nina_erneker

Nina Erneker, Founding Partner & Chairman at ACF Audite Cogitare Facite, talked about how she became enchanted with the business events industry, and how she perceives the role of convention bureaus.

I have been in love with the business events industry since I enrolled at university. Well, I was barely aware of what it stands for at the time, but it just somehow attracted (or cursed) my mind and soul back then. A couple of decades later, after experiencing the booming highs and pandemic lows of this industry, I have to admit, this environment is undoubtedly something I still have some kind of affection for, and, surprisingly, it mainly concerns Convention Bureaus (CB).

When I left the Bratislava Convention Bureau almost two years ago, I started looking for ways to stay in touch with the industry. I remember one engaging discussion with a friend of mine who just fired questions at me, asking me why the hell I would not establish my own CB. You just cannot have “your own one” I replied, yet there was the thrilling gut-feeling back again. I decided to pursue that feeling, which led to establishing the ACF – Audite, Cogitare, Facite platform, a thought leadership hub for Business Events I share with another three precious eventprofs.

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Photo Credit: Aljaž Čad

But what is the story with the Convention Bureau (CB)? I presume a new story is about to be written in Slovakia soon. No matter the “paper” and the “publisher”, I feel it is much more necessary to find the right content and structure. All of us know the basic roles of a Convention Bureau being a one-stop shop for meeting planners, taking care of the destination positioning, being a spokesperson for the local industry and providing the necessary support and a door-opening hand. Based on what my gut feeling told me when seeking why I love convention bureaus so badly was this: there is much more about CBs than that.

This entity manages the strategy for meetings in a destination. Why does it matter? Meetings are incredibly impactful. When people meet, new qualities and added values are created. There are new ideas, solutions and partnerships being generated, and when handled wisely, this constitutes enormous potential for development. That is also why meetings in person and business meetings are so irreplaceable. I am now much clearer about my passion for meetings.

I simply enjoy digging out the potential for growth in them.

And that is exactly what a competent Convention Bureau should do too. To become a gold miner of the destination’s potential to expand, progress and bloom. To develop into a solid and trustworthy player with a big picture and a long-term vision. To act as a strong player among others, playing the cards well for the whole destination. To turn into a reliable partner for the academic sector, local exporters, the city and the whole hospitality industry.

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Of course, there are a vast majority of meetings that “just” fill up your night stats, but that is not the point. Convention Bureaus can trigger destination development by helping to win the right business events and aligning the needs of the destination with the needs of the market. I believe this is not only possible but also highly feasible. It just needs to have a plan, a strategy – a win-win strategy ideally.

Well, in these game-changing times of uncertainty, planning three or five years ahead sounds like a sci-fi screenplay. However, one wise man provided me with an advanced perspective on what a long-term vision is.
If the time span of the vision is so broad that you personally cannot whatsoever benefit or fear consequences from your strategy in the future, you will selflessly fancy the best for everyone. Just like wishing well to your great-grandchildren in the upcoming 50 years, shall you ever have some.

This family illustration might come in handy also for business events, as just like you are willing to give the best for your future descendants, you need to be willing to give the best to your destination partners. Vice versa, the whole destination needs to provide and deliver. As only a give-give strategy can lead to a win-win one.