INTERVIEW WITH CONVENTA AMBASSADOR, PAUL KENNEDY MBE
Q: What inspires you?
On a professional basis its building businesses and events and helping de those I work with. In particular I enjoy working new destinations where you often find incredible enthusiasm and professional passion not always the right political and physical infrastructure. On a personal level its much e straightforward my two daughters Laura and Emma ( both of whom have spent holidays in Slovenia!)
Q: What is the back-story to the UK Meetings show?
The meetings show was created to satisfy the UK inbound and outbound meetings industry. The UK is Europe’s largest outbound market so the show has been of great interest to many destinations which are keen to get more business from the UK-in essence much of Europe and many longer haul mice destinations. The show in 2015 will be 50% bigger than in 2013 and will feature 900+ hosted buyers and some 50 countries among the exhibitors-it’s the most effective way of getting to the UK market.
Q: What sets UK Meeting show apart from others on the scene?
It focusses only on meetings, conferences ( and all the different names these events are called!) and incentives and is the UKs largest ever gathering of fully hosted buyers. In 2014 over 10,000 pre scheduled appointments took place and the demand from exhibitors for 25 is very high
Q: Why did you decide to bring Convene on the trade show market?
Convene is about one small region, the countries with a Baltic sea coastline which is largely not known by many, if not most international meeting and event planners in Europe so the Vilnius Convention Bureau believed in my vision for a not for profit regional event which has been heralded as a huge success. I believe small focused national and regional events will increase dramatically in number
Q: What’s the state of International meetings industry?
Overall robust with underlying demand increasing but on the supply side it is becoming ever more competitor. It’s important for emerging or ‘newer’ destinations to remain focused and consistent in delivering high quality- destinations and venues take years to become established.
Q: What can international meetings industry do, to create a better world?
It is very well documented that meetings aid economic performance and development and are keen in the distribution of education and scientific, medical and technological expertise. It should be self- evident for all governments of whatever political persuasion support the infrastructure development of the industry as the business of meetings which generates jobs, taxation revenue and a measurable percentage of Gross domestic product
Q: Can meetings play a part in solving emerging countries problems?
For certain. The business of meetings uses some of the tourism supply chain but in different ways and on a per capita basis generates substantially greater economic benefit than leisure tourism. In addition by playing host to all types of event the transfer of knowledge can accelerate the overall education and professional standards across many industries. I believe that the holding of all types of meetings and events should become an integrated part of nation’s economic and social strategy.
Q: What does the future of meetings hold?
As individual freedoms across the world expand further membership of international associations of all types will increase and the thirst for meetings will follow-I believe these association meetings will continue to become more professional and business like and shorter in duration. For corporate meetings I believe as companies become more international through acquisition, amalgamation and through strategic alliances this sector will continue to demand greater value for money, look for destinations that can deliver a different experience but at the same time contribute directly to the required return on investments.
Q: What are the next steps for you?
I am currently working on some new developments including industry trade events in a number of countries. I am also in the process of forming a collaboration among a group of industry consultants and will be launching a menu of training programmes for destinations and venues covering sales and marketing
Paul Kennedy MBE
Paul Kennedy is Director and Owner of Kennedy Integrated Solutions a meetings industry consultancy. His consultancy focuses on destination, event and venue strategic business development and his client list is principally international.
He is currently Strategic Business Consultant for the Vilnius Convention Bureau, Visit Denmark ( London office),The Meetings Show UK and the Convene trade show and a non executive director of the CHS group. His recent clients have included the Slovenian and Sicilia Convention Bureau, the Conventa trade show, the Saudi Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities. He has also completed projects for the US travel association, the City Selection , Artexis ( Belgium) , Centaur communications, the one two four group and the QEII conference centre.
Paul is very well known throughout the global meetings industry having been Group Exhibition Director for Reed Travel Exhibitions global portfolio of meetings and incentive events. Paul restructured and expanded this business to become the leading group of industry B2B events in the world taking place annually in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australasia.
PAUL'S TOP THREE TIPS:
- Keep you business delivery focussed and consistent- key to success is not just being innovative but in delivering what the clients need on a consistent basis
- Fish where the fishes are- don’t waste money chasing too many new markets-make sure you can deliver what you promise to clients who really are out there
- Get face to face with clients-the conversion rates of business are always higher when you can interact face to face with clients