The 5th MICE ME Forum recently concluded in Dubai and highlighted issues pertaining to the travel industry such as thought leadership and how technology has revolutionised the events sector in the Middle East region. Some of the speakers at the event share their thoughts with TravTalk.
Most of the speakers stressed on the importance of engaging the audience especially at events where they have to spend more time than allocated. Craig D’Silva, Head of PR and Corporate Communications, Infiniti Middle East of- fice, says, “The event gave you an insight to the role of events between the large corporations, small corporations, B2B and B2C spaces. More importantly it also shared a number of key insights that we have learnt, trends that we have seen working in the events space for the last few years with the rise of digital.”
The innovative Virtual Reality which is mainly taken for training purposes has many other areas that can be addressed. D’Silva reiterates, “It is really important for companies and organisations to understand that it is not just ticking the box by use of these technologies and innovations but rather evaluate and see innovations like Virtual Reality and other innovative technologies really impact your business. Are they really relevant to what you want to communicate? Are they relevant to the experience you want to give your audience; be it your consumer, media or the wider public and does it really impact that bottom line? If it does, then by all means use it and utilise it to increase the ROI. But if it doesn’t, definitely don’t use it to tick a box rather really see how it integrates with whatever your objectives are and how you are trying to communicate.”
In terms of trends in the region, macro-economic trends will continue to affect the region but this is an important time for brands across the region to take a step back and evaluate how to strategically use their resources for events, exhibitions, the rise of social media influencers and bloggers which play a crucial part on how and what you communicate to your audiences.
Paul Wilson, Executive Director for Planning, Business Development and International Relations, Index Holdings Dubai, shares, “We focus on the B2B component of the conference and exhibitions business. The buzzword that was used was ‘thought leadership’. I think its leaders and planning for the future not just expertise and knowledge transfer but its new ideas that we are taking forward so we spoke about importance of B2B and how bringing people together is the most important component when you have exhibitors and delegates that invest so much money and time.”
The company officially ventured into events and exhibitions in 1991 and annually they organise 26 conferences and exhibitions in the UAE. Among some of the trends in the region, Wilson states, “The conferences today are most solid trend we see is the delivery of content we see through apps. I think people don’t go to websites, they probably go to an app. For me the best in terms of an app are push notifications–it’s a very minor thing but it is very important. When people are there for three to four days they get caught up with other things and we can talk to them. Every person goes through their phone around eighty times or so, so if you have push notifications at conferences you will have much better mileage.”