Readers' Forum

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Deborah Cobb 02/08/2017 [74]

Time to forget the room block?

Hi. I wanted to harvest some thoughts about in-house accommodation services and whether it's worth the hassle? We run a annual meeting for around 2,000 people, but so many of them now book outside the block that it hardly seems worth it. We are finding it hard to compete, not just with airbnb, but last-minute booking sites that sometimes offer a better deal than we can. Ideally it would be good to have delegates in official hotels as it facilitates networking etc...but it might be time to accept defeat?

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Jane Noble 05/07/2017 [78]

Wanted: A second-tier city that can cope

I'm hoping someone can recommend a 'second-tier' or third-tier city that is small enough to feel intimate and cosy but big enough to cope with 4,000-5,000 delegates. We have tended towards major cities and capitals in the past, just because we know transport/venue/and accommodation will cope, but sometimes what you gain in convenience you lose in a sense of 'togetherness' that small cities can offer. Any tips? Thinking Europe, but open to suggestions...Thx.

Paul Swain of Rotterdam & The Hague Convention Bureaus 07/07/2017

Hi Jane, I quite agree that if you want to make a mark on a city, or feel you 'own' the city during your event, you do need it to be a certain size so you're not lost amongst everything else. Please feel free to contact me direct on and I'd be more than happy to see how Rotterdam & The Hague could work for your event. Being 25 mins from the major hub of Amsterdam Schiphol means you can still have great air access, a short transfer and yet open up two different cities that give you that 'togetherness'...
Look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah Fleming of Sarah Fleming Associates 07/07/2017

Absolutely! Second tier cities have all sorts of advantages. Depending on your requirements we have quite a few of our clients who might be able to help (Cork or Kerry in Ireland, Oslo, the new ICC Wales in Newport, 2m2c in Montreux to name a few...) Please email me the brief and I'll see what we can find for you

Sheila Geary of Visit Belfast 07/07/2017

Hi Jane - Belfast could potentially offer a solution to this. Not only are we welcoming a conference of a similar size next May, but we offer the compact, exclusivity that you are looking for.

We have two airports, are accessible from anywhere in the world by two flights, our main conference centre is set right in the heart of the city and are home to unique social options such as Titanic Belfast and Game of Thrones activities.

Please send me the RFP - - I would be delighted to take a look and see if we can put something together for you.

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ANON 30/05/2017 [1]

No one watched us!

We recently employed a tech firm to live stream our congress, but the number of live viewers we reached was woeful. There was a bit of debate about who was responsible for generating viewers, but we conceded that it was our responsibility. So, the question is, how do you generate this kind of traction? Any tips?

Miguel Neves of IMEX Group 09/06/2017

This is a common issue with many organisations taking on live streaming for the first time.

There are several possible reasons for the low viewer numbers, the most common is the potential audience does not know it is taking place. A well thought out marketing campaign may not be enough and the focus should be on long term communication. It may take several editions of an event for the streaming option to be embraced by the community.

The platform used should also be carefully considered with as low barrier to entry as possible in terms of registration required and high compatibility with mobile devices, computer software and sites that are not blocked in any particular region where the content may be viewed from.

The streaming content itself also needs to be well thought out. For live streaming there needs to be sense of urgency, uniqueness or something time specific to attract a large live audience. Celebrity speakers or unique moments work very well, but are not always available.Content that is valuable to only a small demographic such as a medical area of expertise may be better viewed on demand rather than live.

Finally the streaming content should be well though out and provide a fully immersive experience for the viewers. Many organisations use only a video feed of a live speaker on stage. This may work well live, but as a live stream it is unlikely to engaging. The best examples that I have seen focus on providing content from the stage, but also additional in depth interviews with key speakers or other types of supporting content. There may also be live chatting, depending on the video streaming platform used, that provide additional community engagement. Keep in mind that this too requires a strategic approach and dedicated resources for managing the engagement.

I hope that is helpful and I hope your next live streaming is more successful. Best regards, Miguel Neves, CMP

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Rex W Larimer Jnr 19/04/2017 [2]

Do I really need a DMC?

Interesting article in the April edition of AMI magazine about PCOs and DMCs, but I disagree with its findings. I have always found a PCO and a helpful convention bureau all you need to organise an event. In fact, we used to make do without a PCO! There seems to be a lot of third parties out there wanting a slice of the action, but organizing meetings is as complicated as you want to make it, in my experience.

Rutger Hoorn of Ovation Global DMC 21/04/2017

Hi Rex, being biased working for a DMC, I have to respond :) I think it all depends on the event. If you only use the conference or event space, you might be right, even though local DMCs might provide you with more beneficial rates as they have negotiated contracts with venues. But when it comes down to transportation, hostesses, restaurants, local specific services, having a local DMC involved can be key to overcoming local problems or challenges that are faced pre-event and during the event. It's a pity that the comment "wanting a slice of the action" has become a phrase more and more seen for third parties. Clear benefits of using a DMC are underestimated. And there are so many examples that can prove its importance. Again, in my humble opinion it depends on the program and content of the event.

Carling Dinkler of Custom Conventions 22/04/2017

A smart planner knows the worth of a DMC. I recently had a new client with zero trade show experience and was able to renegotiate hotel saving 8000.00 work with trade booth expert for booth optimization and coordinated offsite dinner for key customers all in all saved client enough to amortize event and exceed expectations. I call this a slice of heaven.

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Dr S Lund 08/03/2017 [348]

Association Congress or EAS

I'm torn between Association Congress in Vienna at the beginning of May and the European Association Summit, in Brussels, which I haven't been to yet, at the end of the month. Has anyone been to both?


Hi! I have been to both and could share my views if you want. Send me an email to
Have a great day!

Anonymous user 11/03/2017

I recommend reviewing the talks/breakouts/workshops of each, and see which are most relevant to the challenges you face and opportunities your association has.

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Anon, Glasgow 18/01/2017 [1]

Why can't we ask our members?

I don't want to name the specific destination, but our 2018 congress is due to be held in a city which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, not just terrorism. We want to support the city, but the board is split on whether or not to pull out now. I have suggested putting a vote to members, but the idea was dismissed almost out of hand. I don't see why? Have any of your readers put this kind of issue to their members - and with what results? I'd love to hear any examples.

Nicole Donnelly of IAPMA 03/02/2017

In the 2nd half of 2014, my association was set to have our 2016 meeting in Turkey, close to Istanbul. While the political situation progressed very rapidly there and we were forced to cancel for multiple reasons, the nomination process for our "substitute" location was put up to a general member vote-- for approval or disapproval, not for choice of venue. // The reason why your committee/board dismissed it out of hand is because turning over this vote in YOUR situation to the general membership is to open your governance to the general membership. That is not the reason why you are in a position of leadership, and it directly undermines your perceived authority and expertise. Your job as the board is to make informed, well-researched decisions. This means looking at (multiple) news sources outside of your own country to get a more balanced perspective. Yes, it’s a tough to reach consensus on such a matter, but the director/president/meeting director should be responsible to present the situation, with pro’s and con’s in DETAIL to the rest of the committee to either go forward or cancel. // If WAIT-AND-SEE (which is very difficult in terms of communicating in a timely fashion with your members) is recommended or necessary, there are ways to gracefully bend the truth while still communicating as much as possible with your members. //
My best suggestions are to consult with members, colleagues, or contacts residing IN that COUNTRY / CITY, and to consult with past board directors of your organization. See if anyone from WITHIN has had to deal with this before. It’s not as uncommon as you think.

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