IBTM World Barcelona
Team Belfast were back on the road at the IBTM World international trade show, which took place from 27th – 29th November in Barcelona. ICC Belfast plus Visit Belfast, Tourism Northern Ireland, Titanic Belfast and the Merchant Hotel represented the city on the Meet in Ireland stand. This stand was made up of suppliers from the entire island of Ireland who were on hand to showcase it as a tourism destination for meetings and incentive travellers alike. The atmosphere at the stand was electric for the three days with thousands of passing visitors stopping to discover how much Ireland has to offer visitors in addition to the stereotypical perception of roving hills and green fields. Hosted buyers that joined the Irish suppliers on the stand for daily presentations also received a beautiful gift courtesy of Waterford Crystal that they were able to have personalised with hand-engraving to feature a sentimental date or message. The warmth and high spirits of the team on stand did not go unnoticed as the team were awarded ‘Best Stand Personnel’; which may or may not have been influenced by the epic Irish House Party where the Guinness and craic flowed against the backdrop of traditional Irish music and dancing.
An extensive calendar of content ran alongside the busy appointment schedules and included a session titled, ‘World Trends Watch Report’. Some of the key takeaways from this incredibly insightful session were as follows:
The pace of change in all industries means that biennial meetings may no longer suffice as innovation is happening so frequently that information presented runs the risk of being outdated
Event organiser lead times are decreasing so conferences that would have typically been worked on two years out are now working within time frames of 12 – 18 months. This can be attributed to the amount of information that is readily available for organisers who are in a better position to be more responsive
Events must have a distinct experiential value. Whether this is capitalising on the strengths of a destination as a knowledge hub in a particular area of research or development or a unique social programme conferences and meetings of all sizes have to have a wow factor that immerses delegates
Middle Eastern countries are leading the way in developing high profile strategic visions such as the ‘Abu Dhabi 2030’ roadmap and Dubai, where this year’s ICCA Congress was held, has one of the world’s top construction pipelines
Technological advancements continue to weave seamlessly into events in order to add value and provide solutions for delegates and organisers. Facial recognition software that we’re familiar with using on personal devices such as smartphones is set to be used widely for delegate registration and to measure audience sentiment in years to come
Destinations that deliver
Another session delivered by Sherrif Karamat from PCMA, the Professional Conference Management Association, that explored the possibilities for driving economic and social prosperity through business events highlighted the need for destinations to go above and beyond offering the basic infrastructure and meeting space. Facilitating and enabling connections between local people and the conference community is high on the agenda of meetings organisers. This resonated strongly with us as ICC Belfast is fully committed to bridging this gap so that everyone in Belfast and Northern Ireland might understand the benefits of welcoming new visitors to our city. Today, tomorrow and beyond.
To find out more about our integrated communications plans and additional support that we offer event organisers to help them make Belfast their home for the duration of their conference get in touch today by emailing: [email protected]