WHAT HAVE BEEN THE KEYS TO EICC’S success?
Marshall Dallas, CEO of Edinburgh International Conference Centre
“Situated at the heart of Edinburgh, the EICC key to success is a combination of: our location; our professional team which delivers our clients events; and our innovative facilities.”
Q: What are the main advantages of Edinburgh that have won heart of meeting planners?
One of Edinburgh’s key advantages is that it is compact and walkable, so delegates can easily enjoy the city’s many attractions and vibrant culture all within short walking distance of city centre hotels and the EICC. We have a fantastic transport infrastructure, with Edinburgh Airport being served by around 40 airlines, reaching over 100 world-wide destinations. And recent investments into hotel developments has seen the range of quality accommodation options growing rapidly. We also know from feedback that Edinburgh’s welcoming nature provides delegates with a very positive experience.
Q: What have been the keys to the Convention Centre’s success?
Key to our success is a combination of: our location; our professional team which delivers our clients events; and our innovative facilities. Our venue offers incredible flexibility with adaptable auditoria, divisible rooms and of course the Lennox Suite with its moving-floor technology. In the following video clips you can view how the Lennox Suite adapts from a flat floor into raked theatre https://youtu.be/P19w_zZA4mk and into arena mode https://youtu.be/hHeuSFx6-iQ
Q: Why do you think associations should choose Edinburgh as their destination for holding conferences?
As well as having the EICC positioned right in the heart of Edinburgh, associations can benefit from the city’s many options for unique and cultural social programme venues. Edinburgh is a hub for enterprise and education – with strengths in bioscience, technology and finance, to name just a few, and being home to four major universities. This position provides associations with great opportunities to utilize the city’s knowledge and enterprise as part of their conference programme, for example with public engagement opportunities which can leave behind a legacy of the conference
Q: How is the venue supporting local business?What role does EICC play in promoting tourism for the city?
The EICC’s raison d’etre is to generate economic impact for Edinburgh. In its 21 years, conferences and events at the EICC have generated in the region of £500,000,000 for the local economy. We work closely with our local industry partners such as Convention Edinburgh, VisitScotland and with hotels and attractions to promote our city to the world.
Q: What large events are coming to the city in the near future?
Taking place at the EICC is:
- Scottish Business Awards, 17 November 2016, dinner for 2,000 guests with Leonardo DiCaprio at keynote speaker
- European Robotics Forum, March 2017, 700 delegates
- Microbiology Society Annual Conference, April 2017, 900 delegates
- Venue Expo & PA Expo, April 2017, 2,000 attendees
Q: Where is the greatest competition and how do you face this?
During the bidding process for association conferences we are most frequently in competition with conference centres in other European hubs. Edinburgh is a truly fantastic conference destination in terms of its accessibility, variety of accommodation, culture, architectural beauty and social opportunities – it is our role to present all of this effectively in the bid. We do this by firstly understanding each association’s individual set of objectives so that we can present an offering which is a perfect match, making Edinburgh a natural choice.
Q: What do you see as crucial marketing elements to impress meeting planners?
Case studies, video content, great imagery and engaging across social media are all of great importance in raising awareness and building a picture of the capabilities of our venue and destination.
Q: In terms of infrastructure what are Edinburgh strengths and what do you feel needs further development?
As previously highlighted, Edinburgh has an excellent transport infrastructure, not just in terms of flight connections but also rail networks and local buses and trams. Further hotel developments will continue to strengthen the appeal of our destination.
Q: Are there any green or sustainability initiatives, which have been implemented in the Centre’s design?
EICC has its own, trade-marked, sustainable events programme, Plan-it green www.eicc.co.uk/organising/plan-it-green Our Green Team, which consists of representatives from each of the EICC teams, are responsible for adopting and implementing earth-friendly practices in our businesses. Through a number of practical methods we can help our clients to monitor and reduce the CO2 emissions associated with their events. We also carry out initiatives such as donating left-over conference materials to school children in Uganda via Mary’s Meals.
Q: If you could host a dream conference, what would that be?
We have a real passion for conferences which leave behind a legacy and make an impact on society, locally or nationally. For example, ahead of hosting the Rehabilitation International World Congress in October this year, we carried out significant enhancements to become the most accessible venue that we can be – both in terms of facilities and staff awareness. Not only did we as a venue make enhancements to accessibility but the wider city got involved to improve accessibility within hotels and attractions – which is a great example of the social impact conferences can have.