CIM: You just launched The Glasgow Model. What is the idea behind it?
Ben Goedegebuure:For both Glasgow and the SECC the desire to form close professional partnerships within business has always been extremely important. As clients budgets have tightened over the last 18 months, we have been proactively working with clients to look for ways in which we can help them put on their events and deliver financial success. Globally clients have become acutely aware of the importance of delivering delegate numbers at conferences. From our point of view we felt that sharing the risk on attendance numbers was a confident collaborative approach on our part that underlines our desire to build lasting relationships with clients coming to Glasgow. Depending on the objectives set for a conference, the success of a conference is delivered through three components: the delegate experience – driven by such factors as content, the venue and destination and city experience; the financial success of the event and, directly linked to that, the number of delegates that attend. We are determined to support the client as much as we can on those issues that we can influence and provide the strongest support possible.
Providing marketing expertise and personnel, devising and undertaking direct marketing and social media campaigns are classical PCO-Services. How do you charge them?
We don’t. Marketing support has always been an important ‘value-added’ for association events coming to Glasgow. GCMB quickly are able to quickly mobilize a 360 degree marketing plan to increase international, national and local delegates to the event. A joint marketing strategy is devised together with the client (PCO) where we avoid duplication of effort and we complement the work done by that client. We agree an action plan and that plan is then implemented. These services are provided free and are part of our commitment to deliver success.
This ‘product’ is one of the many facets to The Glasgow Model; every event is different and the sales and marketing support we provide is bespoke in line with the event objectives.
How is the feedback of your PCO-Partners in Glasgow about the new Model?
Response has been really positive across the board; we consulted our industry network of PCO partners as part of the development of The Glasgow Model. PCO partners have the same desires as we have – that events are allowed the freedom to take place and make a tangible impact on business. The Glasgow Model supports this aim and we are confident more events will take place because of the initiative and others that are sure to follow our lead.
Another critical point is to cash subvention and a risk sharing in the venue price. Do you calculate this risk?
The Glasgow Model is based on the trust between client, the SECC and the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB). It is based on full transparency in terms of expected delegate numbers, financial commitment from the venue and subvention commitment and marketing support from GCMB. This combination creates a powerful collaborative approach towards success and builds a true partnership between the client and ourselves. Subvention and marketing support are key components of the cities strategy to bring in major conferences to Glasgow; again, each offer is bespoke depending on the objectives of the event. In addition to this we significantly ‘value-add’ in terms of city support, this could be through hosted receptions or themed social itineraries put on by the city.
What is a “poor delegate attendance”? Does it start at 20, 30 or 50%?
For us, a poor delegate attendance is one that does not meet the objectives and expectations of the organiser. These expectations may change depending on market economies or business climates, however we do feel that we have the location and accessibility as well as the attraction to increase delegate conversion for large meetings that come to Glasgow.
Did you already convince a customer with this new event product?
We have only just launched The Glasgow Model but are already talking to a number of potential clients about the concept. We have one client who has signed up on the basis of The Glasgow Model.
Do you know about a similar Model around the world?
No, this is fresh to market. It is a game change for the industry and will redefine client, venue and city relationships from here on end.
How did you hit on that Idea of The Glasgow Model (and the Partnership GCMB and SECC)?
One of the major characteristics of Glasgow is that it is a conference and events city, and one that has the infrastructure and experience to deliver big events. Glasgow and the SECC really want conferences and events and that is obvious from the day a potential client talks to us until the day they leave. This is built on a series of very strong relationships within events organisations within the city, and, a rock-solid relationship between the GCMB and the SECC. We meet with each other regularly, pitch for business and work together on promotional campaigns all the time. The Glasgow Model is one of a series of initiatives we’ve created together, but certainly one of our most exciting so far…