‘Business etiquette on social media: authenticity vs professionalism’: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Authenticity is a widely used word in the business world. Companies strive to be perceived as authentic and human, but being authentic also means being ready to show vulnerability. In recent years, authenticity has become such an overused word that it diminishes its meaning in the business context; after all, do companies really need to be authentic? How can they be authentic? What does it actually mean for a company to be authentic? Do the companies need to be authentic or do the people working there make the company authentic? 

To set this topic strait and clarify these questions, we hosted an #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 16 September discussing authenticity vs professionalism on social media and asked our community how they define authenticity and when authenticity crosses the line and stops being professional.

How do you define authenticity in the business context? Who should be authentic: the company, the experience or the person/team running the company/event?

According to Valerie Wagner, blogger and podcaster at Hotel O Motion, ‘The people can be genuine and authentic and not companies. But above all, the representatives of a company should be authentic. People buy from people.’ According to Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog and Event Planners Talk, ‘Both companies and employees can be authentic. From the company’s perspective, they can do good, contribute to societies, economic development etc.; for example in regard to social enterprise, sustainability and corporate social responsibly.’ 

Valerie added that ‘it’s always the people behind the accounts. They should also show their faces. Often you write to a company, but you can’t address anyone directly because you don’t know their name. The company needs a face, and that is (mostly) the social media team. Social media shouldn’t be used just as a sales channel, and instead, event planners should appear human—that means keeping the community in view rather than just wanting to sell.’

According to Sabrina Meyers, founder of the YouTube channel Hot Hospitality Exchange and Managing Director at Orchid Lily Events, ‘Everything you mention should be authentic because if you’re authentic in one area and not another then there’s no consistency, and then it will seem that you’re not really authentic.’ Katrin Lüthy, Founder and Green Event Specialist at Green Event Planner agency agreed, ‘Authenticity is key in marketing. If you want to get people excited about a product or an event, you have to tickle their emotions.’

Lisa Chuma, Founder of the Event Creators Academy, shared that it’s the company that sets the tone for authenticity, ‘Being able to openly communicate who you are, what you do, what you stand for and what makes you unique either as an individual or company is authenticity. The company needs to be authentic to attract and work with authentic people and teams. The company sets the tone.’

AirLST, an online management system for events, shared that ‘Authenticity in the business context means combining motivation and storytelling with transparency and pragmatism. If the people who make up the company, the management and the team act authentically, the experience will also be authentic.’

Irina commented that ‘It begins with a story—why you do this, the mission, purpose behind the business or the event. You should live and breathe it every day, making actions speak louder than words. For companies, their WHY is their DNA, and actions of employees should be aligned with a company’s purpose; then, both the company and the team come across as authentic. 

According to Johnny Martinez, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Shocklogic, ‘Authenticity is when you are true to your values. When you meet someone who is able to walk the walk and talk the talk, and it gives you the feeling that you can trust them.’ 

What do you think is the best approach for #eventprofs: post as a personal account, or post as a business from a corporate account, or both, and why? 

Katrin highlighted that having a good mix between both personal and professional accounts is a good strategy. That way, the person seems approachable while not oversharing.’ Lisa also highlighted the aspect of approachability and that ‘People do business with people. People want to connect with people. So if event planners can post as themselves using their personal account in a professional manner, they can cover both channels in an authentic and strategic way. It shows they are human and makes them approachable.’

According to Valerie, ‘If a person is a company’s ambassador, they can post from a personal account. Then, however, the rules that apply to all influencers apply in this context, meaning that the ambassador/ influencer should feel comfortable with that and stand 100% behind it. It brings nothing only to share content.’ 

Sabrina suggested that it depends on the objectives of the personal branding strategy. She keeps business and personal areas separate because the focus is on MICE, whereas personally, it could be unrelated and not relevant content. Calgary TELUS Convention Centre shared that they believe that it can be both because they think it’s very important to make companies more human, more approachable, and social media is a great tool for this. Valerie agreed that it’s a mixture; otherwise, social media makes no sense and added that companies not only should post but also share and like other posts. 

Becky Dempsey, Programme Account Manager at The Collaboration Company, added that she thinks it depends on what you are trying to achieve, ‘Generally, I think corporate accounts are more information led, whereas personal accounts can be more involved in deeper debate and discussion.’ Johnny also highlighted the importance of personal opinion and the role of influencers, who ‘are people, not companies. If your game is to create and drive influence, then definitely post as yourself (or at least your super persona).’

