Content marketing
The wild east of European meeting events

Today I am still feeling the positive influence of an event that has really touched my ‘event soul’, one to which I have been greatly committed for the past 20 years. A few days ago I was once again thrilled by the simple and clear format of an event that was set up by the visionary Salvatore Sagione almost a decade ago. After ten years of hard work, The European Best Event Award project became the main event of its kind in Europe, or, as Salvatore stated, it has become the ‘Oscars of the event industry’, presented for the second time under the hot sun of Seville.

At these Oscars for our industry the best event award was given to the “BATTLE OF WATERLOO BICENTENARY COMMEMORATION” project, which is the brainchild of VO Communication in association with Verhulst Events and Petit Creation. A project of A+ production was also chosen from among 290 other registered events and 122 top European event agencies. Each project was presented live to the jury, which consisted of 30 expert event organisers and event participants.

[pullquote]With this format you really can’t get closer to the real heart of the meetings industry, as all the stories were presented by their creative directors and authors through personal experience and their own creative ideas. [/pullquote]An inexhaustible source of inspiration was topped off with sincere and heartfelt lectures from true experts in their field and the EUBea award ceremony. I was part of the journalist jury, which consisted of professionals from 14 different European countries. The event that struck us most strongly was the Hearing Hands project, created by Dinamo Istanbul, which is part of the Casta Diva Group. With a fresh and original approach they connected the event with different media and managed to achieve huge marketing results, especially in social media, all on a low budget but with an exceptional idea.

Loaded up on the high-octane energy of the event, I turned again to the reality of our congress industry, which was this week embodied by IBTM World in Barcelona. When I returned to my office I was greeted by at least five invitations to top congress events. Under the influence of my like-minded colleagues from Seville, I looked around for my next big inspiration, but was unfortunately disappointed, as I found myself not really caring about the knowledge that was being offered. Generic lecturers, motivational speakers and magicians who solve the most complex event organisation questions and destination marketing problems in five easy steps.
Sadly, there are lots of ‘wannabe’ experts who are happy to talk about organising an event, but have never actually organised one. In order to expand their knowledge limits, they have built their “academic event career” based on a scientific title, online research of congress guests’ habits and the scheduled term papers of their students. [pullquote]The gap between knowledge and experience can only be bridged by hard work and the number of flight hours, as pilots like to call it, or the number of executed events, as we are able to measure it.[/pullquote]

Despite the pervasive tolerance of the meetings industry, it is time that this grey spot of our business is taken into the hands of key stakeholders. It should be taken into the hands of congress organisers and providers, those who have the authority to choose the content that is key for them and their partners. Event organisers should always point out how many events the lecturer actually has under his belt.

What astonishes me more than anything else is that our regional knowledge and initiative exceeds all the stereotypes of the European meetings industry and in every area. The charm of the ‘European wild meeting east’, a half defined congress destination, is slowly coming to life and becoming the new congress centre of Europe. All of this hints at the region becoming one of the most interesting and progressive meetings destinations, also from the standpoint of congress know-how.

If you too are hungry and thirsty for true congress content, come to Conventa for your dose of authenticity and real knowledge – from practice, for practice.

EUBEA - First Place: Battle of Waterloo Bicentenary Commemoration

EUBEA - Second Place: The Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

EUBEA - Third Place: Opening ceremony APM Terminals Maasvlakte II, Rotterdam

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