A Collaborative Convention Bureau Network
On 4th February 2021, the EU CVB Network hosted a Virtual Happy Hour for a group of Professional Congress Organisers. It was one in a series of virtual networking sessions that the Network has hosted in the last couple of months. It was attended by some of the most influential people in the industry from AIM Group International, Kenes Group, K.I.T. Group and MCI Group.
The EU CVB Network consists of seven convention bureaux representing the cities of Florence, Gothenburg, Ljubljana, Lyon, Rotterdam, Salzburg and València.
Discussions about forming a collaborative convention bureau network started a couple of years ago, between a group of destinations sharing common characteristics. While the destinations sometimes compete for the same meetings, they recognised the benefits of working in collaboration with each other. It was with a community spirit they got together last year, and with a strong belief that by working together and generously sharing knowledge, experiences and best practice, they would all benefit, and so would their clients.
The Network offers organisers of international meetings the opportunity to get in touch with seven cities at once. The destinations share many common characteristics, not only when it comes to compact city centres and centrally located meeting facilities. They all have a strong collaboration with the local community, a focus on sustainability and innovation and they offer a personal approach and a commitment to engage with associations and PCOs in the process of redesigning meeting solutions in a post-Covid era. Their geographical spread means they can suit a European association’s rotation pattern and be suitable for multi-hub events, as all destinations have invested in the technological infrastructure required to meet the needs of tomorrow.
The Network’s first joint event took place in Brussels in March 2020. It attracted great interest amongst Brussels-based association representatives. With the corona crisis, the collaboration moved online. The destinations share experiences on a regular basis and the Network has been an important support system in a difficult time. Apart from hosting virtual networking events, the Network has held several virtual business leads exchange sessions, with successful outcomes.
Like many others, the EU CVB Network has had to postpone some of its face-to-face activities in 2021, but it is planning to host another joint physical event for associations and join the main MICE events throughout the year. In the meantime, the Network is actively working on future association meetings and to create new business opportunities for international congresses.