Dubrovnik June 2018 was the start of meeting nearly 390 approved buyers to the MICE sector - admittedly, our Executive Director Stuart Forrester could not meet all of them!
Over four intense days at M&I Forums Dubrovnik, we had 52 pre-arranged appointments with buyers from worldwide agencies like Helms Briscoe to corporates like Societe Generale and DHL Global Forwarding to specialist independent agencies. Every buyer profiled in advance to confirm they were in a position to discuss opportunities and their needs. We met the other 338 over lunch, during afternoon activities around the stunning destination of Dubrovnik and at the evening events (ok they were parties, but we did get an enquiry for a 400 pax gala dinner from a delegate not scheduled to meet us!). The entire programme was designed to maximise supplier/buyer engagement at every opportunity.
For HCCE, this was our first experience of this format having previously used exhibitions as our method for meeting new buyers. Without exception, the venues of HCCE were met with interest and varying levels of surprise that such a not-for-profit association even existed! The consensus of all the buyers was that clients and delegates were looking for an experience in addition to the core meeting objective for events, and HCCE venues could help deliver that objective.
For HCCE venues, we presented each of them equally but prioritised to the type of venue, location or event type the buyers had expressed a particular interest in from their profile - well, we only had 15 minutes with each buyer! For our venues, this event cost the equivalent of less than €600 each to be represented - less than the return fare cost of a plane ticket to Dubrovnik. And this is one of the associations' aims, to expand buyers knowledge of our venues in the most cost-effective way - freeing resources to use elsewhere in developing business.
So what's next? Well in addition to finding new contacts, we have now further strengthened our visible position and are looking forward to our next event - a roadshow travelling through Germany in July!