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How is the event industry doing in other European countries?

How is the event industry doing in other European countries?

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Paula Rey
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We wonder whether the frenetic pace of the events sector in Spain is the same in the rest of Europe, whether virtual events are being organised or whether face-to-face and XXL events are back on the rise. That's why we decided to talk to four European agencies from Italy, Sweden and Germany, taking advantage of their visit to Madrid for the Madrid Agency Forum, a promotional event organised by the Madrid Convention Bureau. Despite the distance, we discovered that the situation is very similar. Do we also share the same trends?

In the fourth edition of the Madrid Agency Forum, a special promotional event to encourage meeting tourism in Madrid, organised by the Madrid Convention Bureau, 27 agencies from 8 European markets took part (you can see them in the photo). To find out how the events sector is doing in other countries compared to Spain, we spoke to four of these participating agencies: OttoQuattro Eventi (Italy), 2022 Event & Project Management GmbH (Germany), MICE Portal GmbH (Germany) and HUMMINGBIRD MEETINGS & EVENTS (Sweden).

In Italy the rhythm of events is quite frenetic

After the Pandemic there was an increase in the number of events in Italy, companies have also resumed organizing events for their customers, leads, and employees, planning events such as company dinners, anniversaries, awards, and celebrations. “There has been a return to convivial forms of events based on personal presence, to experiencing together a moment of sharing with colleagues and friends”, says from OttoQuattro Eventi. The future will be more hybrid than today? “In the next future, we believe there will be a hybrid formula where, however, the in-presence part will give participants something more than the virtual part”, according to Andrea Tosato sales and marketing manager of OttoQuattro Eventi.

Big events are back in Italy

For Andrea Tosato big events are back and they are the undisputed stars of the 2023 summer season. Small and medium-sized events have taken on a key role, but also the chance to pamper themselves. Small events are boutique experiences created on the needs of a small group of people who can get together and share a common passion. “More and more people contact us to create small events throughout Italy and abroad”. “More and more people contact us to create small events throughout Italy and abroad”.

In Germany: backlog demand and last minute

From 2022 Event & Project Management GmbH, Tabea Maryam Dallwitz tell us that since the pandemic it is quite noticeable that people have a backlog demand, yhe so-called “silly season”. They are back to pre-pandemic standards by now and that has been the case for quite a while already. Tabea alert about a problem that we suffer in Spain too, the last minute:. “many requests come in at much shorter notice than it was the case 4-5 years ago”.

The possibilities of virtual events

Most of the events in Germany take place in person. “Nevertheless, the sudden and forced shift to the virtual world has ensured that the possibilities and advantages of virtual means for various events have been recognized and firmly anchored in our daily event routine. However, I believe that many people still prefer to meet in person and that virtuality can and will never replace that” according to Tabea Maryam Dallwitz, 2022 Event & Project Management GmbH.

For Susanne Neumair, product design at MICE Portal GmbH, face to face events is making a comeback, but virtual events still have a notable presence because the pandemic showed that virtual events offer convenience and accessibility to a broad audience. “The future will likely be more hybrid, combining in-person and virtual elementsto cater to diverse preferences and ensure maximum reach. As events move towards a more hybrid approach, this international dimension will enhance inclusivity and global reach, enriching the overall event experience for all”.

There are more events happening in Sweden than ever before

The enthusiasm for organizing and attending events has reached new heights as people are eager to reconnect and engage in real-life interactions after a long period of limited social activities, according to Ellen Källgren, Humming coordinator de HUMMINGBIRD MEETINGS & EVENTS. “We also see that many of our clients are struggling to get their coworkers back to the office again and can confirm that a great well-planned conference or event can help them change this”.

In this Swedish agency they are mainly organizing face-to-face events and they consider that the future of events will primarily focus on face-to-face events as people reconnect, network and engage more in real-life interactions. “For us at Hummingbird it can be everything from 25 people up to thousands of people and the bigger events has definitely come back and are here to stay”.

The sustainability is the trend number 1

As in Spain, we are happy to discover that sustainability is the number 1 trend (and concern) in events.

Sustainability is demanded by customers for Ellen Källgren, Humming coordinator at HUMMINGBIRD MEETINGS & EVENTS. “An increasing number of companies are seeking genuine experiences and many companies are prioritizing making the journey sustainable and environmentally friendly”.

From Italy, Andrea Tosato, sales and marketing manager at OttoQuattro Eventi, agrees that customers are asking for more sustainable or green activities and experiences.

Sustainable practices have become a dominant trend in the events industry in Germany. “Clients and attendees are showing more interest in environmentally friendly event solutions, such as waste reduction, sustainable venues, and carbon offset initiatives”, according to Susanne Neumair, product design at MICE Portal GmbH.

From 2022 Event & Project Management GmbH, Tabea Maryam Dallwitz talks about sustainability, not only in the ecological but also in the emotional sense. “Among other things, we live in a paperless office (“think before print”), business trips are mainly made by train and if it has to be a car or van, we stick to a self-imposed speed limit of 120km/h maximum. At events, we face up to our ecological responsibility by focusing on regional service providers who also pay attention to a seasonal and regional selection. When we need decorations and/ or furniture, we either rent them or buy them in such a way that they can be reused for other events”.

They add other trends: to fuse tradition with spectacle, creating wow moments linked to memories, and traditions of the area. For Andrea Tosato (Italy) the keyword for a successful event is ‘experience’: the guest is not a mere spectator but must experience something first-hand, an emotion, an experience that will be unique and linked to that specific event. Additionally, incorporating technology to enhance attendee engagement, personalization, and data analytics has been a key trend driving event success.