in rooms under construction. Of the major markets in the U.S, New York City boasts the most rooms under contract (31,191), with Houston (18,573) and Dallas (12,285) rounding out the top 3 in terms of supply pipeline. Demand is also increasing, with U.S. lodging occupancy projected to reach 66.7 percent, the highest level seen since 1981. Therefore, pricing power will remain in the hands of hoteliers for the foreseeable future. North America is still the most mature market for SMM; however, more global organizations based in NORAM are extending these strategies into other regions. And we expect to see SMM gain momentum with organizations based outside of the U.S. in 2016.



A Key Player IN MALAYSIA’S MEETINGS INDUSTRY The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre opened its doors in 2005 and has since seen a meteoric rise from ‘new kid on the block’ to Malaysia’s premier convention facility and one of the leading meetings venues in the Asia Pacific. Its success to date as host venue to over 8,780 events and 16.1 million delegates and visitors and generating over RM5 billion (€1.1 billion) in economic impact to the country in just under a decade can be attributed to a commitment to the delivery of innovative, flexible and valMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

ue-added solutions for international, regional and local business tourism, banqueting and entertainment events by a dedicated and knowledgeable team of professionals. “It was the Centre’s growing stature within the country’s meetings industry that saw former General Manager, Datuk Peter Brokenshire and current Director of Sales & Marketing, Angeline Lue invited to participate in the Malaysian government’s Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) National Key

Economic Areas’ (NKEA) Tourism Lab in 2010,” explained General Manager Alan Pryor. “In this capacity, they were able to present a case on how business tourism could contribute to the nation’s goal of doubling tourism receipts to RM103.5 million (€23.6 million) by 2020. The result was a RM800 million (€182 million) funding to the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) over 10 years, including a RM450 million (€103 million) Subvention Fund, to drive business tourism events in the


“Host venue to over 8,780 events and 16.1 million delegates”

country and to further boost Malaysia’s competitiveness against regional competition.” And cognisant of the importance of private-public sector cooperation in driving successful events, the Centre is a founding member of Team Malaysia, a collaborative partnership with Tourism Malaysia, Malaysian Airlines (MAS), Malaysia Airports, Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) and MyCEB which works cohesively to attract international events to the country and grow Malaysia’s business tourism footprint globally. “This Team Malaysia partnership, especially on joint bid presentations, and the availability of subvention, has been pivotal in growing the country’s share of the business tourism pie,” said Pryor. “In turn, the Centre has benefited with secured business growing from 27 percent in 2012 to 37 percent in 2013 including 35 international events with an estimated economic impact of over RM830 million (€189 million) during the said period.” The Centre has also been at the forefront of local supply chain enhancement, which has helped develop Malaysia’s event proposition and

prompted industry players to raise their quality of service delivery. According to Pryor, as part of the Centre’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of clients, visitors, staff, contractors and suppliers and to minimise its impact on the environment, the Preferred Supplier Programme was implemented in 2008 to ensure that all approved suppliers/ contractors are ISO-accredited and equipped with a full working knowledge of the facility. “The spill-over effect has been for local companies to continually enhance and improve their respective products and services, thus lifting professionalism and quality standards and in turn, making the industry and Malaysia, more competitive in the international marketplace,” said Pryor. Pryor shares that in the area of human resource management, the Centre has had in place, since 2005, an Ambassadors Programme to facilitate the strategic and efficient management of a local pool of flexible staff so that there is a consistent staffing pool with the right skills set to meet client and event needs and requirements at the venue. And when

not on duty at the Centre, ambassadors freelance with other hospitality organisations which helps address the (flexible staff ) shortage faced by the industry. To date, more than 4,000 ambassadors have been trained under the programme. Without doubt, the Centre’s knowledgeable and professional team, a world-class facility and track record of successful hosting of numerous major international events, receiving multiple industry awards and strong industry partnerships have all played a role, directly or indirectly, in boosting awareness of Malaysia and her attributes as a host location for international events on the global meetings arena.



A Global View ON THE FUTURE “Data-based measures are now making their mark” The Evolution of Travel Policy: A Global View on the Future charts the evolution of travel policy, exploring the experiences, priorities, and best practices of Corporate Travel Managers around the world. Below is a quick digest of the key conclusions. The past: the balance between savings and service weighed towards savings.

ƒƒ Savings has been the primary driver of corporate travel policy over the last 1–2 years. Over half (52 %) of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed agree that savings drove the evolution of policy in their organisation, while just 16 percent cited traveller service. ƒƒ Policy tightened across a number of areas. Responses show the primary area for reduced flexibility was the use of alternate booking channels (seen by 32 % of respondents) followed by advance purchase requirements (seen by 27 %) and premium versus economy seating (seen by 21 %). The future: the balance begins to shift as organisations consider improvements to traveller service.

ƒƒ Looking over the next 1–2 years, the substantial majority of respondents (84 %) believe achieving savings will be a question of MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

demand management and ensuring compliance. ƒƒ Policy remains a key lever for savings: 24 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed expect policy around advance purchase requirements to become less flexible. 19 percent anticipate tightening of policy on the use of alternative booking channels. ƒƒ According to 75 percent of survey respondents, improvements to traveller service can lead to savings based on changes in traveller behaviour. Initiatives for improved traveller service: message-based services and mobile booking find favour; sharing economy options are not yet being widely pursued.

ƒƒ 30 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed have deployed pre-trip messaging – and 31 percent plan to introduce it in the next 5 years. 23 percent have implemented in-trip messaging, and 32 percent aim to introduce it. ƒƒ Mobile booking has been deployed in 29 percent of respondents’ organisations. 30 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed plan to implement it within the next 2 years. ƒƒ 26 percent of respondents have implemented – or plan to imple-

ment – policy for ground transportation from the sharing economy sector. 21 percent have introduced, or plan to introduce, sharing economy accommodation options – but 56 percent completely rule out adding these accommodation options to policy. ƒƒ 45 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed say they have not received any requests from their travellers to include sharing economy options in policy. Justifying the value of traveller service improvements: Corporate Travel Managers look for more sophisticated metrics.

ƒƒ Most respondents (75 %) rely on traveller feedback, via ad hoc emails or surveys, to capture traveller satisfaction. ƒƒ But data-based measures are now making their mark: 21 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed use travel productivity metrics today, and 16 percent want to introduce in the next 1–2 years. ƒƒ There’s a strong appetite for more sophisticated metrics: 51 percent of respondents call out ‘introducing Total Cost of Travel’ policy as the top wish list item for the next 1–2 years.


“Savings has been the primary driver of corporate travel policy”

No complacency about compliance: dialogue and education viewed as keys to better improved compliance and traveller satisfaction. Corporate Travel Managers target digital user communities.

ƒƒ 72 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed believe they have more work to do to achieve their desired compliance level. A further 12 percent believe they have a lot more work to do to reach their goal. ƒƒ Today, 10 percent of respondents give travellers basic information about their travel spending. Over the next 1–2 years, 20 percent aim to give travellers a complete personal dashboard report. ƒƒ 44 percent of respondents’ organisations have no formal systems in place for gathering traveller feedback. Today, 22 percent of respondents lead a user group community, and 13 percent participate in communities. 42 percent want to set up a user group to improve communication: this comes Number Two on Corporate Travel Managers’ ‘Policy Wish List’.

Duty of care is firmly embedded on the Corporate Travel Manager’s agenda – and a part of daily life for travellers.

ƒƒ 55 percent of Corporate Travel Managers surveyed educate travellers about their employer’s obligations to them under duty of care guidelines and regulations. ƒƒ 47 percent have third-party specialists to educate travellers about higher-risk destinations, and 27 percent have introduced new or additional training for these travellers. ƒƒ 20 percent have introduced new processes, like emergency SMS messaging systems, for in-trip communication.

Source: The Evolution of Travel Policy – a Global view on the future. A research white paper from: ACTE – Association of Corporate Travel Executives and American Express. Global Business Travel.



photo Yanan Li

Nelson Mandela



The European Pharma Code


Simon Dufaur

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries (EFPIA) has agreed to a new Disclosure Code which is now impacting the way the pharmaceutical industry interacts with healthcare organisations (HCOs) and individual healthcare professionals (HCPs). From 2016, the public in Europe will be able to see exactly how much a pharmaceutical company has paid an individual HCP and HCO. With these disclosures set to include all registration, accommodation and travel expenses for medical meetings, meetings planners are concerned about how the new code will affect their events, particularly in terms of HCP attendance. Here are our top five ‘Disclosure Code need-to-knows’ for medical meeting planners:


What specific references are made to meetings and events in the code?

The code states that pharmaceutical companies should disclose all contributions “to costs related to Events, through HCOs or third parties, including sponsorship to HCPs to attend Events.” This includes: registration fees; sponsorship agreements with HCOs or with third parties (including industry sponsorship of association meetings); and travel and accommodation expenses.



How will the code impact the attendees of European HCPs at medical events?

A concern for many meeting planners is that EU physicians will start refusing sponsorship for conferences for fear of negative public perception. As the majority of European doctors attending meetings have traditionally been financed by third-party sponsors, the worry is that it will be harder to attract the critical mass necessary to make meetings worthwhile and successful enough to attract the right speakers.


How can planners ensure that their meetings are eligible for HCP sponsorship?

Make sure you’re selling the science, and nothing more. In order for the meeting to be deemed compliant, the emphasis must purely be on scientific objectives, the value of the meeting’s educational content, and the importance of knowledge-sharing forums in advancing patient care. There should be no emphasis at all on the venue, destination, or social activities.


How should healthcare associations adapt?

Associations hosting medical congresses which attract a high number of attendees from Europe need to get to grips with the new code because of the obvious implications it could have on their event. While

certain countries within Europe already have laws regarding payment disclosures, this is the first time that such a code is being brought into force across the entire region. This means that associations must keep up to speed with the various regulations that could affect their meetings – whether they are national, regional, or international.


Will the code create any new business opportunities?

While the code could potentially cause a drop in delegate numbers for larger, international congresses, it could also open up new business opportunities for regional meetings and online activities that allow HCPs to participate and gain CME credits without travelling. Some association meeting organisers and event planners may also be hired to help pharmaceutical teams track and record costs, adding an additional service to their portfolios. For meeting planners it’s an opportunity to show our clients that we can design innovative face-to-face, hybrid or digital programmes that not only provide clear benefits to the attendee, but will also demonstrate beyond doubt the added-value of the activity when it comes to reporting. Simon Dufaur is Global Director, ­Cardiology & Haematology Accounts, MCI Group.