Irina said that it’s good to have both, but split and adapt the content to each channel, ‘Key company insights should be shared on the company account, and this channel can also offer customer support. Perhaps it is also good to say who’s behind the company account to make it more personal. On personal accounts, the person can share about attending events, speaking engagements etc.’ 

How can brands/ #eventprofs showcase their personality and be authentic while remaining professional? What is not appropriate to share as a business or a businessperson on social media? 

Valerie suggested that very private things should not be shared online, ‘Holiday pictures on LinkedIn are inappropriate, and the community on LinkedIn is also often vocal about it. Content must fit the target audience and channel. Companies and individuals should always ask the question “How do I want to be perceived?” That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t even share personality, but not (example!!) new-born photos during the first steps. Nobody is interested in this in a business context.’ ‘LinkedIn became much personal in the last couple of years’, suggested Katrin, ‘in a way that there‘s now a facebook-y tone to a lot of posts, which is a bit weird.’ Irina thinks that LinkedIn became more personal in a way that people post more things related to the causes they support and to raise money for charity, but also sharing stories such as getting married or getting kids to promote parental leave or equality. ‘It’s very tricky how these things will be perceived by colleagues and clients.’

Katrin continued, content aside, ‘I think frequency is key. I‘m following marketing professionals who use their business accounts to post “Time for coffee“ or “In dire need of a cookie“ five times a day… it‘s a.) not interesting and b.) pretty annoying. There is no value added for the audience. People follow professional accounts because they want to learn or discover new things for their business.’ 

Irina commented that ‘in order to let the personality shine, both people and companies need to be approachable because that’s what social media is about! Like, comment, interact with fellow event planners. I think that both business accounts and personal accounts should respect the time of their professional audience and share relevant information to the industry and the business context’. 

For Sabrina, it has to be relevant and content related to her focus, which is showcasing her experiences as an event planner on venues, hotels, shows, destinations and suppliers. And how she delivers that content with effect, humour and personality makes it authentic.

Calgary TELUS Convention Centre listed the following aspects that are important to showcase your personality as a business. First, be human! Show the personality and the faces behind your brand, the people that make your company great. Second, apply a conversational approach because it’s a great way to showcase personality and to be authentic. And lastly, form real connections, know your audience and interact with them.

When does authentic stop being professional? 

According to Irina, authentic stops being professional when ‘It misses the context of the hashtag or discussion, when it goes for the “sale” instead of trying to engage in a meaningful discussion and when the online persona doesn’t correspond to the offline persona.’ Sabrina suggested not to use offensive language, try to be diplomatic and open minded to see topics from both sides and don’t blatantly copy others.’ Becky added to this that it is important to ‘not to try too hard to be funny/topical/ and on “trend”, then it stops being authentic.’ 

It’s clear that what came from this discussion is that trends are a favourite ‘playground’ for brands to use to express their voice and shine the spotlight on their authenticity. But that should also be used with caution. Valerie said, ‘Being trendy is a good keyword! Sustainability, for example: it feels like all the companies in the world are suddenly sustainable. Why? Because the hashtag is just climbing well or because they are really doing something about it?’ The key to authenticity is to use the hashtag and talk regularly about sustainability, but not because it’s trending at a certain moment. 

Authenticity is associated with storytelling, knowing your ‘why’, having a clear vision and leadership style and being true to yourself. How can #eventprofs maintain and strengthen these values when their business grows, their needs change and the industry evolves? 

Robert Kenward, Chief Talent Officer & Co-founder at YOU search & select commented that the ‘Problem here is that most agencies don’t really know what they stand for themselves. Marketing push out some culture/value buzzwords, maybe a bit of training, but they don’t really live and breathe it, so why would their teams?’ 

Authenticity can be regarded as a buzz word in the business world that is used in presentations and marketing material. So, as Robert suggested, in order to make it real, brands really need to live and breathe it. Robert continued, ‘Authenticity is really just being truthful and honest about who you are, what you stand for and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s the brands that try to please everyone that fail miserably.’ Irina added, ‘Actions speak louder than words. Show what you do and how you evolve as a brand/company. With growth comes going out of your comfort zone, so show how you adapt to new environments or situations and the transition you go through. Change is an opportunity to stand out.’ 

