Experience the Future Conference

Author: Vicky Koffa with Remi Deve

The pandemic has threatened the very core of the meetings industry. Fact. Associations and destinations alike have responded to the best of their ability, learning new lessons with every new obstacle. Fact. Hidden opportunities lie within this worldwide ordeal. Fact. But is the world, and our industry in particular, looking in the right direction for these promising changes that everyone is talking about? Have conference destinations decrypted what delegates will be craving for once we are let out of our cages, what it takes to make travelling around the globe worthwhile again?

A common question after a meeting is “What was your conference experience like?”. Until recently, what the questioner wanted to know was whether the fellow attendee found the sessions they followed informative and varied, whether knowledge was shared adequately, and workshops produced innovative ideas. And of course if the experience brought new collaborations, new friendships… and if the serendipity factor was there for everybody to enjoy. This is why academics, scientists and experts travelled endlessly.

This knowledge economy was forced to reinvent itself because of the pandemic. Taking travelling out of the equation has admittedly opened vast digital possibilities for learning, but on the downside, it has made – for some – all this knowledge a bit sterile, lacking the excitement of sharing an experience in person while exchanging ideas. This is where the experience economy gains the upper hand and what the post-pandemic era of business events should focus on. In this regard, Christian Woronka, director of the Vienna Convention Bureau, confirms that: “An experience can elevate a convention or event, providing further dimensions and igniting greater creativity.”

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