Living to 120, Working to 100 WHY ALL THE FUSS? TEXT

Rohit Talwar, futurist

My keynote presentation at the recent Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference in St. Andrews Scotland – and a discussion about the length of our working lives – made the front page of the Times in the UK and generated considerable worldwide coverage, interest, comment, and heated discussion. As an aside, the level of interest and controversy comes as something of a surprise as the topic has been discussed by futurists, ageing experts, economists, technologists, and social commentators for over a decade now. In the last couple of weeks, particular focus has been placed on the idea that a child of eleven today could reasonably expect to live to the age of 120 and may well have to have work until they are 100 in order to support them-

selves. This is a worldwide issue as societies around the planet increase their life expectancy. What are the drivers? So – was I smoking crack – or is there some substance behind the idea? An exploration of the underlying trends and drivers may help clarify why this is a plausible scenario. There are four key factors at play – life expectancy, personal health and well-being, the impact of automation on jobs, and the gap between individual income and expenditure. Let’s examine each of them. Rising life expectancy. Right now,

average UK life expectancy is just over 80 and has gone up quite dramatically over the last century. It is a similar

level in many of the more developed economies and rising fast in several parts of the developing world. This is a result of access to and advances in healthcare, improved living conditions, better diets, greater awareness of health issues, and a range of other factors. As we look ahead to the next 100 years, scientific breakthroughs and more routine advances in healthcare, mental health and diet in particular could bring an even more dramatic scale of change. Some experts, such as Cambridge gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, suggest that we could see breakthroughs that make a 200+ year life-span feasible. However, even if we scale back our expectations and say life expectancy estimates only increase at 4–5 months every year – a similar rate to that 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


which we have experienced in the last few decades, then our scenario starts to take shape. On this basis, a child entering secondary school at the age of eleven today could expect to live to somewhere between 117 and 125. Prolonging active life-spans. At the

same time, over the next hundred years, we can reasonably expect

is a technological driver. We have already seen an accelerating pace of automation – with a growing number of human roles being replaced by technology that can perform relatively consistently for 24 hours per day, seven days a week, over all 365 days of the year. More recently, advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have heralded the potential of

“AI and other forms of automation could replace anywhere from 30 percent to 80 percent of all the jobs that exist today”

This process of automation is only likely to gather pace in the coming years. Clearly new industries will emerge – yielding intelligent transport systems, new synthetic materials, autonomous vehicles, vertical farming, and many other science and technology led developments. However, these new sectors will be highly automated from day one. The hope is that employment in these new sectors will fill the gap created by job losses in existing industries. However, hope is not a strategy. In practice, it seems highly plausible that we could see 30–50 percent of the population unemployed or underemployed within 20–30 years. Work, employment, pensions, and the Basic Income debate. Some view

continued breakthroughs in healthcare which will prolong our active life-spans. Examples would include tackling the genetic basis of many conditions, better targeted pharmaceuticals, and nootropic drugs and electronic stimulation techniques which will help enhance our cognitive capacity and memory retention. Our physical strength and capacity is already being prolonged by the use of exoskeletons and the creation of replacement limbs, organs and cells using techniques such as 3D printing and should progress further with advances in stem cell therapies and developments which we can’t even begin to imagine today. Taken collectively, these should help enable an individual to continue working in some capacity in a range of jobs until they are around 100. Smart systems replacing humans and the impact on unemployment.

The question arises, why – even if we could – would we want or need to keep working to 100? The first


a new age of intelligent machines which could transform the working landscape for the foreseeable future. Robots are now in service in domains as diverse as manufacturing, driverless vehicles, farming, security, construction, retail and hotel service, drones, basic healthcare, and a range of other sectors. AI sits at the heart of modern smartphones, internet search, retail recommendation applications, airline autopilots, credit scoring, and our satellite navigation systems. Powerful ‘machine learning’ software is emerging that can recognize and adapt to patterns and even reprogram itself. A range of research studies and expert predictions have suggested that – over the next 20–30 years – robotics, AI and other forms of automation could replace anywhere from 30 percent to 80 percent of all the jobs that exist today. From truck drivers to lawyers, doctors and accountants, smart systems are already beginning to replace all or part of their roles.

these developments as a wonderful tipping point for humanity when we can be released from the drudgery of work and freed up to do more interesting and creative things with our time. However, we have spent centuries educating people about the importance of jobs and so the transition may not be so easy. A big question is how people will pay for the goods and services they need if they don’t have jobs or full time employment. Many believe that the current model of pensions will be unsustainable if people live 20, 30 or 50 years past retirement age. So, there is a growing view that we will need some form of guaranteed basic income – possibly funded through additional taxes on companies making supernormal profits as a result of replacing humans with technology. Clearly this is not going to be universally popular but I’ve heard precious little coherent argument about what the alternatives might be. Countries like Holland, Canada and Namibia have all experimented with the idea of a guaranteed basic income and the results are


generally very positive for society as a whole. Rise of the Star Trek economy – Why would we still need to work? We may

find that the level of basic income will not be enough to support the lifestyles people desire. Some argue that incomes might not need to be so high as prices will fall through a combina-

regular basis. However, healthcare advances and rising life expectancy will change all that and people may want to keep working as a way of staying active.

ling buildings, and robotic teaching assistants are already emerging – there appear to be few limits to what might be possible.

Will we all end up driving for Uber? In the next 10–15 years we will

So what does this mean for society?

see people doing multiple jobs – driving for a company like Uber, renting our bedrooms on Airbnb, renting out

“Some of us are just too scared or arrogant to admit it might be possible in our profession”

tion of low-cost 3D printed goods, vertically farmed food, lab-grown meat, cheap transport in autonomous vehicles, and free distribution via the internet. Indeed some argue that we are heading towards a ‘Star Trek’ economy where there is true abundance and almost no need for money. Whilst economists are beginning to explore the idea and innovators are suggesting we could get there quite quickly, for others this seems like a Utopian dream that is beyond anything we might recognize today. So, for those who might still face a gap between income and expenditure, there may be a need or desire to continue working. Whilst we may only be able to work part-time – we could continue to do so into our 90’s or 100’s given the medical advances described earlier. I think for many who look at the world through the lens of today, this seems a very depressing prospect – as the people we know in their 90’s and 100’s do not seem capable of doing any kind of meaningful work on a

closet space – maybe to companies like Amazon, providing last kilometre delivery services for e-tailers, renting out our driveways as short-term parking, and doing a variety of other such sharing economy jobs. Clearly this might not be a very attractive prospect for a lot of people. However, these jobs won’t last forever – driverless cars and other forms of robotics could eliminate many of these new sharing economy roles within a decade or two. How far could automation extend? It

is very hard to think of current jobs where robots or smart systems would not be able to do at least part of the role. Some of us are just too scared or arrogant to admit it might be possible in our profession. However, we already see smart software writing newspaper articles, scanning for future trends and diagnosing cancer patients – the pace of advance is rapid. Truck drivers could be replaced quickly by autonomous vehicles, security robots and drones are patrol-

We need to start the debate now in society about what we want and how we should address the implications of large scale automation. We cannot sleep walk into the issue. We have to change our attitudes towards unemployed people and teach people to think differently and use their leisure time creatively. If we can cycle money around the economy effectively, we may avoid a crisis. Automation could drive down costs. Some suggest that production could be taken into state hands – but this could be very contentious as it would effectively mean the end of capitalism. We need to prepare adults and children for both the longer term and the next 20–30 years. We need to encourage people to research and explore for themselves the advances that are shaping the future and to join in the debate about the implications. We need skills that will help us learn new jobs quickly e.g. learning how to learn, accelerated learning, problem solving, collaboration, scenario thinking, managing complexity and so on. We also need life skills like stress management, sleep management and meditation – all of which have major benefits when taught well to pupils. I think that, as with many previous generations, those born today will find new and creative ways through the problems we perceive – they won’t have the same conditioning as us and could have very exciting lives in prospect if we prepare them well for a rapidly changing reality.





The Man Who Designs the MEETING INDUSTRY Larry K. Oltmanns is an internationally renowned design leader of over 60 completed projects on five continents. He is a very famous architect in the meeting industry having designed a lot of convention centers such as Coex in Seoul, as a part of Korea World Trade Center, Suntech Singapore, Hong Kong Convention Centre, Melbourne, Adelaide, Bangalore and Dallas. But also Dublin International Airport and the NATO headquarters in Brussels. TEXT

Atti Soenarso


Simon C Maxwell

The location means a lot to the building’s appearance. Are locations in a way talking to you?

“Location means everything to the appearance of a building. For all of our projects we start with the city plan, and we ask ourselves what the building can do to make the city better. I believe that every building, no matter how small, has a responsibility to make connections, to create public spaces, and to increase urban vitality. “In this sense every work of Architecture is also a piece of Urban Design. Since a lot of our work is done abroad, we probably tend to take less for granted than a local firm might do. We visit the city with our eyes open

and we are naturally led to consider what it is that makes each city unique, and how we can capture the spirit of the city in the building. In the case of a convention centre, there is also the opportunity for symbolism. “Since convention centres are by nature public buildings, we believe that they should represent the people, the city, and the region or country in which they are built. In other words, we seek to imbue the design with meaning. The case of Coex in Seoul is an interesting one. Here we had an existing building to deal with, one that looked, when we started designing in 1995, like a relic from the past. In fact, one of the primary 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL




components in the original building, the Trade Mart, was itself an obsolete function, having been replaced over the years by private showrooms in successful headquarters buildings all over the city. “We consciously sought in enlarging the existing building to completely transform the identity of the building in order to express in it the remarkable technological

long-term financial benefits will far outweigh the short-term expense. The idea is so simple and yet, as soon as the project enters into the realm of politics, everything suddenly seems to become impossibly complicated. Even the people who are the strongest advocates start talking about Rate of Return, and what kind of profit the centre will generate on an annual basis.

“The convention centre is not the business, the city is the business”

and financial progress that had taken place in South Korea in the intervening years. To this we added a political dimension that was also intended to be a reflection on progress, for who could have imagined even twenty years before that Seoul would host ASEM 2000, an important Asian and European event attended by 24 heads of state? ASEM was in fact the opening event for the new and improved Coex, and it inspired the visual theme of ‘pairs’, an expression of partnership and of South Korea’s ascendancy as an important player on the world stage.”


Stephanie Blomkamp

Is there a bigger picture that politicians seem not to understand? Or is it the owners who only want to spend less dollars and still think that they have to build more profitable? Or is it the architect who doesn’t understand the difference between a convention center and a concert hall?

“The proposition in building a convention centre is basically the same anywhere in the world: if you attract more visitors to a place, the

“The convention centre is not the business, the city is the business. Every casino operator today understands that entertainment and leisure are the magnets that draw people in, and that once there, the customer will spend money in many other places within the development. It’s a similar deal for the convention centre: when a thousand doctors converge on the host city to exchange ideas, they spend money elsewhere in the city: in the hotels, restaurants, shops, and other local businesses. When they return home, if the experience was a good one, they speak to their colleagues about what a great place the city was. Pretty soon you start seeing articles in high-end travel magazines and it becomes necessary to expand the arrivals area at the airport to handle the success. “The convention centre is part of an investment package, like all the other urban improvement projects that contribute to the stature and quality of a city, and its success needs to be measured broadly. The politi-

cians who understand this simple idea are less inclined to look for budget cuts that keep the convention centre from realising its full potential.” What is your philosophy behind your way of thinking about meeting places? You have also designed, for example, the NATO headquarters.

“My abiding passion in architecture has always been about creating places where people can meet. Isn’t this what cities are really all about? Broadening the definition of urban design to include the design of convention centres came naturally to me. It started with the Hong Kong Convention Centre in 1993, and I have since come to realise that all successful buildings should in fact be thought of as meeting places. “The NATO headquarters building in Brussels was conceived as a very special meeting place, one in which the most important meetings have always taken place ‘in the corridors’ before the formal meetings in which decisions are announced. In our design concept we chose not only to facilitate these casual encounters, but to celebrate them. The form of the building is an expression of unity, and the place where one feels the sense of alliance most strongly is in the central space, which we call the Agora. It is here that the building is at its most insistent in promoting dialogue. “I am convinced that the absolute coincidence of function and meaning is one of the reasons why our scheme was chosen as the winner of the design competition, and why NATO has been steadfast in its commitment to building the vision we initially proposed.” How come you have got all these design missions to build convention centers?