Katrin shared that from a personal branding point of view, it’s recommended to ‘pick 2–3 topics you‘re passionate about and run with them. If you want to stay authentic, you can‘t share everything under the sun and expect your followers to get you. Hence, my focus on sustainability.’ Sabrina added that ‘If you stick to your personal brand values and message, then despite the changes, you’ll adapt and react accordingly. Social media is a platform and one that is constantly changing, so it’s really about educating yourself constantly on how to continue to deliver the content.’

Valerie highlighted the importance of being open to other opinions and not just your own, ‘Showing attitude on the net is difficult for many, also because one must always count on the fact that others also write their opinion and perhaps do not like it. You have to be open to other perspectives and show a want to enter into dialogue, not to convince but to talk to each other. Agree to disagree.’

Do you think that being too professional stops #eventprofs from being authentic? How can event planners find the right balance? 

Irina commented that ‘having an opinion is very important, such as being in the position to make a recommendation and take a quick decision. That will be both professional and authentic because it’s based on personal recommendation and experience.’

Both Robert and Sabrina agreed that ‘you can never be too professional—the only downside is that you can come across as boring rather than unprofessional.’ Sabrina added that ‘The most important thing is finding the balance between delivering what you know (content) and who you are (personality) professionally.’ 

Katrina and Sabrina empathised the importance of personality, ‘You can only have an engaged audience if your content is authentic and relevant to them. They need to get it and get you, otherwise they are not who you want following you in the first place. It’s important to know the person behind your live marketing vision (the event planner). What decoration does the event planner like? It‘s not like we‘re selling insurance—a personal touch is important in the event business, and here’s where the personality comes across.’ 

Strategies for finding the right balance between generating PR and profit for events: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Events cost a considerable amount of time and money to produce. Therefore, it’s necessary to define clear objectives and how to achieve them. Very often, events have two main objectives: generating either PR or profit. If the event can achieve both, it’s a phenomenal success and means that the event has the right strategy in place, committed partners and sponsors, a strong community, engaging content and an effective speaker programme. These factors will help create a long-term PR strategy that can generate profit in a sustainable manner. 

It is not easy to find the right balance straight away, and before generating profit, a strong PR strategy should be in place. To clarify this area and receive more input on the overall approach regarding whether events are designed to generate PR or profit and how to balance both, we put out the question to our community during the weekly #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 9 September 2019, insights of which we want to share with you in this article below. 

Do you think that events are generators of PR or profit and why?  

According to Valerie Wagner, founder of Hotel O Motion, ‘Events should have the goal of enabling networking and meeting the goals of the participants. As a visitor to a trade fair, I want to see what’s new; as an exhibitor, I want to present myself, what I’m doing and how my products and services are perceived by interested parties. Profit can be a goal, but in my opinion only in the 2nd step. Before someone purchases, there are many touchpoints; therefore, events should combine PR and profit in a pleasant way, but have their own goal: to bring together a group of people with common interests.’

According to LeAnna Toups-Bennett, project manager at the Louisiana Department of Education, ‘Any profit generated from an event is secondary. A planner/company must first consider the overall goal of the event. Ultimately, in most cases, I don’t think that is to generate one-time profit. The goal is to create lasting touchpoints that generate revenue over time.’

Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog and Event Planners Talk, suggested that events can be both! Ideally, events generate PR and profit at the same time. They should begin with the purpose and the ‘why’ the event is needed in the first place. When the goal is clear, it will be easier to achieve the set objectives and get all stakeholders on board. Calgary TELUS Convention Centre added that ‘A well planned and executed event can generate both PR opportunities and profit. What is important is to define clear goals and expectations for the entire team involved. Strategic planning is key!’ Johnny Martinez, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Shocklogic, also recommended looking into 3- or 5-year legacy plans.

According to Event Marketing Stars, a B2B events marketing agency with a focus on monetisation, events should generate profit, ‘All events should aim to make a profit, even if it means tracking Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for leads joining it. Events have associated costs, so in order to assess ROI, you need to aim to make them profitable for the company.’

