Do you remember when associations used to spend a lot of time picking the right location for their event? There were internal politics at play, rotation patterns to be considered, site inspections to be done. In the past year, however, we have completely moved away from them to ‘the world of ones-and-zeros’, while destinations and convention bureaus got forgotten. Or were they?
While we cannot speak for all, many event professionals certainly made an effort to engage with their original hosts in the digital realm. The real problem occurred when new events started emerging that were never planned to take place live. By then, more cities and CVBs started to feel the pressure.
The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID), was planning to hold its annual meeting in the city of Rotterdam at the end of May 2020. While COVID-19 was raging globally, the ESPID community found themselves busier than ever solving the COVID-19 riddle, while also having to make decisions about their meeting. The Kenes Group team stepped in and guided the association in these tough times, taking as much burden off their shoulders as possible. After the event dates were moved to October, it was decided that the event will go virtual.
The apparent question that occurred was: what will happen with Rotterdam? The event won't bring delegates to the destination, event halls and hotel rooms will be released. Still, Rotterdam had a meaning for the 36th ESPID annual meeting and the event had a special value for the city too – both for its subject and the city’s knowledge institute, the Sophia Kinderziekenhuis at the Erasmus Medical Center.
The Kenes team started an open communication with Rotterdam Partners, the body in charge of the city’s promotion, to explore what were the options to keep the destination at the heart of the event. Not only that but could it be reminded to the locals too that events continue to take place and engage with their destination?
Rotterdam Partners and the City of Rotterdam came up with a great idea on how to engage the local community. One of the city's landmark buildings positioned beside the iconic Erasmusbrug was branded with the ESPID logo and a specially designed tagline by the city, A Future for Every Child, complemented by the city’s own motto Rotterdam Make it Happen. This animation played out on a giant digital screen for a full two weeks, reminding the city that events continue and that Rotterdam was at the centre of it all.
The new reality is posing challenges for all stakeholders in the industry. In order to reinvent ourselves, we should collaborate and think outside the box together. It should not be the same old, or translated for virtual, but new, different, satisfying a new set of needs. Only through collaboration we will build the road to recovery.
Rotterdam Partners, the official destination marketing organisation and investment promotion agency, is proud of Rotterdam and is dedicated to moving the city forward. We focus on Rotterdam’s image and promote the Rotterdam region nationally and internationally. We open Rotterdam’s doors to future visitors, companies, residents and students and show them around our city. We enthuse and inspire them. We also convince them to visit, do business, locate their companies and hold their congresses in Rotterdam. And we encourage them to come here to live or study. Rotterdam Partners is consequently responsible for city marketing, acquisition marketing and works to develop a better business climate. This is how we strengthen the Rotterdam economy in the broadest sense of the term.
For over 50 years, Kenes Group has been creating success stories with associations around the world. We’re experts in helping associations reach their true potential by strategically building awareness, loyalty and satisfaction among current and potential members, as well as stakeholders. We harness the power of community, strengthen your association’s brand through unforgettable experiences, foster change, inspire members, educate and improve your association’s business performance.
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