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November 27, 2008

Hugo Slimbrouck:Time to show the world what we can do

A director of Ovation Global DMC says this week’s EIBTM exhibition in Barcelona presents a great opportunity to spread the word about the meetings and events industry – and how it can play a key role in helping companies through the downturn.

Leaders of the global event management industry will gather again in Barcelona at EIBTM this week. With an industry, both in public as in private sectors, affected by the recent downfall of the financial services industry in the US, event planners (both corporate and association), as well as their procurement agents are confused.

What we should all do this week is to showcase the importance and value of face-to-face meetings, travel and motivational programmes.

Incentive travel and motivational events, in particular, have the power to reward higher performance, ensuring effective communications to customers, staff and distribution channels.

Motivational programs show high improvement in customer services and spur innovation through enhanced collaboration between employees and channel partners.

What can we do, in our relationships with our clients and our business partners, to ensure business in 2009?

Here are some thoughts:

– Define the business value created through improvement of product and services knowledge

– Show how to improve selling performance through live training and motivation modules

– Establish clear measurement criteria that show the ROI of events

– Share success stories: by aligning, measuring and reporting business results of meeting and incentive programmes across the entire organisation and its clients

– Communicate the value, power and profile of our meetings and events industry to all stakeholders, including the public, regulatory bodies, employees and channel partners

– Show more transparency in the investment and services models that are accountable for business results

– And in general, emphasise a greater personal commitment to business goals

One of the most inspiring quotes I have read in the last few months came from Kevin Roberts, chief executive of Saatchi, who said that traditional forms of marketing are dead and that brands now need to focus their attention, investment and strategies on relationship building, live experiences and face-to-face marketing.

Live events are the way to the future! So says one of the gurus of marketing, and so say all of us...

Hugo Slimbrouck is a director at Ovation Global DMC

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