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Ongoing education in the Meetings Industry is a success factor for future business

It’s a vital task for top management in each organization, whether it is a Convention Bureau (CVB), tourist board, congress center, airline, hotel, DMC, PCO or meeting planner, to train every employee continuously.

Jake Buchheit, Sales Coordinator at Visit KC (USA) and student during the last ECM Summer School said that with the rapid pace at which the world is evolving, it is crucial that organizations provide ongoing training for employees and discuss initiatives and global issues that face our industry.

Pier Paolo Mariotti, Meeting Manager at EURAC Research, Course director of the ECM Summer School since 2011, and ECM Vice-President for the Meetings Industry explained that the ECM Summer School is the first step of this ongoing journey. This year, the 32nd edition continued to inspire 62 students from 18 countries on 3 continents to lead by 15 Faculty members. The set-up of the event enabled once again maximum interaction between students and our experienced meetings’ professionals, challenged in plenary sessions, group work, networking or socializing.

An experienced faculty

The faculty are all members/partners of ECM and gave their time on a voluntary basis – a way of giving back to the meetings industry: Lone Alletorp Callard(Wonderful Copenhagen), Elif Balci Fisunoglu(ICCA), Nalan Emre(IMEX Group), Sam Johnston(Dublin Convention Bureau), Cain Leathem(GB Fitness), Nicola McGrane(IAPCO), Christian Mutschlechner(Vienna Convention Bureau), Miguel Neves(Social Media Chefs), Colleen Phalen(Destinations International), Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis(Aristotle UniversityThessaloniki), Mathias Sondermann(SAP), Anja Stas(FMCCA), Daniel Waigl(CIRSE) and Kerstin Wünsch (tagungswirtschaft) led by the course director Pier Paolo Mariotti, CMP CMM (EURAC Research).

New to the faculty this year were Elif Balci Fisunoglu, Regional Director for Europe at ICCA, whose role was to present the ICCA Association Database, Sam Johnston, Manager of Dublin Convention Bureau explained how to find clients and which tools help and the importance of fam trips and site inspections, and Mathias Sondermann, Senior Director Head of Technology & LoB Events at SAP who spoke about RFP and decision-making process of corporate clients.

Sophie Fransen, Project Assistant at Event Masters in Belgium and student during the ECM Summer School in Thessaloniki said that she learned a great deal about the MICE-sector and have now better insights on how to prepare for bids and RFP’s. She had the opportunity to ask questions to experienced faculty and to peers. Discussing dilemmas and difficulties that we encounter during our daily job, sharing ideas and solutions. And most of all it was an amazing and valuable networking experience!

The ECM Summer School is extending its scope with students from 3 continents

As a result of the partnership with Destinations International (to develop joint opportunities to promote and deliver key research and educational resources to respective members), the ECM Summer School 2018 welcomed 5 students from ECM’s American counterpart along with a faculty member [Colleen Phalen, Executive Vice President Programme & Management – Ed.].

This year’s ECM Summer School was also the occasion to welcome 5 students from South Africa following the successful ECM Academy held in Johannesburg in 2016.

Veruschka Rugbeer, Sales Officer at South African Tourism and student during this year’s ECM Summer School said that she thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity. It gave her insight into best-practices shared amongst my European colleagues, allowed for the opportunity of networking and for the ability to put together the puzzle pieces being new to the industry. It was an excellent platform to learn about the challenges faced (some which are not unique to our country), and to create contacts and share ‘our stories’. All part of the vision to #meet #share #grow. This experience was life impacting for someone like her coming from the Behavioural Sciences background. she now believes that the she has a bigger role to play by influencing the mindsets of people toward creating more awareness and inevitably increasing sales in the business events industry.

Rahel Bätschmann, Project Manager Convention Bureau at Zürich Tourism and student during the 32nd ECM Summer School stressed that the ECM Summer School is a one in a lifetime opportunity – not only to widen your knowledge but also to meet so many great people from the meetings industry all around the world. Everyone should take their chance and attend the next Summer School – you won’t regret it!

Thessaloniki is one of the cities, globally, with the greatest potential for attracting conferences and international events. The city has the holistic city marketing approach that maintains the balance between the three critical players: locals, leisure tourists, and business travelers, as well as a strong focus on networking with other European cities, concluded Spiros Pengas, Deputy Mayor of Tourism & International Relations of the City of Thessaloniki.


The ECM Summer School qualifies for CMP certification and every student getting an ECM Summer School diploma also gets 17.75 Clock Hours for their overall CMP certification.


Registration for the 33rd ECM Summer School will open at the beginning of 2019.

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