What forms of PR can #eventprofs use to promote an event? (e.g. press releases, influencer marketing)

According to Valerie, it’s necessary to, ‘Talk about it everywhere, use influencers, blogger relations, cooperations, press releases, social media, own reports in print media, podcasts, videos, Facebook and Instagram Lives, comments. And also encourage the audience to be the ambassadors and advocates. Testimonials on the event landing-page are also essential.’ Irina also added the possibility to share testimonials on Instagram Stories and capture screenshots of comments and engagement with the event. Because they disappear after 24h on Instagram Stories, it’s recommended to save them in the ‘Highlight’ section on Instagram. Valerie added that organisers should determine where they want to direct the traffic from all PR activities and always add the link. Valerie also recommended Google My Business, where it’s possible to share events and get and show ratings. 

LeAnna shared that she will add social media posts, which can be guided and focused using challenges and specific hashtags. Free PR is the best! She also asks her speakers to plug the event on their social media and webpages. This approach places the event on the radar of other speakers for future opportunities. Calgary TELUS Convention Centre added to the above that ‘Video is a key format for any of these PR efforts.’, and Irina emphasised the importance of content marketing and influencer marketing as the key activity, ‘Content should be produced daily for key social media channels, combining both traditional PR such as press releases and email marketing, with all the new methods, such as influencer marketing.’ 

How to find the right balance between PR and profit without compromising the content of the event, so it doesn’t become too salesy?

For Valerie, authenticity is important. It is to be understood that a company or individual doesn’t just do the event for no reason‚ but that everyone needs income to live. Therefore, it is important that the company or individual doesn’t lose sight of their why they are involved in the event and their goal, ‘Stay true to yourself and your brand, your message and focus on your target group.’ According to LeAnna, price transparency is key, ‘Set ticket prices and stick to them. There is nothing salesy about a published price list.’ 

Calgary TELUS Convention Centre added the importance of storytelling and experience design for the right balance, ‘Giving great and authentic reasons to engage through storytelling and event experience design.’ According to Irina, ‘It’s important to communicate and stick to event objectives, so everyone knows why they are attending the event. Educational content and sales should be clearly separated because each has its place during the event.’ 

Pauline Kwasniak, digital marketer, writer, speaker and event planner at TurnedSee and Mbooked emphasised the importance of having the right partners, ‘That is challenging but having sponsors that reflect your event ethos and vision is key. If the sponsors genuinely fit with the event, it won’t become too salesy.’

According to Johnny, ‘Organisers have to be true to their resources. Sponsorship or in-kind partnerships are often useful, while it serves everyone’s interests. Content shouldn’t be a function of ticket and stand sales. Be bold and be transparent.’

How can #eventprofs maximise PR opportunities before, during and after an event?

According to Valerie, newsletters are the most important because they go directly into the mailbox. Therefore, subscribers should receive the latest information first! Additional opportunities include, ‘Addressing the right people, activating the network, doing live reports from the event, promoting interaction, establishing a hashtag, and making ‘talking about it’ as a kind of rule. This could be encouraged, for example through ‘Twitter walls’, where (almost) everyone wants to be seen. Also, you can do live streams of presentations during the event on social media and have a photo box on site. When the event is over, you can do more press work.’  

According to the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, before the event, it’s necessary to take time in building the community and creating content that makes the audience care and engage. Organisers should be able to answer the following questions: ‘Who are your activators? Who’s in your tribe?’ During the event, it’s necessary to create those AHA moments that will make people engage and share. Have interactive sessions, create a hashtag, engage in the conversation live.’ After the event, ‘Give attendees a reason to stay connected. Create value content pieces around the experience, create Facebook albums, send a post-event email, post your pictures on social media and encourage sharing and tagging. Anything is possible in our digital world!’ 

Pauline highlighted the online channels to maximise PR opportunity, ‘Online, online, online. Make sure you also have activation campaigns during the event (various photo booths, cool gadgets, interactive walls) because that will give YOU LOADS of content to later maximise PR. Pauline also mentioned having a long term approach ready by offering loyalty schemes.

Irina sets the focus on community engagement and content marketing, ‘The content should be visual, and when possible use photos or videos from previous events. During the event also lots of visual material combined with text, sharing micro content from main sessions etc.; encourage the attendees to use the hashtag and share their experience online. It’s recommended to run a ‘challenge’ and guide attendees regarding what to post. And lastly, combine both short and long forms of content, with the post-event period focusing on long form, such as a full session recording or a blog article, and repurposing it regularly as shorter pieces across social media channels.’ 

How can #eventprofs generate higher profits from running an event?

