Felicity Long
Felicity Long

Are event planners boring?

When you consider that the concept behind holding meetings in interesting destinations is to add incentive for business travelers to attend, it’s surprising that the events themselves don’t always showcase the destination in an interesting way.

One problem, according to a recent study of 400 MICE professionals by London & Partners, London’s Convention Bureau, is that the industry is dominated by so-called left-brain thinkers, who tend to focus on the logical benefits to hosting an event in a particular locale.

In fact, fewer than 40% of respondents are right brained, creative types, according to a 30-Second Brain Test  used in the study, leading to a tendency on the part of the industry to downplay the emotional pull of the destination in question.

Of course, no one is seriously saying that left-brained thinkers are boring, and, in fact, a rational approach is a key ingredient in hosting a successful event. The idea, according to the study, is to bridge the gap between logic and emotion when putting together an event that will not only educate, but also wow attendees so that they will retain the experience and, hopefully, the key messages the event planners are hoping to impart.

“Ours is an industry within which logic and in-depth planning are absolutely critical to successful outcomes,” acknowledged Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism & major events at London & Partners. “Creativity and innovation are growing ever more important as clients demand event activations that set them apart from their competitors and deliver enduring memories for consumers.”

Event activations are generally defined as strategies that make the most of the event, from planning to on-site implementation.

Unfortunately, even those who do take a creative approach are often stymied by budget and time constraints, according to respondents of the study, which was conducted in partnership with MICEBOOK.com, a directory and management tool that links event buyers and suppliers.

Leonard Sommer, chief creative officer at SOMMER+SOMMER, the creative agency that developed the 30-Second Brain Test used in the survey, said: “To ensure an event leaves a lasting brand impression, event planners need to incorporate unique emotional experiences, both to make them memorable and to help overarching messages resonate.”

Inspired by the study, London Convention Bureau created a new business tourism campaign called Love the Event, Love the Experience, designed to lure event planners to London.

The campaign was designed to show off the glamor and appeal of the city while offering concrete tools planners can use to create a successful event. The Love the Event section includes links to more than 1,000 venues, for example, and touts how easily meeting goers can reach London from North America.

The Love the Experience section highlights the city’s four UNESCO World Heritage sites, its landmarks and culture, but also offers information on street art, film locations and dining options – from Michelin starred restaurants to food trucks.

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