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The ICCA Iberian community gathers in Sitges in an amplified format

The ICCA Iberian community gathers in Sitges in an amplified format

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Eric Mottard
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It is a classic meeting point in our industry, and a bit of a unique event: in the ICCA Iberian congress, competitors (congress centres and destinations mostly, with a few tech companies and PCOs) gather to share intelligence and information about clients. Yes, this is possible thanks to two things: a strong community spirit (built in those events especially) and the fact that these clients are mostly associations organizing rotating congresses, so once you hosted a congress you probably won’t see it again in quite a few years, so you can share information about it. This year’s meeting was in Sitges, and for the first time, gathered several chapters of ICCA: the Iberian chapter and the France-Benelux one. We attended, of course!

The event took place from the 6th to the 8th of March in Sitges, with the Meliá Sitges Hotel as a base for delegates, and sessions and events taking place in various of the beautiful places of the area. Rather than a detailed program, here are a few highlights:

Educating the future professionals

We especially like that: ICCA Iberian Chapter trains tomorrow’s talents, and usually gives an educational session for local students (you know we love the idea of local impact of events, here is one example!).

The school was the CETT UB. We had a two hours intensive class where we spoke about what we do in our jobs every day, all the different job positions you can work in this sector, how they can stand out the rest to find a job…. With all students asking questions.

Living the destination’s traditions

The first night, we were entertained at beautiful Clos La Plana. A modernist estate, surrounded by vineyards outside Sitges, where we could taste local wines, tasty traditional food presented in fair carts and of course, great local cavas. The appearance of a charanga (popular street band) from Vilanova and some capgrossos playing their marches and dances put literally everyone to dance and set a great starting point to the event.

The second night we had a dinner at PIC NIC with DJ Naara celebrating Women’s Day from 12:00 noon onwards.

The wine culture, and the venues and activities it offers

The Thursday program – the most complete day of education – took place in a very special setting: the Bodegas Torres, a pure local venue where delegates could enjoy breaks and lunch looking out to its beautiful garden… and of course where the program included a tour by the cellars and explanation of the cave’s history… ending in a wine tasting session.

Education about the key issues of the industry

On Thursday, various educational sessions covered key current issues of the industry as well as session where ICCA members just shared their experiences and knowledge (case studies are the best way to learn). In brief and dynamic sessions (10 minutes per presentation), we got to know how 4foreverything’s technology facilitates rendering and planning of spaces in events; how Amsterdam’s RAI implemented a solution for easy bike rental during a recent large congress, facilitating a sustainable experience; what lessons can be drawn from IFEMA’s experience of hosting the NATO meeting a few years ago; and what we can learn from Leuven’s convention bureau managed in collaboration with its university.

Also, since a key value added of ICCA membership is the access to its database and various tools, BCO Congresos explained how to make the most of the tools the association offers them (from influencer’s identification in a specific field, to a directory of meetings and events professional media…).

There was also a session dedicated to the opportunities of AI and how to grab them in our industry. And a complete session covering the key methodology of legacy management in congresses, as well as concrete case studies.

Finally, the event also included sessions dedicated to an ICCA classic: business exchange, where members share information and opportunities of specific congresses. A way to better know the needs and the potential of specific association clients, and therefore to be more effective in the bidding process.

Connecting (more) people

This year, for the first time, the event was being held in conjunction with the France-Benelux Chapter, which made the event an opportunity to share knowledge, networking and experiences among industry colleagues at international level. And enabled our northern friends to enjoy amazing Spain and Catalonia!

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