“I’m pretty sure that one of the reasons Vx3 keeps getting selected to 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“All successful buildings should in fact be thought of as meeting places”

design convention centres all over the world is because of our commitment to the convention industry. I have always believed that as architects we have a responsibility to apply our creativity towards making each building as ideally suited as possible to its function and to suggesting new ways for people to live and to enjoy life. “This means among other things that we need to spend time understanding our clients’ businesses. I have been attending ICCA conferences and IMEX exhibitions for nearly 20 years and have found them to be great places for keeping abreast of what is happening in the industry. Wherever I travel I make it a point to visit the local convention centre and to speak with the operators about what works, what doesn’t work, and how the customers’ expectations are changing. “Most people in the industry tell me that the best architect is the one who knows the client’s business nearly as well as the client. Knowledge and commitment allow us to be more proactive in the design process and to take things to a different level. A dialogue between experts is like playing tennis with someone who is really good: the quality of the game is bound to be better.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

What are the most important things when you start to design a convention center?

“Without any doubt the most important factor I consider before even starting to design is perception. What do people think they know about the place? Is the perception good or bad? The answers to these questions tell us whether we can take advantage of a good location by associating the building with the qualities that people already appreciate or if we need the image of the building to help change perceptions by showing us new things to see. “For example, on the most fundamental level the convention centre in Hong Kong is intended to capture the energy of the Victoria Harbour. Its form reminds us of the city lights, the floating restaurants, the night markets, the incredible shopping experience, the festivals and the dragon boats, and all the other activities that make Hong Kong such a compelling destination. Of course locating the building at the harbour’s edge made our work a lot easier! “Now contrast this strategy with the convention centre we designed for a site on the outskirts of Jakarta, a city with mental associations that

are perhaps less attractive. For the project in Jakarta we chose to relate to the undiscovered charms of the islands and to the potential of the experience after the convention. Indonesia after all consists of thousands of islands, some with familiar names like Java, Bali, Papua, and Sumatra. “The building design employs the rich colours of the jungle: deep reddish earth tones reminiscent of mahogany, and a lush palette of greens, to evoke feelings of excitement related to discovery of the exotic, the primitive, and the unknown. The facade of the building filters the light of the sun like the tree canopy in a rain forest (at the same time blocking views of the highway adjacent to the building). In Hong Kong the image and experience of the building are constant reminders of where you actually are; in Jakarta they remind you of where else in the country you should go when the convention is over.” Do the buyers/owners of centers understand the need to create a profitable center? More today than in 1979?

“I think it is unquestionably true that in general the meetings industry has become much more sophisticated


“The most important factor I consider before even starting to design is perception”

over the past 20 years and that this has caused the convention centres to be less of a burden on the taxpayers than they used to be. Greater competition in the marketplace has led both the operators and the event organisers to focus more on the quality of the overall experience. One of my clients used to refer to his centre as a “fivestar hotel without the rooms”, which is certainly a long way beyond the previous perception of the convention centre building as a “box with docks.” I like to think that Hong Kong was the first convention centre that one could credibly call a landmark. “In any case, there has certainly been a great interest in the past 20 years in the architectural potential of these buildings, and with it a greater willingness to locate them where they can do most good: in the city centres, where convention delegates naturally prefer to spend their time. The focus on quality has led to the creation of new profit centres. Twenty years ago the banquet was a thing to be dreaded, and the culinary highlight of the convention was no doubt enjoyed at a restaurant in the hotel or elsewhere in the city rather than in the convention centre. Consider what is now on offer at Suntec Singapore,

where the catering strategy was completely overhauled when the building was recently refurbished. Recently my Singapore client entertained my Penang client and offered a tasting menu prepared by the master chef. In the best venues people routinely drop by for a business lunch, not only because of the convenient location, but because the quality of the food and of the environment are so attractive.” In your experience how has the need for creating more flexibility in centers evolved?

“Our idea of flexibility used to be synonymous with anonymity. The old model was a series of generic spaces with little personality, shut off from the outdoors in order to make it easier to control lighting, rendered in neutral colours so as not to offend, clad in industrial materials that were as unapproachable as they were indestructible. With increased emphasis on event quality I think we’ve learned that if the building fails to create ambience, then the task of the event organiser is more difficult, and the cost of creating the event is higher. “It turns out that creating personality in a building in order to more effectively market it can be perfectly compatible with the organiser’s goal

of creating a memorable experience. In fact, the more exciting buildings are likely to be more successful, as long as they are also functional and in other ways very flexible. Our idea of size has also changed. It used to be that bigger was always considered to be better. Recently there has been a trend toward smaller events: new events coming into the market as well as existing events splitting up into regional or smaller specialised themes as a way of coping with numbers that are increasingly unwieldy. “The new criteria for flexibility is less the ability to accommodate very large events but rather the potential for separating simultaneous smaller events. For the expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre, the first phase of which was completed in March, we created three separate ‘pavilions’ each of which is capable of being used separately. A convention of five or six hundred, for example, has the opportunity to ‘own’ an entire building, with its own meeting, exhibition, and banquet space, and with its own separate entrance lobby. We no longer put labels on event spaces; any particular room can be subdivided and used for virtually any conceivable function. Nonethe2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


less, each space has personality and character.” How important is the work of designing green convention centers? When do you think the first energy neutral center will be built? It will, of course, include solar energy but what else?

“Sustainable design is essential for all buildings these days. In fact, most of the truly effective things that are being done to make buildings sustain-

on the outside edges of the building, where we can provide windows. “For the exhibition spaces, we are still fighting an uphill battle. Exhibitors tend to see sunlight as a great annoyance as it tends to interfere with the display lighting of their merchandise. Since exhibition halls are also frequently used for other functions such as banquets, we have had some success in convincing our clients to

“One can accomplish more through what I call intelligent design”

able today are technological and involve widgets and gizmos. Occasionally one sees a ‘sustainable feature’ such as a wind turbine, that is part of the building aesthetic, but most of these features are gimmicks which produce very little of consequence. I have always believed that one can accomplish more through what I call intelligent design. Following such a philosophy one is less inclined to look for outward signs of environmental consciousness but instead to build it into the design of a building in such a way as to make it inseparable from the way the building works. “One of the most effective things we can do to minimise the carbon footprint of a building is to take maximum advantage of natural daylight. Not only do we save on electricity, but we reduce the air conditioning load as well. Recognising that meetings today are evolving toward group discussions and away from the one-way audio-visual presentations of the past, our clients are becoming more receptive to locating meeting space MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

open up entire walls, using movable partitions to provide blackout capability when required. I would have to admit though that the convention industry is somewhat conservative by nature, and we still have a long way to go.” Where would you still want to design a convention center in the world?

“A few years ago I worked on a hypothetical project called ‘Palaces of the 21st Century’, which was about future convention centres. I researched what I considered to be the most neglected first tier cities of Europe: places that are still lacking a purpose-built convention centre. For each of these cities, I looked for a site in the city centre that could be of special significance and then developed a concept for that site. For example, in Budapest the convention centre was conceived as a bridge connecting the two cities, Buda and Pest. In Venice, I suggested that the convention centre could be built underwater in the lagoon, where it would only be visible as a sunken courtyard as one

approaches by vaporetto. At night the lagoon would glow from the lights of the submerged building. For future projects I would like to be involved in the selection of the site as well as in the design of the building, so that in each case the convention centre can realise its full potential as a symbol of the city.” Convention centers are changing and seem to have become more than just places for holding conventions. They have restaurants open to the public, host cultural events and concerts, etc. How does this change your way of thinking when you are designing new centers?

“In fact, in making convention centres suitable for a wider range of public functions, I think the biggest strides are being made by the private sector. Our clients have increasingly been entrepreneurs, such as in Penang, in Singapore, and in Jakarta. In many places, government is reluctant to shoulder the responsibility of building such a project because people are so opposed to tax increases. A convention centre can act as a major driver for a large commercial development if it is well connected. In order to make economic sense, however, it needs to maximise revenue from all sources, not just from visitors abroad. This is the reason that concerts, receptions, public shows, and other non-convention events are such an important design consideration in a privately funded venue. In one of our projects, we designed an entire exhibition hall to be fully convertible into a 12,000 seat arena in just a few minutes time, so that we could have events both day and night in the same space.” What does the future hold with respect to convention center design?

“I am not a fortune teller, so I cannot gaze into the crystal ball and tell you what will happen in the




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future. However, as an architect who is committed to changing the shape of things to come, I am happy to share my thoughts on what I hope convention centres will be like in the future. “First of all I hope that they will be more approachable. In the past, I think we have been pre-occupied with size, mistakenly believing that the biggest is also the best. Not very long ago you could not find ten centres in

rendous buildings that were imposed on cities in the 60s, 70s and 80s, city government responded logically and relegated them to distant sites where they could cause less damage. There has been a trend toward central city locations in recent years, but this has been slow because the buildings are still so large. As scale becomes more manageable, we should see the opportunity to embed these buildings

“Location means everything to the appearance of a building” the world with more than 100,000 m2 of exhibition space. Now you have five in Las Vegas alone. The sheer size of these buildings has led most designers in the direction of monumentality, with the consequence that smaller events are sometimes overwhelmed by the scale of the building, and cannot find an appropriate level of intimacy. Size does matter, but in the years to come I hope that we will return to the basic idea that meeting places are intended first and foremost to promote communication. When you attend a convention, you do not expect to find there everyone who is remotely involved in your area of interest; you hope to find a few people with whom you can exchange ideas, or with whom you can do business. The current trend in the industry gives me a reason to be optimistic. As the scale of events decreases, there is an opportunity for the scale of the buildings to decrease as well, making them easier to accommodate in the city. “Secondly, I hope that convention centres in the future will be more integrated. In response to the truly horMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

into the city fabric and to treat them like the great centres of dialogue and culture that we intend them to be, like the Opera, the National Assembly, or the Natural History Museum. With the right building in the right place, we can then expect the kind of positive impact on the vitality and well-being of the city that such an ambitious project should be capable of delivering. “Thirdly, I hope that convention centres will become more diverse. The proliferation of public-private partnership schemes, and the appearance of purely private centres will eventually cause us to evaluate the operation of convention centres against other business models, and to ask ourselves why today they essentially operate on a 9 to 5 basis. If the goal is to increase the utilisation of the key event spaces and the infrastructure that supports them, we will see that the inclusion in the design of flexible features is an intelligent investment, even if it means that the budget has to be increased. This in turn will enable us to host the

cultural events we always talk about before design starts, but that become impossible to accommodate when the so-called value engineering process is implemented. From a narrower focus on business tourism, we will be able to broaden our vision to tourism full stop. “Finally, I hope that each convention centre will be unique. From the very low design expectations we had twenty years ago, we suddenly find ourselves in what I could call ‘The Age of Landmarks’, but what kind of landmarks are we building now? Unfortunately, the newer convention centres are all beginning to look quite similar: big, generic, metal and glass volumes with feats of structural daring, finished with a neutral corporate colour scheme; similar in fact to many modern air terminals. Somehow the imagery seems all wrong. Isn’t the airport terminal supposed to celebrate efficiency and movement, and to reassure us that we will soon be on our way, with another on-time arrival? If the subliminal message in an airport is about flight and going away, in the convention centre shouldn’t it be about staying? (‘Come and experience the unique qualities of our city; stay awhile. Maybe you’ll be charmed enough to even consider moving here, or at least to open a branch office.’) It’s not just that the building needs to make people feel welcome; it also needs to remind them of where they are. This is why it is so important for a convention centre to act as the city’s ambassador. It needs to convey in a way that is memorable, those aspects of our place that are most attractive. It should seek, in other words, to be a symbol.”


