The roles of national convention bureaux in a changing business events ecosystem
Towards a diverse and multidimensional future
During the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone was in “survival mode” and as national convention bureaux, we focussed on providing help and information for communities and organisations to best tackle existential challenges and show up paths to recovery. However, what’s next?
No doubt, there will be future crises and disruptions coupled with constant, rapid change – all of which we will have to be prepared for. The Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe has therefore developed a shared vision of the convention bureau of the future to provide a roadmap to creating a resilient business events sector through collaboration with our partners and stakeholders. At its core, we identified key roles that will define national convention bureaux in the future.
National convention bureaux in transition: four key roles of the future
Exploring the future market and stakeholder needs that will impact on the roles and purposes of national convention bureaux (national CVBs), we have identified four crucial roles, which revolve around agenda setting and strategy provision for the events industry, facilitating connections between a wide range of communities and sector, providing expert know-how to all stakeholders and serving as communication platforms.
Agenda setting to drive the business events community forward
As strategists, future national CVBs will act as purpose-driven think tanks and innovation hubs for the evolving business events sector against the background of ongoing disruption, uncertainty and volatility. This involves evaluating and analysing the latest trends and influences on a global scale, and by translating these insights into business intelligence to catalyse innovation in the business events communities. A few areas are of particular importance in this context, namely the event industry’s shift to sustainability and carbon neutrality, incentivising our commitment to impact-orientation and legacy, providing guidance in the impending technology and data disruption of the coming year and pushing for improved social equity and inclusion in the sector and beyond.
Facilitating exchange between all event industry stakeholders
Given the accelerating change, solid networks and cooperation are key for providing added value to our community, which is where national CVBs as facilitators come in, building bridges, integrating and connecting a wide range of communities and sectors. Essentially, this means that we will be tasked with holding together and connecting the various sectors and stakeholders in and outside the meetings industry. By fostering dialogue and creating new network connections, across sectors and disciplines, national CVBs will be instrumental in the co-creation of new, multi-stakeholder solutions that benefit the entire business events landscape.
Expert input to add value to business events
Within the event ecosystem, convention bureaux have always acted as experts. However, this role will expand in future and involve becoming a specialist resource providing know-how and advice in a wide field of domains ranging from meeting design innovation to insights into changing customer behaviour. Given that our core goal is to demonstrate and promote state-of-the-art business events as a powerful solutions tool, we will have to make sure to continuously develop and refine our broad knowledge and expertise in the business events space.
Communication platforms to inspire innovation
To do all of the above effectively, national CVBs will have to step up their communication game. In fact, we think that in order to inform about new strategies, spark innovation and share the latest news relevant for our industry, future convention bureaux will have to adopt the functions of highly specialised media houses. In the sense of independent platforms that offer valuable information and create proprietary content to inspire their communities, they will grow to become trusted sources and providers of data, statistics, business and market intelligence. Crucially, this communicator role also involves providing relevant information to support life-long learning and skill development of event professionals with such “education hubs” becoming vital elements for the future development of the business events sector.
Ultimately, all these roles underline how diverse and multidimensional the world of convention bureaux has become. At the same time, they show a multitude of opportunities for us to create a resilient business events sector that is best set up to meet future challenges.