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Buyers urged to sell experiences over destinations

Emerging destinations were the focus of discussion at micebook’s first educational and network event of the new decade held at the nhow London hotel.

The event was attended by 125 buyers from agencies including BCD Meetings & Events, Penguins, Pure Events, Worldspan, Top Banana, CR Worldwide, MCI UK and cievents. It was kicked off with a session on how micebook can inspire, connect with suppliers and create destination boards for upcoming pitches.

Presentations on emerging destinations took delegates through different planning stages from inspiration through to proposal and delivery. Worldspan managing director Sophie Morris shared the highlights of a “life affirming” trip to Rwanda. Her trip included a visit to the country’s Genocide Museum, coffee plantations and a trek through the undergrowth of one of the national parks to sit alongside a family of gorillas.

Top Banana director of incentives Elliott Grant presented different ways of exploring and experiencing Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel, from Segway tours to floating in the Dead Sea.

Chris Clarke, director at Purple Dog Solutions, presented a case study which used Oman as a wild card for the European media launch of the Lexus S Limousine. His session outlined the challenges of choosing a destination outside of the brief, including red tape arising from 11 European specification vehicles brought in from Japan to an Emirati country, an airport which missed its opening deadline and ensuring time-pressed journalists had the opportunity to be chauffered and drive along a 1,000km route.

Event success was measured through PR messaging. Clarke said: “The event was oversubscribed. The UAE lifestyle journalists knew there was something coming on, when they requested to participate, they just rocked up. Everybody got the Japanese ‘Omenatashi’ attitude, the authenticity shines through.”

Henriette Speed of Just the Letter B said emerging destinations were never an “easy option,” urging buyers to sell experiences over destinations. “It’s not about how high Everest is, or the fact that you will see it. We talk about what you can do there, building the excitement: you are going to helicopter up to Basecamp and go to a private breakfast with Everest practically looming over you.”

She outlined the benefits of reaching beyond your comfort zone: “You’ve really thought about the brief and spent a bit more time than just rolling out the ‘usual suspects’. It shows your creativity and, from a personal point of view, it increases your own knowledge of a new destination and hopefully gets you out there to explore it.”

Following the sessions, micebook partners showcased new or latest product offerings through short video trailers and presentations. Guests were also able to enjoy food, drinks and networking at the nhow launch party.