Dublin. Business tourism leaders gathered together for the 1st Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO) Business Tourism Conference to discuss how collaboration between stakeholders can drive growth in the sector and increase market share internationally.
Under the theme ‘Collaboration Wins Business’ over 150 business tourism professionals met in the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin on March 7th 2013.It was the first conference of its kind to ever take place in Ireland. All major sectors of the industry, spanning venues, hotels, universities, convention bureaux and miscellaneous suppliers, were represented at the meeting, with the diversity of the audience key to examining and expanding the ‘Team Ireland’ approach that has been so successful in winning business for Ireland over the last number of years.
“The collaborative approach of the business tourism community is an example of how to genuinely make Ireland ‘an easy place to do business.’ By working together, we’ve been able to streamline our approach, allowing our clients to see a clear path between the initial concept to the delivery of the event”, commented Jean Evans, Chair of AIPCO. “We are one of the leaders throughout the world in bringing this collaborative approach to the fore, and getting the stakeholders in one room to discuss the issues and plan future strategies is vital in retaining and improving this position.”
The programme was designed to be highly interactive and a two-way process between the speakers and attendees; making it a practical day of education for the industry, about the industry.Beginning with one-to-one mentor sessions, the main pillar of the programme was a series of workshops with leading figures in the field, featuring the value that a PCO can bring to a client, case studies on approaches taken in different regions, practical difficulties in winning business and a focus on the changing role of the myriad of partnerships within the industry.
“Generating new ideas from the audience was seen as just as important as the dissemination of the current knowledge of AIPCO members and stakeholders”, said Susan Nolan, Vice Chair of AIPCO. “We need to constantly improve in order to remain competitive with our international rivals and it is through the people within the industry that we will do that. There is no point in building facilities, reducing red-tape and selling a value proposition if the people on the supplier side don’t understand the overarching goals and objectives or they don’t believe in them.”
The day was broken up with a team building event, created by teambuilding.ie, which saw the conference delegates take part in a mass harmonica playing event – a record for Ireland. It was part of the approach of securing industry leaders to engage with the delegates in attendance, with Fáilte Ireland the prime sponsors of the event.