In the tourism industry for 20 years, David Noack joined the Spain Convention Bureau (SCB) in 2002 as Director. At the SCB he was in charge of the umbrella organisation that unites leading national suppliers, from hotels to congress centres and cities to event agencies in more than 50 cities around Spain. After a five-year spell at the SCB David joined the Madrid Convention Bureau (MCB) as Deputy Director. Since September 2012 he has been the Director of the MCB, a non-profit organisation created by the City Council of Madrid in collaboration with a group of public and private companies from the sector.

They wanted to promote Madrid as a city capable of hosting national and international meetings and aiming to enable such events from a technical and institutional viewpoint. David is a graduate in Tourism & Hospitality Management and has an M.A. in European Tourism Management from the University of Bournemouth.

Q: Does your city have any strategic subvention plan for conferences?

Madrid Convention Bureau only works with material support for organisers, not economic subventions.

Q: Does your city subvention offer include any free travel or reduced local transportation to and within the city, any free venue, free reception, free brochure or marketing?

Yes, actually the Madrid Convention Bureau only works with material support for organisers and not economic subvention, so when we receive an organiser’s request, whatever the nature of the event (congress or corporate), we evaluate the profile of it. We assess the number of people, the estimated direct spent in Madrid, the strategic interest of the City etc. and, depending on this and in agreement with the organiser’s real needs, we define what support the MCB can provide: the basic support would be to provide contacts, information on Madrid and tourist brochures for attendees, or an information desk at the venue, but we can also arrange institutional letters of support for the bids, welcome receptions at the Old City Council, media promotion of the event or a personalized welcome at the airport for attendees.

Q: Are subventions the latest big thing in the meeting industry or should they be considered as the very last option for a destination to win an association meeting?

The last reason for winning/hosting a meeting would be to be able to make a proposal more compact and attractive than the other destinations you’re in competition against. We always need to work closely with the organiser and understand what he or she is expecting from Madrid and with what kind of tools could we offer to add value. Definitely, however, institutional support such as information brochures or media promotion in our media channels are important, although they’re not in themselves the main reasons to win a bid.

Q: Tell us something about your latest success story and subvention from your city?

Back in 2016 the MCB was approached by the organisers of Game On, the first ever international event dedicated to tabletop gaming in the city. The first edition was aiming at setting high standards and attracting as many participants and exhibitors as possible, so an adequate and attractive location was key. The MCB engaged with the Director for Innovation at the City Council and was able to facilitate the use of a municipal venue – La N@ve – for the event. La N@ve, the former Boetticher elevator factory, is an industrial building from the 1940s that was completely refurbished in 2011 and converted into the municipal centre for technology and entrepreneurship. It also houses I+D labs jointly coordinated with leading local tech companies.

The Game On event, organised by local gaming associations with the support of principal tabletop game publishers, is scheduled for early December 2017 and is expected to attract as many as 10,000 national and international participants.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
In 2014 the Madrid City Council introduced its annual Summer City Programme, where daily cinema projections take place at the seat of the Madrid City Council – Palacio de Cibeles – from early July through early September. The programme has been a huge success with Madrid citizens, however in 2017 the MCB has had to interrupt the projections for two days in order to fully maintain and deliver on its commitment with organisers of a relevant international medical congress and the use of Palacio de Cibeles as venue for the official congress gala dinner. The cinema programme will restart the day after the gala dinner.