Trends in the CONFERENCE CENTER INDUSTRY “Corporate customers are investing significantly in training and meetings” The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) has released the 2015 edition of Trends in the Conference Center Industry. “For the third year running, this comprehensive trends report, the only one which focuses on small meetings-focused venues industry wide, indicates that IACC members have improved occupancy and rates are stronger than the previous year, significantly so for IACC’s corporate meeting venue operators,” said CEO Mark Cooper. “Corporate meeting venues lead the recovery with the highest Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Occupied Room (RevPOR). Given the package plan represents 90 percent of this group of members’ business, it can be assumed that corporate customers are investing significantly in training and meetings and in their use of member venues.” Participation from day meeting venues in this survey has increased and is providing valuable data on what is a growing member category for the association. The average External Day Meeting Rate rose significantly to $105. Last year, members predicted a bumpy ride, business wise, and this proved to be the case with the economy experiencing some setbacks and

earlier improved earnings faltering later in the year. This year, all venue types have predicted positive occupancy growth, with corporate venues forecasting the greatest improvements by year-end. Conference centres with over 200 guest rooms are projecting plus 6.5 percent in annual occupancy over last year. Cooper highlighted developments to this year’s trends report, with the addition of a nine-year trends analysis for key metrics, including ADR, occupancy and net operating incomes (NOI). Reporting on direct and third party business mix was also among the new features in this year’s trends research. Cooper also explained how the 2015 report includes a high-level overview with an infographic style presentation, which can easily be reviewed with and quickly understood by venue department heads and associates. “It is encouraging to see another year of improved performance and we are seeing clear signs that this important sector of the meetings industry is being invested in by member customers. We are also seeing a greater number of our members attending learning events and conferences, as they invest in education and innovation, which will result in a skill-enhanced workforce to prepare for increased

demand within the small meetings segment in the coming year,” said Cooper. The trends research showed that resort meeting venues achieved the greatest increase in Complete Meeting Package (CMP) rates, showing a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year. Executive conference venues had forecasted a 5.9 percent increase in conference package rates in 2015 and resort venues a 3.4 percent in CMP rates. Day meeting venues reported a 12 percent increase in package rates, which include room hire, technology and food and beverage. Conference hotel venues with 200 or more guest rooms have reported, so far this year, a 6.5 percent increase in occupancy, outperforming their comparable resort member properties. In the survey members reported that digital marketing accounted for the same number of qualified sales leads as for personal sales calls. Trends in the Conference Center Industry is available to purchase on IACC’s website.



How the Sharing Economy IS DEVELOPING

▲ ©

“Legal issues and regulation may pose significant hurdles” Traditional models of ownership are changing. A sharing economy (also referred to as collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer collaboration or rental), often utilizing social technologies, allows users to share resources, goods, services, and even skills. Population growth, urbanization, increasing concern for limited resources, a down economy and the development of social technologies have helped advance a sharing economy that prioritizes access over ownership. Consumers have found new ways to connect and leverage the unused capacity of things they (or others) own or services they (or others) can provide. This connection allows consumers to more easily achieve a variety of goals and to potentially save or earn money on products and services that might otherwise have been un- or under-used. The sharing economy is a broad term that is used for both activities conducted by non-profits, community-based organizations, or governments for the benefit of communities or by for-profit business creating services rooted in a concept of sharing (Airbnb, Lyft, Uber). According to a 2014 Nielsen survey of more than 30,000 internet users in sixty countries, 68 percent of consumers are willing to share or rent their personal items for payment and 66 percent of consumers are willing to use products and services from others. Respondents identified electronic devices (28 %), power

tools (23 %), bicycles (22 %), clothing (22 %), household items (22 %), sport equipment (22 %), cars (21 %), camping gear (28 %), furniture (17 %), and homes (15 %) as the products they would be willing to share or rent for a fee and 26 percent of respondents also indicated a willingness to rent lessons or services. The sharing economy relies heavily on trust, which social technologies help advance through publicly shared feedback, reviews, comments, and connections. Legal issues and regulation may pose significant hurdles for the sharing economy. Enforcement of laws, permit requirements, and tax interests may limit or challenge the operations of some for-profit sharing economy activities, like room rentals (Airbnb) and ride shares (Lyft and Uber). Regulation could also help ensure ventures remain true to the fundamentals of the sharing economy and limit the opportunities for exploitation. Participants in the sharing economy may need resources to help them navigate legal requirements for their participation and libraries and information organizations that develop new programs or services rooted in the sharing economy may need to exercise caution navigating policies. Appreciation and interest in the sharing economy may be generational. According to Nielsen’s survey, younger generations – 35 percent of Millennials and 7 percent of Generation Z – are more willing than older

generations – 17 percent of Generation X and 7 percent of Baby Boomers – to use or rent products. This could mean renewed interest in the sharing value of libraries, but may require that libraries update the scope of services and programs available for sharing to keep up with interests of younger generations. Cities and governments will likely see opportunities in the sharing economy to help improve the experiences of citizens (e.g. bike share programs). Libraries may have the opportunity to align themselves with sharing economy services (repair cafés, garden sharing, work spaces) that promote the social good. The sharing economy will increasingly depend on the trust established between and among participants. Trust in the sharing economy will likely be based on data, reviews, and profiles created on web sites and online communities. This dependence on trust may also compel individuals to develop a public/sharing persona that participates in the sharing economy and manages a reputation and a private or normal persona that participates in day-to-day life. Individuals may need help determining and navigating the trustworthiness of individuals and information in these sharing economy spaces. Source: Library of the Future transforminglibraries/future/trends/sharingeconomy


64 | MEETINGS 3.0


MEETINGS 3.0 | 65


Jan Rollof

Times change. Digitalisation, mobility, new skills requirements, new employment conditions, communication technologies and social media, automation and virtualisation are now the order of the day. The driving forces behind these rapid changes and other shifts are very complex. Opportunities and problems are intertwined, conditions intricate and the effects difficult to foresee. In my book Möten 3.0 (Meetings 3.0), I write about issues of a C nature having an increasingly greater significance in more and more areas. C stands for complex, cognitive, conceptual and collaborative. C resources – creativity, capacity and comprehension – are crucial in solving such tasks. The significance and consequences of change are widely discussed in the media and in everyday conversations. Research institutes and political and public bodies are engaged in issues relating to mechanisms and consequences. But broadly speaking, the meeting itself has not changed to a corresponding degree. Neither is

the role of the meeting in managing complex tasks discussed as often or as thorough as it should be. In addition, it is not unusual to find dissatisfaction with a meeting’s function and quality. Do non-updated meeting formats contribute to this dissatis­ faction? Has the meeting had its day? No. Successful meetings are a good working format for a host of reasons. The meeting is needed to hold together operations that comprise of many different organisational parts. Good interaction between specialised functions is a recipe for success. This also concerns effective exchanges between different competences and networks. So it is not difficult to see the key role that meetings have. They have to be updated to modern day demands and conditions. There is no room for poor meetings. And, despite the odd murmur of dissatisfaction, good meetings are appreciated. Nobody wants to be without meetings; they are needed to solve complex tasks, not least in the development of ideas and projects. Meetings also fulfil vital 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL

66 | MEETINGS 3.0

social functions such as visibility, acknowledgement and inclusion. Meeting formats linger on. Traditionally, meetings were convened to plan, allocate and monitor tasks outside the meetings, in another place and time, that is to say away from the direct influence of the meeting. Things are still this way today in many areas. In industrial contexts the emphasis is on the effective produc-

time and commitment in improving them. A vision for good meetings: They are tools that enable and facilitate, and give energy and quality to the work in the same way as other tools. They are interfaces where elements of different nature and value come together: ideas and expertise, factors relating to commitment and motivation, experience and vision, re-

“Good meetings should not be sporadic one-off events”

tion of standardised products and services; time and money are critical resources. Conventions pertaining to the role and function of the meeting have lingered on from industrial operations and production, and procedures of governance and associations still influence the way meetings are held. Managing ambiguous and unclear phenomena – C tasks – is much different to working on tasks that are confinable, recurrent and wellorganised. Routine processes are not ideal for understanding the unknown, unpredictable and variable events. A new development makes different demands to the usual operation and maintenance. Today, meetings are increasingly becoming the tool itself. Key components of the work are performed completely or partly during the actual meeting, not outside of it. If meetings are to become a really good working format then an active and long-term approach is required. The view of how meetings should function influences the motivation to invest MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

quirements and challenges, resources and assets. One important aspect is the interface between different parts of organisations and between internal and external contexts. They represent catalytic processes that make things happen and develop efficiently and quickly, especially such that would otherwise be slow or not occur at all. They are synergic platforms. The working format adds value, output exceeds input, and one plus one could equal four or five. Meetings 3.0. Version 3.0 stands for an updated meeting structure designed to handle complex tasks. The 3.0 is indicative of computer and operative systems that are updated to handle increasingly more advanced tasks. In a similar way, meetings formats must be updated when conditions and requirements are changed. Meetings 3.0 is based on an approach that increases the probability of discovering complexity under a seemingly simple surface. This reduces the risk of missing important factors

and admitting simplifications. The methodology involves understanding, finding openings, developing alternatives and making good decisions in meetings. Good meetings should not be sporadic one-off events, but should be expected to reach a good outcome. The 3.0 reflects a historic development of the meeting’s role and format: Version 1.0 Meetings convened to provide directives on tasks to complete, to inform of current circumstances, unidirectional and vertical. A progress report is fed back through the hierarchical structures. Traditionally, such meetings have handled things like construction, administration, manufacturing and commerce. Version 2.0 Meetings where the participants represent different roles and skills. People meet to exchange information and to discuss various issues. Examples are project meetings to provide feedback on work input and results, and to plan ahead. Technical systems can facilitate such work through streamlining documentation, coordinating and news reporting. Communication is horizontal. Version 3.0 Meetings are designed to solve specific tasks and to investigate unclear phenomena: issues of a C nature. Creativity, capacity and comprehension are key assets and ideas play a major part. Increased understanding and the development of ideas are the basic criteria. The emphasis is on one or a few tasks at most. Joint commitment to the meeting processes and responsibility for the outcome is the be-all and end-all The main principles of Meetings 3.0: Role. Meetings as platforms for innovation and change. Ideas play a major part. Goal. Understanding and insight. Development of new alternatives, decision and action.

