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MeetGB draws international buyers to Bankside

With around 6,700 meetings set to take place over the two days, national tourism organisation, VisitBritain, is showcasing a selection of the UK’s business events industry at MeetGB, held at the Hilton London Bankside in London, 19-20 April.

CN attended the launch of the two-day industry showcase which sees 100 global buyers from France, Germany, North America as well as Belgium, Austria, Spain and Switzerland, convene for a programme that includes educational sessions.
 Some of the buyers had already experienced familiarisation trips around the UK, prior to the London event.

Following a welcome speech from VisitBritain and an opportunity for networking, the day picked up momentum with an introductory session by Patrick Delaney and Padraic Gilligan, managing partners at SoolNua Marketing, who spoke on the current UK MICE landscape.

Borrowing from Dickens, Delaney and Gilligan’s session contended we were living through, “The best of times, the worst of times” but that this situation was “the new normal”.

The speakers addressed five key global trends, including:

  • Technology (a liberating tool, which can serve to enable or disable);
  • Commissions (underlining the value of relationships);
  • Destinations (evolving to enter the ‘era of the mega city’);
  • Security (perceived versus real), including ‘cyber and health and safety’;
  • Growth of Incentives.

Buyers interacted via the live group event app, casting a vote that ranked ‘technology’ and ‘destinations’ as the top two trends resonating.

Miguel Neves, head chef at Social Media Chefs, drove the mid-morning session on ‘trends and innovations in technology for meetings and events’.

Tech trends/themes gaining traction in the global events industry, he said, included:

  • Smart data (automation and big data being important for attendees);
  • Single focus (choosing to ‘stay in lane’ translates to keeping a single, coherent focus when using social media);
  • Smart remote (using phone to control other things, for instance translation apps and e-posters);
  • Voice activation (voice control as a trend that will automate our everyday);
  • New types of business communication (ChatBots assist with rudimentary conference/event FYIs);
  • AR (facial recognition apps and software used at high security events, for example);
  • Influencer marketing;
  • Experience through others (live storytelling is shifting the way we produce and experience, narration and comments lends to increased interaction);
  • Influencer marketing tools;
  • Personal Sound (sound wave beamed into the ear; simultaneous translator).

Following lunch on Day 1 was a discussion on crisis management, facilitated by Delaney and Gilligan and including Carina Bauer CEO, IMEX; Alexandra O’Malley, vice-president, Barclays International Events; and Tarquin Scadding Hunt, CEO, MD Group.

The final session on Day 1, is headed by Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech, and is devoted to practical data safety and security.

The evening programme includes a gala dinner and entertainment at Church House Westminster, plus a welcome speech from Sally Balcombe, CEO of VisitBritain.

MeetGB is hosted by VisitBritain in partnership with London & Partners, VisitEngland, Visit Wales, VisitScotland and Tourism Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the event, tourism minister Michael Ellis said: “Events like MeetGB help us promote Britain as a premier destination for business events. This is a great opportunity for British businesses to build new global relationships, bring more international conferences to the country and attract greater inward investment.”

Follow the dialogue on Twitter using the hash tag #MeetGB. More information, click here.