17th July 2019
Our MD reflects on the recent industry forum hosted by C&IT in Madrid and explains why everyone wins when meeting face-to-face
Back for its second year, the C&IT International Forum took place on 5-7 June in the heart of the cultural city of Madrid at Pestana Plaza Mayor Madrid hotel. The event was designed with a blend of content, networking and supplier meetings designed to help give delegates the tool kit to exceed within the MICE industry. Aimed at senior event professionals from agencies, corporates and associations who have the spending power of £500,000 or more, the three-day event shared the latest trends, interesting, unique and practical content in addition to discussing industry challenges.
Our managing director, Charlie Hepburn comments on his experience:
Q. Why did you attend C&IT International Forum?
It’s always good to reach out to European partners and discuss international matters. We’ve delivered quite a few international conferences and client events in recent years and I wanted to share my experiences and hear from others about theirs. And, I was asked to be on one of the panel discussions.
Q. What did you think of the sessions?
There were some valuable sessions with sharing of insights, both statistical and current thinking. Delegates had a great opportunity to question and share their challenges and experiences which stimulated invaluable discussions. The State of the Industry in particular was a very good session with facts, figures and trends explained.
I would like to have heard more on ‘Justifying ROI of Events’. This is definitely an area where there is still much debate amongst the industry and has really moved towards evaluating ROE/ROX (return on experience). I would love for C&IT to bring in someone like John Maxwell who leads PwC's consumer markets. He has studied and shared findings over 10 years on this topic - click here to view the insight survey.
Q. How did you feel about the networking opportunities?
There were plenty of opportunities to see old faces and meet new ones. The seniority of delegates was high so I made some valued new connections. In addition there was a good allocation of down-time, which allowed personal relationship to flourish outside of a structured environments, as well as provide opportunities to personally discover a little more of Madrid.
Q. How did you rate the hosting venues?
We stayed at Pestana Plaza Mayor which had only been open for a few weeks – it still had that fresh out of the box smell. The hotel pays tribute to the work of weavers, embroiderers, blacksmiths, carpenters and potters.
It’s also a tribute to its original architecture, where every exposed brick on its walls bears the scars of history in a simple and natural way. The Telegraph Expert Rating gave it 9 out of 10 (click here for the review) and noted:
"The combination of historic building, prestigious location and elegant design make the Pestana Plaza Mayor one of the most interesting places to stay in Madrid. With a rooftop pool and an attractive courtyard restaurant, it is a true haven in the heart of the capital where you instantly feel part of the city".
Our first night was hosted at Platea, a former Cinema, which
boasts almost 6,000 square metres of event space arranged over two floors,
three galleries and a patisserie area – Europe’s largest gastro leisure space.
It is fast becoming the reference point for gastronomy and leisure in Madrid
and a landmark destination. Our reception was on the stage, usually frequented
by internationally renowned rock stars to Burlesque artists. We were then
escorted to Canalla Bistro Madrid, located on the first floor. This is Ricard
Camarena’s (Michelin-star, and 3 Repsol Soles chef ) most eclectic and
cosmopolitan restaurant where we were served traditional Spanish dishes that 'break the rules'.
Our second night was at Ramses – part restaurant, part club, part bar; located next to The Retreat (Madrid’s Central Park) which is the only gastronomic space in Spain entirely designed by Philippe Starck - think diversity and eclecticism. It’s a visually striking, dramatic space, full of silver candlesticks, throne-like chairs fashioned along familiar Starckian lines and cool contemporary chandeliers which are juxtaposed by graffiti-covered walls and ceilings. We were served elegant Asian-influence cuisine and the lamb was just incredible.
Q. What benefit do you believe this type of international forum brings to all parties?
So, to answer the question, does everyone win...
Meeting new suppliers and industry colleagues face-to-face provides an opportunity to build relationships - it immediately brings trust, transparency and is an effective way to develop mutual commitment. Going one step further and experiencing the product, venue or service introduces a level of emotional connection that you can't develop in the same way as with email, website, virtual tour or phone call.
Agencies tell brands the best way to forge relationships with consumers is by experiencing their product or service. It's exactly the same principle for the B2B environment, which is why publishers and industry events organisers such as C&IT invest in this type of forum.
For me, I now view Madrid as a very plausible alternative to Barcelona as an overseas destination for business. Having met the Madrid Convention Bureau team and experienced the city itself, I would certainly be happy to recommend this location to our clients.
Click here for more information about the Madrid Convention Bureau.
All images courtesy of C&IT