MEETINGS 3.0 | 67

“Conventions pertaining to the role and function of the meeting have lingered on from industrial operations and production”

Format. The meeting focuses on one main task. Structure. Based on a specific methodology designed to secure breadth in perspective and approach, and to open up for discussions and rigor in choices and decisions. Key resources. Creativity, capacity and comprehension. Critical factors. That the meeting is open to diversity and that it is put to good use. Open to ideas. Broad commitment and engagement. Which tasks justify the meeting and what the meeting is expected to deliver depends on the context. In an industrial context they often look to minimise the total meeting time. Tasks that are recurrent, similar and possible to standardise are automated. Examples include linear and sequential production processes. Today, technical systems and artificial intelligence can handle tasks that were once only possible by humans. Examples include report compilation and the optimisation of processes involving many variables. Other examples are car driving and the control of production chains and inventory management. Also within service industries and administrative activities, repetitive, well-versed and definable

processes can become self-regulating Initiatives for increased efficiency often embrace the standardisation of work tasks, therewith facilitating automation. For some tasks, technical solutions work just as well or even better than traditional meetings. Resource consumption and delays can be reduced. Meetings are needed chiefly for complex issues, new situations and variable processes. When menial routine tasks no longer need to be handled at meetings, time is made available to meetings where creativity, engagement and cooperation create value that is essential to C tasks. Understanding, finding alternatives and making decisions are core elements in the methodology of Meetings 3.0. When these parts are handled at the same meeting and not separately it improves clarity and transparency while saving time. Directness and simultaneousness are also vital for engagement and motivation. Value, effect and energy are the watchwords of truly successful meetings. The methodology of Meetings 3.0 is designed to provide such results. There is much to say about each of these watchwords but energy

will suffice here: Meetings devoid of energy are experienced as being boring and they seldom achieve anything. Exciting discussions, good interaction and new insights generate energy. It’s a wonderful feeling to leave a meeting full of energy, eager to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into new things. The energy from good meetings spreads far and wide. Poor meetings brings down the energy level – who hasn’t left a meeting more tired than when they began? It takes power to move things from sleep mode. When energy levels are low we chose the easiest route, the one that demands the least effort: to continue ‘as usual’ and say no to suggestions that could bring about change. One method illustrates a movement forward when walking from one part to another. The method is described in the next article in the series. Jan Rollof has vast experience of scientific research and both public and private sectors. Decision-making is one of his specialities and he has written many books on creativity and innovation, and two books on meetings.





▲ Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels, Belgium


Carlson Rezidor

Intensified Focus ON HIGHER SECURITY The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest hotel companies with just over 1,350 hotels in operation or under development. The group has a presence in 105 countries and several brands: Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Red, Park Plaza and Park Inn by Radisson, as well as Country Inns and Suites By Carlson. With its long history in the international hotel world, the group has broad expertise within all key segments and business models plus a growing revenue-generating capacity. The 88,000 employees deliver $7.5 billion in revenue. The agreement with Safehotels covers Rezidor’s hotels – about 400 in 60 countries – but the hotel group hopes to extend the agreement to the entire Carlson Rezidor group once they have tested the approach. The first phase involves the certification of 40 hotels. When asked why they chose the Safehotels security standard, Paul Moxness, Vice President, Corporate Safety and Security, replies that they have followed the company’s progress since the start in 2001. “In recent years we have noticed that they have further strengthened their expertise. They have built up more knowledge on hotel security and their programme has moved closer towards our own guidelines and the practice we apply.” Paul Moxness says they started to discuss security issues with Safehotels in early 2015. The hotel group

quickly realized they could adjust their self-evaluation programme to the Safehotels security standard, which would be a good step for both parties. “Now we receive a good third party approval that what we do internally actually helps our hotels to create a good global standard. Another positive effect is that we gain full certification of several hotels at a time, instead of security-marking hotels one by one.” According to Paul Moxness, there is a greater focus on routines actually being followed according to the Global Hotel Security Standard issued by Safehotels. However, in contrast to many other industries, there are no global industry standards relating to hotel security. “The Safehotels international hotel security standard keeps its focus on the guests in a way that – just like our own security work – can be adapted and managed by most of our employees who work on hotel premises. In geographical terms, it can be used everywhere.” The terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001 and the dramatic expansion of the hotel chain in several emerging markets were factors that intensified the focus on increased security work. Obligations to show greater prudence plus other legal changes in many countries also made it increasingly important for companies to analyse their partners’

work relating to travel management and thereby hotel security issues. In a way, Carlson Rezidor already had this in their DNA within the hotel group, explains Paul Moxness. It meant they were in a good position when the emphasis on these issues increased considerably. “Yes, I often get asked about which markets are our ‘hot spots’ from a security standpoint. It’s easy to point to countries where security issues are in the news every day. One difference between those countries and our domestic markets is often that awareness of security risks at these ‘hot spots’ is extremely high.” According to Paul Moxness, people at vulnerable destinations know what the threats are, regardless of whether it relates to terrorism, crime and/or diseases, as these people confront the dangers on a personal level every day. The hotels must have visible measures in place as a step towards gaining contracts with corporate customers. “At places we perceive as safe, things happen more slowly and can change over time as we become complacent. We tend to trust the local authorities and that they deal with issues, but we tend to forget that anything can happen, anywhere, at any time.” Paul Moxness says they have noted that so-called risk-assessment companies have begun to raise the risk level of many European cities to levels that can, for example, be compared with cities in the Middle East. 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“We have focused on this for several years. Our self-assessment programme and the new agreement with Safehotels helps us to maintain our focus, so that we avoid falling into the complacency trap.” Every day there are many guests and companies staying at the group’s hotels around the world. Have their demands increased in recent years? Can you deliver a higher level of

strongest and weakest link. They have defined the challenge in this way: ”Maintaining suitable levels of safety and security at our hotels is dependent on every day’s measures and that all employees, at all levels and in all situations, are updated and trained.” “Technology can help, but we still need the right person in the right place to do the right things at the right time.”

“Anything can happen, anywhere, at any time” security than before? “Yes, but what we are not really seeing is a good connection between certain demands on our checklists, which the hotels are requested to fill in, and what actually contributes to increasing security in a certain place. Documentation of what we do and the agreement with Safehotels means more and more companies will trust that their employees are secure with us.” An everyday perspective: More and more hotels are putting combination locks on room doors and on the hotel’s toilets to prevent unauthorized people getting in and causing problems. How do you view this development? “Technical developments contribute to raising the bar for security at hotels. We look at, and evaluate, issues very thoroughly, but we are also very aware that just buying a new technology does not mean you can relax and think that the problem is solved.” Paul Moxness comments that their guests are always potentially their MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

It is clear that there are employees on duty around the clock at a big hotel, but how is security work carried out behind the scenes? “The number of employees we have at any given place and time is based on operative needs and risk assessments. We don’t comment on specific numbers, as these can change.” At group level there is a dedicated team of the company’s security staff whose sole task is to provide support for the group’s hotel activities. This can be provided via information and guidance or on site with physical support, depending on the hotel’s needs. Being a part of Carlson Rezidor also provides links to an internal global operations centre for security, which has a monitoring role and can issue warnings or information updates at any time. This is carried out in addition to direct alarms from security companies, media coverage and official government sources. “It helps hotels to plan and prepare for possible threats and risks that can change on a daily basis. One

of our best sources of risk information is our own hotels.” Carlson Rezidor works globally with the same basic templates for incident reporting and escalation of threats. They focus intensively on monitoring hot trends and implement preventive measures on site in order to “stay ahead of the curve”. Paul Moxness emphasizes they are very aware of the fact that incidents can happen at any time, anywhere. “Our hotels have access to a good selection of training material. We do not want to centrally dictate about every training course that each hotel must carry out. It’s preferable for this to be based on local needs, risks and requirements. All our hotels have access to Safehotels training courses.” Paul Moxness is keen to stress two things. Instead of having a prescriptive scope for security work, in which everyone uses the same handbook worldwide – not possible with 1, 350 hotels in 105 countries – they use a so-called TRIC = S formula. “The TRIC = S acronym stands for Threat assessment + Risk mitigation + Incident response + Crisis management, Communication and Continuity = Safe, Secure and Sellable hotel rooms. It’s the sum of TRIC that gives us our S.” In addition, the group has devoted a lot of work to ensure their programme actually helps hotels. “We try to think and talk like hotel owners when we provide internal guidance and support. If you care about people, their possessions and the world we live in, we become better at looking after people, our possessions and the world around us. That is what safety and security is all about.”

Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction


UN System Staff College/Larissa Nowak


Safehotels Joins UN PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIP Safehotels Alliance has been invited to join the Private Sector Partnership on disaster risk reduction initiated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The 107 private sector partner’s work together to implement the global targets set out in the new global agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, adopted at a UN World Conference in March, 2015. Safehotels is, through its regional offices in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and USA, ready to promote disaster risk reduction and support the implementation of the Sendai Framework by working with local

authorities and regional tourism organizations. Hans Kanold, CEO of Safehotels said: “We are very pleased to join UNISDR’s Private Sector Partnership and to support the Hotel Resilient initiative, which is currently developed by UNISDR and its partners to build resilience in the hotel industry.” UNISDR is the UN’s focal point for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. UNISDR brings governments, civil society organizations, universities, institutions, corporations, and individuals together to work on reducing mortality, the numbers of people affected and economic losses resulting from disasters.




Hans Kanold, CEO, Safehotels Alliance


Sara Appelgren

“The certificate shows the hotel takes a preventive approach to minimize risks and is prepared if something does happen”


Certification HOW IT WORKS Hans Kanold is CEO of Safehotels Alliance, an international certification and training company for the hotel and the meetings industry that works in cooperation with a global network of experienced security consultants. Today, the company works with well-known hotel brands such as Carlson Rezidor, Accor Hotels, Design Hotels, Marriott, Scandic Hotels, Choice Nordic Hotels, World Hotels and Coco Palm. “Now it’s easier to identify hotels that have the right approach to security issues. The certificate shows the hotel takes a preventive approach to minimize risks and is prepared if something does happen,” says Hans Kanold. When a hotel gains a security certificate from Safehotels, it simplifies communication between the hotel and the company in negotiations. The hotel also undergoes a third party audit. Subsequently, there is an annual inspection, which in itself creates continuity in security work. Hans Kanold explains that certification acts as independent support for management, and that the quality marking generates ROI for security-related investments. In addition, it is also a hallmark of quality for the hotel. Fewer incidents happen as security-certified hotels, which means that costs are kept down. It also strengthens the brand and shows that you, as a hotel owner, care about your guests’ and customers’ well-being, comments Hans Kanold. Gaining certification is also an advantage from a market perspective. “You create a competitive advantage over other hotels, and that in

itself is a mark of quality, a so-called Trust Symbol.” “It’s also a new sales argument that everyone understands and a marking that gains attention and means something.” According to Hans Kanold, one of the biggest benefits for companies and organizations in the meetings industry is fast access to information about which hotels are certified. “You know that it’s a third party audit carried out by an independent source and is therefore comparable with other inspections that are carried out. It’s easier to identify hotels that work in accordance with best practice. But it‘s also important that, as a buyer, you can reduce your, and the company’s, need to carry out your own checking routines. This is something that saves time and money for companies’ travel managers.” Hans Kanold considers that another benefit of certification is that it creates a communication tool between the hotel and the guests. It creates security for the guests and for the hotel’s employees. “It not only shows the hotel takes a preventive approach and has preparedness in the event of an accident, but also that the hotel has the capability to increase security if the threat level rises.” Quality marking is divided into seven phases: 1. Presentation of the certification process. 2. Review of the hotel’s documentation. 3. Evaluation via the test procedure. 4. Interviews with employees. 5. Reporting.

