Event. Short word of no more than five letters. One could think there is not much behind it, but one could not be more wrong. It is a word of many meanings in different work fields, including science, technology, mathematics, even philosophy. In the end it still returns where we all know it best – it is a type of gathering. As we (iDMC and fellow readers) work in an industry where events take place daily, that is where we will continue about it. Some might argue E in MICE does not stand for events, but more likely for exhibition. I believe that exhibition itself is an event, but it does not work the same other way around. E as event covers more ground in this bellowed industry of ours.
If I only wanted to describe it, that would be that. But in MICE industry events are everything. As stated before, we are daily organizing, thinking of, talking about, crave for perfectly executed events. It is not as easy as it sounds. To do it right it takes a special group of individuals with a specialized leader and all of them have to pursue a single goal – a perfect event. And that is where I must be stopped, as there is no such thing as “perfect”. Not when it comes to organizing events at least. There is awful lot of things that can go wrong during an event. And we know what Murphy said: “If anything can go wrong it will”. So what do iDMC do in order to come as close to perfect possible?
We always set goals in begging and later we strive to achieve them. Next come event management. There is no need to try and make up a new definition, when we already have one to cover it all: “Event management involves studying the intricacies of the brand, identifying the target audience, devising the event concept, planning the logistics and coordinating the technical aspects before actually executing the modalities of the proposed event.” And last we pair that with our own EPM – event process method. With everything mentioned we round up our event and make it one to remember.
I wanted to show how we in iDMC do it. Experiences show we are on the right track, still being young, but growing DMC in Slovenia.
Before and during event it can be stressful. But when it is all over and we see how close to perfect we managed, when our clients are more than satisfied that is when it strikes us – it was all worth it.
That is how we in iDMC see it at least. What is YOUR way of doing things?
A while back we were presented with a challenge for a team-bonding program for 600 pax. The idea was to offer participants some sightseeing of Ljubljana before heading for dinner.
Since Ljubljana is small and charming you can imagine that it is not the easiest thing to find a venue that could seat 600 participants for dinner. But in Ljubljana everything is in walking distance so “dine-around” concept was accepted. This way participants got time to explore and feel Ljubljana despite their full schedule.
All we were missing now was a story that would go with it. iDMC’s team quickly remembered a famous Slovenian fairytale “My umbrella can turn into a balloon”. And so our fairytale journey around Ljubljana city centre began – it was fun in the making! Imagine your umbrella can transform into a balloon. And that you can make a hat that makes your dreams come true!
But 600 people on the same quest? At the same time? For us that meant 600 people from 11 different European countries, divided into 42 groups, starting on 4 different locations, visiting 3 different magic points and numerous variations of routes to that point and 10 different restaurants. You can do the math for logistics =)
Well prepared team and clear instructions were the key here. The energy we managed to establish between participants still amazes me.
The conclusion was in every way worthy of the adjective “fairytale”. We gathered all participants atop of Ljubljana Castle. Soon enough everyone was holding lit white balloons with a wish waiting to come true. The tension was building up and finally everyone released their balloon into the sky (yes, balloons were bio-degradable and as such environmentally-friendly) and enjoyed the party that followed.
One week ago iDMC’s Trainer teams went on an adventure. We visited Pohorje Adrenalin Park. It was both fun and educative and what matters the most – our bonds grew even stronger.
Adrenaline Park is a common form of incentive or team-building experience. But as we have experienced, only high-ropes program is just not enough, at least for team-building experience.
For that reason we have introduced low-ropes program before going sky-high. Those were exercises for communication, trust and team boosting. Those are the elements that are vital to master when one walks on a tree trunk 12 m above the ground, or when one waits for group to pull him 14 m in the air on the giant swing.
Adrenaline has rushed our bloodstream, but we all felt safer as we knew that we can trust our team and that our communication skills are great (before the event they were only good ).
Of course we did it iDMC way – as you may know, it is forbidden to take photos while one is climbing, not to mention how forbidden it is on a giant swing. Safety first! Of course we would not be iDMC if we did not do just that – made a forbidden thing allowed and possible. With a casual camera. It was not easy to convince safety instructors into this, but we did it. In a safe and exciting manner.
Participants were all very glad to be a part of that adventure, we all felt even more connected and we agreed that pursuing the common goal was a great experience. Also, trainers agreed that low-ropes are a must-have part of the program, as one is concentrated on himself or herself once he or she is 12 m above the ground. Then there is no time for team boosting or improving communication skills – that are the things that have to be done before and that is what distinguishes a good program from a great one. And we only make great programs.
As a meeting booker you want to make the best of the meeting as possible. Just another meeting room with a projector, flipchart & audio equipment will not do any more. Increasingly many booking seekers seek out unique and special venues to host their meetings. And it is more and more difficult to surprise them with something new. Meeting suppliers such as hotels must hence concentrate on how to surprise the guest/booker with its venue – which new breakthrough IT solutions it offers, how unique is the ambient, what is the “story” of the hotel. We have to think creatively how to incorporate this unique feature into the meeting area, to combine the idea with the whole meeting experience.
Also, the little details are the ones that matter with the booker. Individual touches, personalized tea & coffee breaks themed to the event, possibly a surprise entertainment during a break (mini musical performance in the garden).
It is important to understand and focus on the goals that the booker is trying to achieve from his meeting/event and to offer the experience of those goals through the whole meeting, weather it is a green idea meeting or any other meeting idea for that matter.
A great meeting organizer will make the guest enjoy the whole meeting experience so that they will remember that meeting for its unique stylish/futuristic/elegant venue for years to come.
Meeting business must be done responsibly. Bookers are more and more looking for a location that looks after economic, social, environmental aspects. Supplier must be true on all of these aspects as it can backfire hard if you use these ideas just for gaining profits or to manipulate the general opinion.
Finally, it is important to remember that you can not survive on your own in this business. You must incorporate the story of the location (Ljubljana, Slovenia) into the whole event to make it all so more memorable.
One of the advantages of working in MICE industry is having a chance to experience foreign countries and meet new people. Although this is a great pleasure, once this industry gets under your skin you never really stop working. You are always on the look for new opportunities, new destinations, new clients…
My recent travel was a business travel to Moscow. What gave the travel a special thrill was the presentation of Slovenian MICE and iDMC’s work to Russian Market. It got me thinking of how despite the privileges of modern world we still give great importance to personal contact. In a city that is more than 5 times more populated than your whole country it is hard to stand out. So we gave it all we have – our hearts.
From a very hearty welcome at the Slovenian Embassy in Moscow, to support of all participating partners, and finally quality Slovenian food that we smuggled through customs to offer our guests a genuine Slovenian taste – it was all designed to prepare relaxed atmosphere and show Slovenian hospitality.
I can say without the doubt we made every guest feel welcome and that we succeeded to present Slovenia to them. First responses we got tell us exactly that – thank you all for you emails and replies! That gives inspiration and motivation for the future to the whole team.
Moscow left a big impression on me. It is surely a city to experience. Moscow is a vibrant city but while we were away spring happened here in Slovenia. And hearing birds sing while stepping off the plane is a sure promise you are about to feel sLOVEnia!