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Human touch and disruptors discussed at ICCA debate

More than 60 event professionals descended on Manchester for the two-day annual debate

Pictured: John Guthrie from the British Hospitality Association

The human touch emerged as an invaluable element when dealing with industry disruptors at the annual ICCA UK and Ireland Chapter Debate at Manchester Central.

More than 60 event professionals descended on Manchester for the two-day annual debate, which focused on industry disruptors and adapting to change.

The debate kicked off with a session from keynote speaker and BBC journalist David Eades, who explored the impact of disruptors from his perspective as a frontline correspondent, including security challenges at the London Olympics and the introduction of robot news readers in Japan as a disruptive trend in his sector. Eades highlighted the importance of the human touch to provide a level of stability in the face of disruptive trends.

This theme was picked up by numerous speakers throughout the two-day event. In a session sponsored by Levy Restaurants UK, John Guthrie from the British Hospitality Association (BHA) discussed an industry-wide overview of the potential impact of Brexit on human capital for the industry, highlighting the importance of educating the next generation of ‘tweenagers’ as to the benefits of a career in hospitality.

Other highlights from the debate included an interactive icebreaker quiz by Green Hat People and a three-course formal dinner at Manchester Town Hall themed around Manchester – European City of Science. The dinner included a presentation from Manchester ambassador Vicky Rosin OBE, program director at the EuroScience Open Forum 2016.

Lesley Williams, ICCA UK and Ireland chapter chair and head of business tourism of Marketing Edinburgh, said: "Manchester Central was an incredible venue in an incredible city to host this year’s annual debate. We are very grateful to Manchester Central and Marketing Manchester for hosting our event and it was truly wonderful to see so many of our industry colleagues in one room.

“We had chosen to focus on a very relevant topic and every speaker gave an educational insight into how these disruptive trends are influencing the event industry so there was a lot to learn and take in for all of our attendees. We have had some fantastic feedback from attendees and the importance of the human touch in our industry was echoed throughout the sessions.”

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