6. Working process. 7. Return visit, review of certification. When the hotel has achieved what Safehotels considers a satisfactory level, it gains its certificate. Subsequently, an annual inspection is carried out to show the standard has been maintained at the same high level as the original quality marking. Hans Kanold gives some examples of what is involved in gaining The Global Security Standard certification. It includes signs, training, documentation, organization, maintenance, alarms, lock systems, medical equipment, routines for recruitment and evacuation, fire training, incident reporting, follow ups, collection of information, crisis management, the ability to strengthen security and how to write a report. Many aspects are involved in a certificate issued by Safehotels. It requires extensive cooperation for an annual inspection, as well as writing a report listing measures to be implemented. And, it also involves an SSA site, which is a document bank on the web. “The site is web-based to enable systematic fire protection work and exposure on the Safehotels home page. It includes signs for the lobby, diplomas, access to logos etc. for hotels’ own marketing, information for guest rooms and exposure via our activities nationally and internationally.”



Bert van Walbeek, Winning Edge


Jon van Terry



Every Crisis HAS ITS OPPORTUNITIES Safety and security are important issues, today – perhaps more than ever before. That is the opinion of Bert van Walbeek, who points out that the issues of finding the right employees and crisis management are very closely connected. As one of the best-known “Masters of Disasters” in Asia, Bert van Walbeek has spoken about crisis prevention and recovery management for 45 years. He recently gave a talk to an audience of 700 buyers and suppliers, entitled What else can go wrong, are we still in the people business? In cooperation with the PATA organization, he has produced an information brochure on risk and crisis management called Expect the Unexpected. He developed the organization’s first courses on the subject in 2006. His company, The Winning Edge, is currently managing several risk prevention projects including crisis management in Bahrain, China, Taiwan, Macao, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan and Thailand. Bert van Walbeek found out about the Safehotels Alliance when he was participating in a UNISDR (UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) meeting in Manila about a year ago. It was shortly after the devastating typhoon, Haiyan, which killed thousands of people in the Philippines.

At an ancillary event in conjunction with the meeting, he moderated and led a discussion on whether it is possible to make hotels safer. In the days before the meeting he searched for ideas on how to increase security and new approaches among hotels and hotel organizations. In order to make the security work more in-depth, he created a small working group. “That’s when I found Safehotels and realized they had a more detailed approach to security, as well as a broader perspective. I immediately saw that there were mutual opportunities.” Bert van Walbeek realized at an early stage how important security issues and security functions are – for business travellers, their travel managers, travel arrangers and hotel owners. He considers that security-related issues are one of the three most important current criteria when business travellers select somewhere to stay, along with accessibility factors and getting value for money. “In Asia this is a big challenge. Guests, congress and meeting delegates, as well as tourists, want to feel safe. However, they would prefer not to notice security measures or feel surrounded by visible guards or security personnel.”

Major destinations are vulnerable in terms of safety and security. The continuous flow of people at a big city-centre hotel, for instance, can make the hotel a so-called soft target. “Maintaining a high level of customer service while also being able to guarantee security in a hotel’s public spaces is a challenge for any hotel owner. It‘s hard to differentiate legitimate guests and meeting participants from people who have bad intentions.” Bert van Walbeek says that many hotels around the world keep up some kind of image: if the city is relatively safe, this means our hotel is safe. We know it doesn’t take very much for that image to be shaken. He points to today’s big football matches as one example. “It only takes an instant for a club’s image to be shaken to its foundations if something has gone wrong. And the same thing applies to successful hotels. Too many hotels live in the belief that ‘It won’t happen to us’. If you close your eyes, ears and other channels for information, you definitely won’t see anything at all.” Regarding Bangkok and Thailand as markets, Bert van Walbeek uses his favourite expression: “Every crisis has its opportunities.”



“Too many hotels live in the belief that ‘It won’t happen to us’”

“We have great opportunities, especially when you think that crises are increasing in number and extent in Thailand. Thai culture is still very much based on ignoring risks. Instead, there is a hope that fate and chance will sort out any unpleasant situations.” He illustrates this with another example: why does someone not wear a helmet when driving a motorcycle? Despite many motorcycle accidents causing injuries and deaths, most motorcyclists drive without a helmet. “It’s because the issue isn’t understood because in any case ‘it won’t happen to me’”. Even so, perhaps change is in the air. Bert van Walbeek notes that the meetings and event industry, including the entire hotel sector in Thailand, has begun to realize that with ever more frequent crises facing the country, something has to be done. However, most of the security programmes on the market are either too expensive or complicated, which is why they are ignored. “The biggest advantage of the Safehotels certification process is that it can be implemented in stages, and that the investment is acceptable for hotels and/or arenas.” MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

Other general, challenging issues that Bert van Walbeek mentions are changes in behaviour, expectations and the increasingly disruptive technology that surrounds us. He also mentions the negative publicity created by natural disasters, disturbances and the increasing number of transport-related accidents. “Ensuring that the consumer’s understanding is factual, balanced and timely is not only a compassionate duty, but also a business challenge.” It concerns equipping every individual, so each person is able to actively and positively manage their conditions, he explains. It is also about creating a result that increases the customers’ and employees’ confidence, and also makes it possible for organizations and sectors not only to meet the challenges, but also to stand stronger than ever before. “Today the issues of finding the right employees and crisis management are closely linked. Safety and security are more important issues today than ever before.” Bert van Walbeek says the Safehotels certification solutions and courses help to answer the question of ‘how’ in an easier way than ever before.

“The major changes happen when owners and management begin to realize that the brand that has been built up over the years is a part of marketing. When safety and security do not work properly, it can rapidly have a disastrous effect on business. Unfortunately they need to suffer, precisely as we are now doing in Thailand, before they see the light.” The launch of a partnership between Safehotels and The Winning Edge means that an entirely new perspective on hotel security is reaching Asia. However, Asia is vast and has many different cultures. Bert van Walbeek believes that this creates a need for a large network of partners, a necessity for everyone to speak and understand the local language, and a requirement to be relevant concerning regional disasters. “When we have achieved success in Thailand, the word will spread quickly to our neighbouring countries Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Today, Asia accounts for 21 percent of hotel rooms globally, estimated most recently in 2012 at almost three million. There is certainly a lot, or rather an enormous amount, to do.”

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In cooperation with Safehotels Alliance, ICCA has launched a new white paper designed for association executives and meetings management companies to plan, prepare, manage, and recover from any crisis situation. The objective of crisis management is to develop structured solutions to crisis and emergency situations by allocating and utilising effective resources to ensure minimal impact to people, reputation and assets in this order of priority. The new white paper does not only provide crisis management direction and guidelines to association executives, but is also aimed at meetings management companies an association is MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

engaged with, for example Association Management Companies (AMCs), Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs), Destination Management Companies (DMCs), Hotel and Conference Venues. ICCA CEO Martin Sirk: “I’ve frequently stated during presentations that “there is no such place as a safe destination”, but that doesn’t mean that association meeting planners, PCOs, destination marketers, and venue directors can’t work together to help mitigate risks and prepare to deal effectively with unexpected crises. Planning, foresight, great contingency preparation, understanding how to communicate internally and externally, and, perhaps most criti-

cally, teamwork are all covered in this new ICCA document, which we hope will enable international association meetings to safely navigate an ever more complex and challenging global environment.” There are two complementary forms of crisis management – operational and communications. Operational crisis management focuses on the practical organisation and arrangements to deal with a crisis with a priority on people and assets. Communications crisis management focuses on handling public relations and the media with a priority on reputation. The operational guidelines have been provided by Andy Williams of



Martin Sirk, CEO, ICCA, Ksenija Polla, Director Association Relations, ICCA, Hans Kanold, CEO, Safehotels Alliances

ICCA Publishes Guidelines

Roger Kellerman



“There is no such place as a safe destination”

Safehotels. The guidelines illustrate the main components of a Crisis Management and Emergency Plan, planning and preparation for a crisis, examples of what designates a crisis situation, roles and responsibilities of a Crisis management team, an Appendix with practical guideline templates and links to useful resource and information. Safehotels Alliance is the originator of The Global Hotel Security Standard, and provides independently verified security and safety certification for hotels and meeting venues with regards to: ƒƒ Hotel facilities and safety services ƒƒ Process, procedures, training and management ƒƒ Security equipment ƒƒ Fire equipment ƒƒ Fire procedures & training ƒƒ Risk prevention and crisis & recovery management The Safehotels Alliance’s certificates allow hotels and meeting venues to communicate their level of safety and security, making them an easy choice for safety concerned guests and more comfortable for its guests and participants.

The crisis communications guidelines include “Managing the media” by regular ICCA Congress speaker Tina Altieri of Media Australasia Xchange (MAX), as well as an article by ICCA’s Communication Strategist Mathijs Vleeming, called: “Reactive or proactive? Seven factors for effective crisis communication for international meetings”, including a crisis communication checklist to prepare before an event, which has also been published, a blog about PR and social media in the meetings industry, supporting the ICCA Best PR Award. The appendices include 2 ICCA case studies on how ICCA has dealt with a specific communication around potential crises involving an outbreak of dengue fever before the 2012 ICCA Congress in Puerto Rico and geopolitical challenges related to ISIS and Ebola at the 2014 ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey, as well as an article on “Mastering the Media: When the media spotlight is on you in times of crisis”.

The Crisis Management Guidelines are part of a series of ICCA publications, specifically designed for the international association community to assist organisers and delegates running more efficient and effective meetings. Associations can download the document by registering for the ICCA Association Portal on – a unique online platform providing a safe environment through which Association Executives could get in touch with peers to exchange valuable advice and information on their meetings. ICCA members can download the publi­cation from the My ICCA section on Download Crisis Management for Meetings from





Professor Paraskevas: THE INDUSTRY HAS TO GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY As an academic, he has been involved in the field of risk, crisis and security for more than 10 years and has worked on numerous projects with hotel groups. He is also a member of the largest global industrial security professional organization, the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS). Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, a professor of Strategic Risk Management, has a PhD in Crisis Management from Oxford Brookes University. Today, he is the Chair of Hospitality in the International Centre for Hotel and Resort Management, part of the University of West London. We met Professor Paraskevas to discuss safety and security in the meetings and events sector but also the wider hospitality industry. How high on the agenda are safety and security issues in the global meetings and events industry?

“When it comes to ‘mega-events’ and perhaps festivals, safety and security is always high on organizers’ agendas and this has been the case for a few decades. I believe that it’s also quite high on the agendas of meetings, incentives and conventions organizers, but perhaps not as high as it should be,” says Professor Alexandros Paraskevas. “For example, I came across a relatively recent study on ‘mega-trends’ that will be shaping the meetings and conventions industry until 2030 and was delighted to see

that safety and security were included as topics. I was slightly disappointed though when reading the report to see that ‘safety’ was mentioned only four times, just as a title. ‘Security’ was linked more with ‘information security’ – which is a very legitimate, but not the only point of concern – and broadly with technology, for instance the use of robots for “cleaning, security or other routine work”. In the same study, 42 % of the respondents (all experts in the MICE sector) felt that security is an issue that may strongly influence the industry in the coming years and a further 26 % felt it will influence the sector, but less strongly. I’m not too sure about how to interpret these results. Should I be happy that 68 % of the expert respondents realize that security is, and will be, a serious challenge for the industry or worried about the 32 % who don’t think it is? Or that in one part of the report, security features between ‘cleaning’ and ‘other routine work’? Of course, this study concerns only one European destination and not the global industry, but this destination is a mega-destination for meetings and events, and reflects the thinking of a significant part of the industry.” Are there any companies and organizations that are taking the lead on safety and security issues?

