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Interview with Rob Davidson – MICE Knowledge (2nd part)

This is the second part of the interview with Rob Davidson. As you all know he is the Managing Director of MICE Knowledge, a consultancy specializing in research, education and training services for the meetings and events industry. For 5 years he has been included in Conference & Incentives Travel Magazine’s  “Power 50” – the 50 most influential people in the UK conference industry.

His main areas of expertise are conferences and incentive travel, and he has written seven books on these themes, including his latest publication “Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences, Conventions and Business Events.

If you wish to grow your MICE Knowledge you can buy Rob Davidson’s latest book “Marketing Destinations and Venues for Conferences, Conventions and Business Events” and make your order in following PAGE.

Do you perceive a trend towards holding meetings and events in second-tier cities (for example, not Barcelona and Madrid, but smaller cities)?

Absolutely, yes. I think that this trend has arisen for various reasons – lower prices being one. Second-tier cities can be more attractive for conferences with smaller budgets. But there is also the fact that second-tier cities offer more ‘novelty value’ because fewer people have already visited them. For example, I am a very big fan of the Asturias region of Spain, and I think that cities such as Gijon have much to offer, as conference and incentive travel destinations. With the investment of more resources in marketing, that region could attract many more business events. As another example, I am very inspired by an initiative that I learned about when I attended IBTM World in Barcelona last year. Three neighbouring destinations, Olot, Girona and Lloret de Mar, are going to collaborate in their marketing. I think that this is an excellent initiative, and I hope that it will help these three beautiful destinations to succeed as they deserve to, in the business events market.

You are a strong believer that when people with a common interest share their knowledge, insights and ideas with others this contributes makes our world a better place and a more professional world. What has been your experience about this in the past years as a professional speaker?

I am frequently invited to speak at conferences, about conferences, and for me this is a great source of pleasure – and learning. I always have a lot to say at such events, but I think that it is also important to listen carefully, firstly to other expert speakers, but also to the men and women in the audience. Because they are the professionals who are working in our industry and who are constantly facing challenges in their work. They are a valuable source of information on trends and they often have innovative solutions to the challenges they face in their professional lives. At many conferences that I have attended, some of the most useful information I have learned has been from the participants, either in the auditorium or during the coffee and lunch breaks.

Last but not least: what is your suggestion to the MICE Industry? How can we increase business within the actual economic situation? What is the clue?

As a MICE professor, my obvious answer to this question is that MICE professionals need to invest in their own skills and knowledge, especially at a time when new challenges are emerging. Keep learning!  -partly from reading books, MICE magazines and blogs, but also from attending conferences where other MICE professionals are present. I know that all of these activities take time and money, but they are a solid investment, because we can all learn from other destinations, venues, PCOs, DMCs, etcetera. Most of us are facing the same challenges, but there are innovative solutions and techniques that can help MICE professionals to increase business – and you can learn about these by reading and by attending professional conferences, such as EMEC in Copenhagen this year.