The Meeting Industry

When talking about events, it is correct to speak of the meetings industry, by which we mean the organisers, suppliers and facilities involved in developing and complying with the request for congresses, conferences, trade fairs, exhibitions and other events of all kinds.

Just to give you its order of magnitude in a global scale, it is an industry that in 2018 generated an impact on global GDP of $1.5 trillion, equivalent to the 14th economy (Global Economic Significance of Business Events, 2018). Quite different numbers, however, if we consider these pandemic years. The Covid-19 emergency is significantly affecting the conference and event industry. According to the OICE (Italian Congress and Events Observatory), in 2020 in our country event venues suffered a 79% drop in turnover: 69,880 events were held in attendance, a minus 83.8% compared to 2019. The sector study is promoted by Federcongressi & Eventi, the national association representing the industry, of which Colloi Plus is a member.
In response to restrictions on in-person events, venues have promptly invested in technology to host hybrid events that involve a small number of people physically in the venue and an audience connected remotely. This is a compulsory choice, but one that penalises other stakeholders in the meetings industry, such as hotels, catering, suppliers, transport, etc.
In Italy, many companies operating in the meetings industry have responded promptly to the current situation and the changes taking place, renewing and integrating their offer, using new formats for digital events. Colloi Plus has also worked in this direction, developing new ideas that can be experienced comfortably and safely from home, but at the same time allow the promoting company to maintain relations and build loyalty with its customers, facilitate dialogue and new openings with prospects, and maintain contact and motivation with its staff. We have created experiences with different contents, such as beauty, astronomy, food & beverage, sport, financial updates, etc. for different targets, such as sportsmen, gourmands, women, family, children, etc.

Webinars and other virtual meetings are great for exchanging information. However, in my opinion, technologies could never overtake live events for several reasons:
– conviviality: we enjoy being together;
– human sociability: the desire to meet people with similar interests;
– curiosity: people love to discover, experience and be enriched by new experiences;
– emotions: live events offer the opportunity to establish authentic relationships.

Curiosity about new places, ideas and experiences remain powerful factors for meetings to continue to be, in the foreseeable future, the most natural way to connect, educate and bring together people with similar and complementary interests.

This moment in history is very hard, but I am glad to be part of the meetings industry: my job is to do my best to take care of people’s happiness and satisfaction.

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