“The topic of ‘safety and security’ cannot be ignored and every day we

see reminders in the news of why that is so. Therefore, professionals in the field will always have safety and security issues on their checklists. The question is whether these issues are the right ones and whether they are just to be ‘ticked’ or to be scrutinized. There are those professionals who approach the matter purely from a compliance perspective and those who are actually going the extra mile for the safety and security of their staff and clients. Particularly when it comes to safety – because we treat these two topics together, although they are distinct – the regulatory systems vary from country to country. Organizations with a ‘compliance mindset’ will vary their standards accordingly, whereas the ones that are actually running their businesses responsibly will have standards and requirements of the highest level implemented globally. This is not an easy way to do business, but there are a few good companies that strive to achieve it.” How much more important are safety and security issues today compared to five years ago? And why?

“Safety has always been important, but more recently it has become a norm that’s taken for granted, something that‘s no longer expected, but rather demanded by any service provider. In the past we had accidents that were attributed to bad luck, 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“Third party certifications are a form of quality assurance”

human error or acts of God and companies would more or less get away with them with few repercussions. They cannot do that anymore, even if the legal consequences in the aftermath are not so serious. The recent example of an accident in a resort hotel in Greece involving a major tour operator, says it all: the court of public opinion will be ruthless in many cases and it will get more serious in the future. The larger companies will step up their game because of social pressure and the smaller ones will have to follow suit if they don’t want to lose business. This is relatively straightforward because employee and customer safety are static risks that can be managed with reasonable effort.” “Security, on the other hand, is a more dynamic and complex risk because here you normally have to deal with an adversary, whether it’s a criminal, a hacker, a lone-wolf or a terrorist group, who are becoming more and more sophisticated. The measures that you take today may not be adequate tomorrow and this is why companies should not be complacent in this matter. Clearly, and despite the study I mentioned earlier, security can never be classified as “other rouMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

tine work”. I am glad, in a way, that the professionals in this study see information security as important, because this shows they recognize the exponential growth of this threat over the past few years. However, with the global geopolitical situation, the terrorist threat is growing at the same speed, if not faster, and, when you add the grave societal problems all over the world, criminality and social unrest in general are growing threats too.” What do you think of the Safehotels Alliance certification?

“It’s a very interesting initiative in the hotel industry that comes at a time when safety and security are higher on the business agenda. Although these topics were always important for hotels, hoteliers tended to be reluctant to go the extra mile and always took a regulatory compliance approach, which is not always the best one. Compliance to domestic rules and regulations will never constitute a rounded hotel safety and security strategy. Safehotels Alliance certification is based on the Global Hotel Security and Safety Standard, which is a strategy. In that sense, it helps hotels go the extra mile by properly developing and validating

the implementation of safety and security policies, standards and procedures. I understand that the 220 or more checkpoints of the certification audit points include the hotel’s communication policy offering guidance for the right response to any kind of emergency, which is a huge step-up for a large part of the industry.” Is it important to have third party certification, and if so, why?

“Third party certifications are a form of quality assurance for certain aspects and functions of a hotel. Putting aside the star ratings and other similar schemes, these certifications started over 30 years ago and involved areas such as staff development (Investors in People), quality of service (Hospitality Assured) and various ISOs, but even today the most prominent ones relate to the hotel’s environmental concerns. Today, third party certifications have expanded into other areas of ‘responsible’ or ‘sustainable’ business such as the supply chain. These certifications normally assure the individuals or companies who care about these issues that the hotel meets the standards set by the certification provider. The more known and respected the


“A safety-conscious customer will prefer a certified hotel”

certification provider is, the higher the value of the certification.” With agreements such as the one with Carlson Rezidor, Safehotels certification now extends around the world. Will this mean other hotel chains have to follow suit and create their own safety and security strategy?

“I believe so. It will certainly cause some ripple effects. Of course, certification of this kind provides a certain competitive advantage in the battle to gain market share. A safety-conscious customer will prefer a certified hotel. But, I think certification may not mean much to the leisure or individual traveller, the B2C segment. Where it will really make a difference is in the B2B segment, namely the corporate segment, and, to a certain extent, in the tour operation segment. The big corporations, under the pressure of ‘corporate manslaughter’ liability for their staff, and the tour operators (travel and MICE) will certainly prefer to do business with a hotel that’s independently certified for its safety and security. In order to compete in this lucrative market, more hotels will step-up their safety and security strategies and may eventually seek certification.”

Is there any discussion in the academic world concerning comparisons between Safehotels certification and other safety standards?

“There is some discussion about third party certification in general, but although Safehotels certification has been available for a while, it’s too new to attract such a discussion. In general, safety and security standards receive little attention in the hospitality academic world with a few exceptions, such as the work we are doing with a number of hotel and contract catering groups here at the University of West London’s International Centre of Hotel and Resort Management. It has received more attention in the events and festivals sector from the University of Technology in Sydney and for meeting planners by one or two academic institutions in the US.” When do you think safety and security strategy will become a must for all big hotel chains?

“As an academic, I have been involved in the field of risk, crisis and security for more than 10 years and have worked on numerous projects with hotel groups. I am also a member of the biggest global industrial security professional organization. I

therefore know from first hand that it’s a “must” for all hotel groups, but perhaps its position varies on their corporate agendas. The main issue for many (myopic) boards is that investing in safety and security does not provide a clear return on investment. I’m sure that a number of executives will look at third party certification on safety and security more as a corporate social responsibility investment and prioritize it as such, which means “maybe in a year or two … or more”. The more open minded will link any investment in safety and security with increased reputation capital, reduced insurance premiums and reduced claims relating to owner’s liability and employee compensation. There may be some resistance also from existing hotel safety and security executives who will need to understand that such a certification is not replacing their strategies but recognises and celebrates ‘good practice’ and offers opportunity for further improvements. The real wake-up call for all those who lag behind will come from the loss of lucrative corporate and MICE accounts, which will move to hotel groups that provide evidence of their safety and security strategies



and from the higher premiums their insurers will be asking.” “One big challenge that hotel groups have, and will need to deal with in the near future, is the inconsistency of safety and security standards between owned/managed and franchised properties. What most people don’t realize is that these standards may vary from hotel to

have been stripped of courses relating to safety and security. The ones that exist are mainly basic food hygiene courses and some other relevant courses are offered as electives. Let’s face it: safety and security are the least ‘glamorous’ functions in the hospitality field for someone to study. Until there are culture changes at board level regarding this area, it will

“We will have more intense, sophisticated and complex security threats to deal with” hotel. Franchised properties are not obliged to comply with all the safety and security standards of the brand they have as a flag, and as a result two properties under the same flag may have completely different standards. If something goes wrong, it’s the hotel operator, not the brand, who is legally liable. However, guests choose a hotel because they trust the brand, not its operator. This is something that the industry will need to address and fairly quickly.” Do you see a growing demand for training in safety and security matters? Which areas will be covered first?

“Many hotel companies have developed their own training schemes or rely on consultants such as fire engineers, environmental officers and former military or police officers to develop their programmes and strategies. Organizations representing security professionals also offer a number of courses to their members and people who are interested. There are professional courses available, but not many in a hospitality industry context. Most hotel school curricula MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

not be at the top of anyone’s agenda.” What are the most important safety and security issues in the global meetings, events and hotel industry today and in the future?

“Safety risks are static and based on specific hazards, so they do not change dramatically over time. Fire safety and food safety are the most important ones, followed by occupational health and safety for employees, and premises usage safety for hotel guests, and meeting and convention delegates (slips, trips and falls, room safety, pool and leisure facilities safety, etc.). Security risks are more dynamic and based on evolving social, technological and geopolitical threats. This can vary from financial criminal activity (petty theft, fraud in various departments of the operation, counterfeit tickets and coupons) to ‘serious crime’ (child prostitution, forced labour by contracted agency, murder of guests and employees by an active shooter), data breaches and hacking of business networks (customer credit cards, denial of service in reservation’s website) and activist protests or terrorist attacks.

These risks are important today and will become even greater challenges tomorrow.” Looking five years ahead – how much more important will safety and security issues be then?

“I can look back 30 years to when I started working with Marriott. At that time, the security officer was in charge of chasing prostitutes out of the hotel, checking the expiry date of fire extinguishers and perhaps searching staff bags in case someone stole hotel property. Today, we have to deal with all the safety and security issues I described above – and more. For example, a couple of years ago I was working with a hotel group on safety issues when the Tohoku earthquake hit Japan, where it had over 30 properties, a call centre and a corporate office. We were ready to deal with the earthquake, we had safety standards in the event of a tsunami, we had business continuity plans in place for the corporate office and the call centre, but we were not prepared for a nuclear threat. We had to become ‘experts’ in this, too. Five years from now, I expect that we will have more or less the same safety risks, but more intense, sophisticated and complex security threats to deal with,” concludes Professor Alexandros Paraskevas.


A large venue at Oslo Airport

5000 m2 of space to play with Thon Congress Gardermoen is a flexible hall for all kinds of events, conferences, conventions, banquets, exhibitions and kickoffs, loacated only 10 minutes from Oslo Airport. • Plan 1 has a 2567 m² congress hall that can be divided into three parts. • Plan 2 has meeting rooms in size between 50 and 200 m². • Associated mingle area Thon Hotels has with its two hotels at Gardermoen 695 rooms in total and can accommodate nearly 1,400 overnight guests at any time. With the hotels’ central location to Oslo Airport as well as to Oslo, all factors are favorable for large, complex and efficient fairs, events and congresses. For more information, please visit: No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL

Take a look at the CV of Andy Williams and it shows he started working as a policeman in London in 1988 and became an investigator of serious crimes, but decided after six adrenalin-charged years to change his career path. He chose the hotel industry – it felt like a ‘crossover’ – and discovered that security work at a hotel is exactly like a small community: running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Andy Williams has been a security manager for several hotels in London. For three years he worked at The Grosvenor House Hotel Park Lane, the city’s largest meetings and banquets hotel, which takes up to 5,000 participants at major events and 2,000 people for a formal sit-down dinner. In 1998 he became a security manager for Marriott, recruiting and training security teams from scratch, and creating guidelines and routines for security from the start, instead MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL | BIR No. 02 2015

of inheriting them. It was here that he also introduced the concept of the security team’s work being first and foremost about hospitality. Five years later Andy Williams became head of security for Marriott’s eleven hotels and clubs in Britain. At the same time, the hotel chain took over 30 hotels, which meant that he introduced security routines and trained 10,000 employees to see the importance of security in relation to meetings and events. “It was here that I gained valuable knowledge and experience of training hotel staff to think in terms of security.” In parallel, Andy Williams’ role was expanded to also manage security work for the group’s hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a job he had for seven years. His duties also included responsibility for security analyses and standards for all takeovers and new buildings. He has also

had an advisory role for the British National Counter Terrorism Office, the Council of the European Union and the UN’s organ UNICRI on matters such as ‘security in public places.’ Earlier this year, Andy Williams decided it was time to utilize his knowledge and experience in a company where he could help a larger number of people. He chose the Swedish company, Safehotels. “In my work roles I have been tied to one hotel or brand at a time. With the expertise I have, I am now in a position that offers unlimited possibilities to share my experience. Safehotels certification is an internationally mature system that sets high requirements. I will work towards introducing it in more parts of the world.” Andy Williams’ knowledge in the area of security for meetings and events has taken him all over the


