If you’re considering your first foray into the realm of international event planning, you’re off to a good start. The first element of any major endeavor must be setting the goals, objectives and expectations of an event, followed by a solid research phase. You must look at basic ideas of what will be required and what you can expect. While this isn’t a comprehensive plan on how you should navigate the process, we have provided helpful tips in a series of blogs on where to start from trusted industry experts on how to find the right location, how to embrace the local culture and how to prepare for just about anything.
Location is vital
The success of your event or congress will start with setting goals, objectives and expectations to determine which locations may be appropriate. The event’s success will be heavily dependent on choosing the right destination and is not a choice to be made lightly. There will be many components to consider and the destination must fit the event, you must have the right support on your side and you must be convinced—with pertinent data to show for it—that the location you’re considering is right for your event.
Associations will approach this step differently than a commercial tradeshow or event. Associations will often need to be more mindful of regional and local professional relationships, collaborative arrangements and consider much-needed support. Commercial organizations may choose on the basis of market realities and overall opportunity. In either case, it is critical that expectations are matched with the location that is chosen, says Ben Goedegebuure, the Global General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Maritz Global Events.
“The location of an event is always important, but location weighs perhaps even more heavily as a global meetings success driver,” Goedegebuure said. “It is one of the first decisions you will make and once a choice is made, it will be very difficult and costly to amend. Decision criteria for selecting a destination in North America may not always translate as well to the global marketplace. What will be true everywhere, though, is that you will need to match your event needs to favorable destinations in a supplier-favored market. The only way to do that is to determine what is important to you, collect as much relevant and reliable information as possible on the critical decision points and make a balanced and well-informed decision with the help of a trusted business advisor. Factors such as overall business climate, physical infrastructure and general issues of safety and security should be part of your decision criteria.”
Even if the market seems like a great fit, the location itself may not have the right physical infrastructure to house your event. However, according to Ping He, CMP, Global General Manager – Asia Pacific at Maritz Global Events, many cities across the globe have built or are building superb meetings infrastructures. There is a growing recognition that meetings and events contribute to overall (local) economy and that meetings and events are an important way to drive business tourism into destinations.
“Destinations are investing in infrastructure, including hotels and convention centers, which is attracting high-yield (international) business and has a positive impact on the relevance of association business in the destination,” she said.
On top of the continual development of the physical infrastructure, many destinations around the world have created incentives for event organizers, have simplified tax arrangements related to meetings and are generally supporting associations where they can, says Eduardo Chaillo, Global General Manager Latin America for Maritz Global Events.
“The destinations’ DMO [Destination Management Organizations] plays an important role in providing key insight and can help the event organizer navigate the different rules and regulations that will help the association or individual business to create a successful event.”
Many DMOs can also help associations and individual business connect to their local academic or business communities which is becoming an increasingly important component for any event.
Decisions about a meeting or event destination should never be made in isolation. Enlisting the help of a partner that understands your organization’s needs and requirements and has access to detailed local knowledge will help you make the right choices. Your partner should assist you in comparing data and information and help you make the right decision on your way to a successful global event.