Andy Williams, Global Operations, Quality Assurance and Education, Safehotels


Sara Appelgren



world. What are the most important issues in the meetings industry? “A significant factor concerns allocating the right resources and infrastructure to the right place, but introducing new, fresh experience relating to events and destinations is also important.” He explains that global security, knowledge and experience are impor-

totally removed, but you can try to minimize or control it. “The questions companies should be asking are: How big a risk am I prepared to take? Am I comfortable with what the worst consequences can be? Am I basing my security approach on the degree of probability that the worst happens? Then I can adapt my way of thinking to the facts and cre-

“The security team’s work is first and foremost about hospitality” tant factors when evaluating possibilities for setting up a new destination. This is particularly relevant for the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) or the latest acronym for countries that are making progress – MIST – (Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey). There is an enormous market for destination development and security. Feeling anxiety in the face of change is not unusual. Part of that anxiety stems from feeling uncomfortable in terms of security and safety, he says. “Destinations must invest heavily to create the security that must exist for positive developments within the meetings industry to continue in these countries.” When looking at risk management and meetings, Andy Williams emphasizes you should think about what is important for you, your meeting and your company – but not only that. Also think about your staff, your property and your reputation. Ask the questions: What is the worst-case scenario? What resources do you want to allocate to the meeting in order to manage the risk? Risk can never be

ate resources for the people who are going to hold the meeting.” According to Andy Williams, information theft is the aspect we think least about. In contrast, we know about, and can quantify, risks relating to fire, property theft and natural disasters. However, the company’s intangible assets, where you should be thinking about information security, are a lot more difficult to put your finger on. “What are the advantages for your staff of having a wireless network during a meeting, if someone can get access to your data traffic?” Risk assessment is the term he uses. Does the fact that we must use a cable to connect to a wall socket perhaps mean that we lose business, because we didn’t have access to a socket at that precise moment? He stresses that it is important to recognize the facts. We live in a world where wireless communication often surrounds us – laptops, smartphones, tablets. The question is not whether there should be a cable or not, but how we can be more secure in the wireless world we are increasingly involved in.

“Many companies and organizations need more external business intelligence and need it more frequently. This means we need to be wirelessly connected more often, if not all the time. But, do we always understand the risks? Or do we sometimes overestimate them?” On this matter, it is important that hotels, professional congress organizers, convention bureaus, destination management companies, event companies and travel agencies have security strategies in place for their organizations, points out Andy Williams: “A strategy means forwardthinking, planning and allocation of resources. I was at a HR congress recently where the moderator said there will be five billion middle-class people worldwide by 2030. That can be seen as five billion who are everything from people in middle management to top managers at executive level. All of them will want, and need, to got to meetings and events.” “Competition for these customers will be enormous and continue to grow. Regardless of how digitalized the world becomes, people will want to meet face to face. This means they need an approach to security that enables them to feel safe. This applies not least to new destinations, which are quickly realizing the importance of hosting international meetings. In order to do that, they always need a security strategy.” Andy Williams explains that the new destinations in the international meetings world follow the new global market’s developments and the same basic rules, but they look at the world from many new perspectives, involving great complexity and mutual dependency. “They more often work using a forward-thinking strategy and there-



fore work in a third dimension, which gives them a lead.” When asked to consider the five most important steps regarding crisis management, he quickly replies. “But, don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to ‘a most important five steps approach’. In a crisis it just leads to a fragmented strategy.” He would rather consider the five most

He sees a clear connection between hospitality and security. Hospitality relates to attention to detail, to foresee guests’ needs and thereby be proactive. At its best, security is about attention to detail, namely to try and foresee what can happen and thereafter work actively on prevention. “The two go hand in hand. Having a service and hospitality strategy

“What resources do you want to allocate to a meeting in order to handle the risk?” important elements: 1. Define roles and responsibilities. 2. Have a plan. 3. Decide the allocation of resources and available budget. 4. Practice, practice, practice. 5. Debriefing and follow up meetings must be carried out immediately after the crisis is resolved. If you are the security manager at a hotel, you are in a business where hospitality and service are more important than security issues. It is important to remember that, underlines Andy Williams. In general, when people come to a hotel or meetings facility, they have service and hospitality on their minds, not security aspects. “Service and hospitality come in first, second, third and fourth place. Possibly, security is in fifth place, but not even that’s certain. By getting security managers at hotels to understand what guests expect, namely service and hospitality, there is a greater chance that security is combined with hospitality and then the visitor is provided with the best of both worlds.”


creates a basic approach that in all probability provides and maintains a secure environment.” On one occasion Andy Williams has said that: “In a perfect world there ought to be no need to think about security”, and pointed to the future. How far away is that? He uses an example as an answer: If you count the number of room-nights in one year that involve delegates in all meetings worldwide, and who also stay at a hotel, we are probably talking about a 0.00001 percent chance that something negative happens. That, of course, is very good, if you don’t happen to be the 0.00001 percent person or the company that is exposed to the microscopic chance that it happens – then you have 100 percent of the problem. “It goes back to the question of risk appetite and our own definition of what is perfect. The development of security around the world in recent years has been to look at things from the perspective of ‘high risk, low probability’, in which every eventuality creates ‘what if …’ or ‘worst case’ scenarios.”

Concerning developments in the European hotel sector over the last 20 years, Andy Williams says that several positive steps have been taken regarding security issues. Improved fire security systems, technical security systems (electronic lock systems), renewed design and maintenance of public spaces, audits, training and certification have made both the hotels, and staying there, a much better experience. Security is expensive and you must have security guards, perhaps a whole security department, at a large hotel. Andy Williams points to possibilities to train service personnel at hotels in security awareness, something he introduced during his years at Marriott. “Where the work force is expensive, we are going to see less security, and that applies particularly in Europe. There you get a problem when the hotel or facility accepts it as the new norm and does not invest in security training or increased security consciousness for their personnel.” According to Andy Williams, security guards at European hotels are contracted uniformed guards visible in the lobby or when they patrol. For half the amount of what a guard costs, it would probably be far more efficient to spend the money on training for all lobby staff. With the right training, the security consciousness of staff increases. “Tell a hotel’s CEO that he/she is currently paying x thousand euro for a guard to stand in the lobby every evening and night. A smart CEO would immediately see a saving of half the amount of what a security guard costs and see that the alertness of lobby personnel would increase if they got the right training. Many eyes see more than a uniformed guard.” Andy Williams has also said that the hotel’s room price can cover the


personnel’s security training, but perhaps not a full-time security manager. “Obviously, having a full-time security manager increases the hotel’s costs. If you have other managers in the organization with an interest in security, you can have someone who is responsible for security without being a trained security manager, and they can train people who are in

For very large meetings, Andy Williams considers it is better to buy in expert help instead of having your own expensive security department. When do you reach the point where you need to buy in specialists? “If the meeting planners understand the term risk assessment when the security level is to be determined, that’s the point when taking in an

“Theft of information is the aspect we think about least” the hotel’s front line to attain higher security awareness. In that way, the approach to security becomes part of the room price, without raising it. But, you must be very careful so that you don’t sell security as a reason for a higher room price. If something goes wrong, it can become a high price to pay.” A security manager, or the person responsible for security, usually cooperates closely with parts of the rest of the organization and HR. Security managers are a mystery to the sales and marketing departments in Andy Williams’ experience. He says that his successes at Marriott mainly depended on his cooperation with the sales and marketing departments. This applied especially to important company accounts, security issues for certain destinations, the writing of Requests for Proposal and the visits of particularly important guests to the hotel. “The message about who the guest is should be spread to everyone in the organization. If security issues have a high status at the hotel and all employees want to involved, we have come a long way in security work,”

“At night, when the hotel has most guests and the fewest members of staff on duty … that’s something you should know about when making a decision on choosing a hotel.” Andy Williams affirms that as a travel manager and/or meeting manager, you also ought to know the difference between the fire systems that are on the market. And, you should also know the work schedule and the security training level of the people who are going to look after your group. “They have your life and the lives of your colleagues in their hands during the time you are paying to be there.”

expert should be discussed. If you aren’t aware of risk assessment as a concept, but have a gut feeling that your resources are insufficient, then you shouldn’t hesitate.” He also says that instinct is good as a limit for deciding when it is time to buy in one or more security experts. Realizing afterwards that you should have bought in specialist help can have totally disastrous consequences for you as an individual, your customer and your company. In Sweden there are many companies and organizations that put security issues high on the agenda. However, there are no checks on whether the hotel has night staff when all the company’s personnel are staying at the same hotel after a meeting. “Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply just to Sweden. It‘s the same for many companies and organizations around the world. And the closer you get to emerging markets, their destinations and hotels, the worse it becomes.” It is a question of attitude and awareness, considers Andy Williams, and takes one night at a hotel as an example: 2015 No. 02 BIR | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


Roger Kellerman Publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. Has close to 30 years’ experience of the global meeting industry. Founder of Mötesindustriveckan. photo Sara Appelgren

We Need to Know More IN ORDER TO DO A GOOD JOB Prior to the second edition of our international Business Intelligence Report, we can conclude: We did not achieve our goal of writing more about Africa, South America and several Asian countries. We have not received much help from Amex, CWT or the other large global operators to find sources that never dry up. But we are hardly to blame, even if our editorial office is among the smallest in the world for an international meetings magazine. The lack of information is naturally no easy thing. How should those acting locally and regionally in, for example, Malaysia, Indonesia or Nigeria be expected to know of our existence and our efforts to spread awareness of the meetings industry in other geographical locations? One way, of course, is to attend fairs like IMEX Frankfurt and IBTM World in Barcelona and take note of the information shared there. But is it sufficient? No, of course not. It is time for us to create more knowledge hubs where all the reports produced every year by people like MPI, AMEX, CWT, ICCA, ACTE, GBTA, PCMA, AIPC, IACC, IAPCO, SITE can be stored in one place to enable journalists to find the material they need to be able to


write articles with greater depth and analysis than at present. We will never create straight communication channels between the meetings industry and the media if the industry’s representatives do not understand that this is the way forward. The number of printed press releases at the large fairs has fallen in favour of USB sticks, but has that improved the quality of the information going out? Dubious. Also, at our office we receive images from all over the world every day with no info about what or who the image depicts, just a numeral or alphabetical code. Most often the images are low resolution and unusable. If you work online in real time, images like that (and the news) quickly end up further down the to-do list. When all is said and done, the important thing is that there are companies that are aware of the importance of communicating through the media channels and who take it seriously by not only releasing information, but reflecting over it and analysing it as well. While on the subject of journalism, many suppliers speak of PR as though a magazine’s most important task is to act as a megaphone from suppliers to readers. Unfortunately,

this sometimes happens, but if the media does not want to deepen the dialogue by asking the important counter questions then all the channels will look the same. Karaoke media. A host of European countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brazil and nearly all African states, with the possible exception of South Africa, who have come some way along the road, need to be better in understanding how to communicate with the rest of the world. Naturally, this raises the issue of ‘small’ matters such as freedom of expression and freedom of the media to write and convey what they want, which cannot be taken for granted in some countries. We are now taking the next step by improving our relationship with nations that are just beyond our horizon. We take our steps and expect to be met halfway.

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Meetings International | Business Intelligence Report #02, Oct/Nov 2015 (English)  
Meetings International | Business Intelligence Report #02, Oct/Nov 2015 (English)