According to Valerie, it’s about setting ticket prices and calculations in advance, including early bird tickets and increasing prices as the event approaches. Early birds get the best rates. The closer to the event date, the higher the ticket price. An additional revenue stream is from sponsors. Something that is not used often in events but that is also an option is affiliate links, when people purchase a ticket through a link, and the seller receives a commission. Irina added that presenting a strong brand and having scarcity can allow organisers to charge premium prices.  

LeAnne also mentioned the importance of offsetting costs that as a result, can also lead to higher profits, ‘I also think finding partners whose brand aligns with the events helps to offset costs. Find a partner to sponsor technology, or a meal, etc.’ And don’t forget to add experiences to offer attendees more value, ‘Participants will almost always pay more when an experience is included in the ticket price. Do something local and unique to the area the event is in.’

The fundamentals of event design that will guide #eventprofs to deliver more impactful events: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Event design is a hot topic this year. It’s good to see that more and more event planners and clients are recognising the importance of event design and approaching their events from this perspective. An event entails more than the logistical part of booking the infrastructure. It’s important to define ‘why’ an event is needed in the first place as well as its purpose. To get to the depth of the subject, we hosted an #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 2 September 2019, and in the following post, I want to share with you what our wonderful community has to say on the topic of event design. 

Let’s start from the basics: What is event design? 

According to Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog and Event Planners Talk, ‘Event design is looking at each individual aspect of an event to visualise how attendees will interact with the event and their journey. It’s carefully choosing the elements that will complement each other to design a seamless experience for attendees.’ 

Becky Dempsey, Programme Account Manager at The Collaboration Company, shared that she ‘always seen event design as the venue, content, format, layout and atmosphere that all goes into communicating your message in the best possible way.’ 

For Pauline Kwasniak, digital marketer, writer, speaker and event planner at TurnedSee and Mbooked, event design is ‘a visual strategy of an outlook, schedule and the whole concept of an event. It includes everything from marketing, plan, policy, speakers, objectives, wishes to suppliers. For me, event design is a strategy to deliver that event with all aspects.’ 

Valerie Wagner, founder of the Hotel O Motion blog and podcast, shared that for her, it’s ‘the interaction of all actors with a focus on the goal/result of the event. How can I design an event? How can I convey the message? When participants are asked after the event what that event was about, what should they say? Around these aspects, the event will be “designed”, using all means of communication at one’s disposal.’ 

LeAnna Toups-Bennett, project manager at Louisiana Department of Education, shared that ‘Event design is all factors of an event that, when combined, portray the event’s brand, purpose and mission.’ 

Robert Bagust, Worldwide Congress Manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb, emphasised the importance of having a purpose, ‘It’s starting with “purpose”. You cannot think about (event) design until you know what it is you are trying to do. Perhaps you are trying to solve a business challenge; an event is just one option to consider…nail this clearly, then comes design. For the event design phase, it’s about putting into place all the required elements to help you achieve the objectives you’ve set out… the design is then “everything”…’

Robert Dunsmore, Freelance/independent Creative Director, added that one of the important attributes of event design is culture ‘The culture, idea platform, voice and personality of your event—everything else is just infrastructure.’

Event experience design is all about your audience: What do you know about them? Where’s the research? Where are the data? How do you build evidence-led concepts?

According to Becky, most of her information comes from feedback from previous events and sometimes focus groups in the planning stages to take what is necessary to build the next event. She has found event apps to be really useful to track ‘on-the-day’ views and tweak concepts in the moment. 

Pauline shared an article where she discussed this topic in detail, explaining how to create customer personas. She notes that when creating customer personas, it’s necessary to consider more than customer demographics. This approach includes behavioural patterns, causes customers care about and places they like to visit. Most importantly, however, from the event marketing point of view, the organisers need insight into their spending patterns and free-time hobbies. To create a complete customer persona, the organisers need to collect data on many various areas, including age, gender, material status, religion, nationality, city, language, job function and description, social media use and much more. To see the full list and learn more about the topic, you can read the full article here.

LeAnna also places high emphasis on data, and shared that ‘we collect data, such as detailed demographics, on the frontend of events. On the backend, we analyse the demographics data in comparison to session attendance numbers and look for trends.’ 

Irina shared that she is able to collect data from what her audience shares online, combined with what they post about online from live events. Further, she follows other discussions from industry associations and collects direct feedback, which she then uses to develop event concepts that are most suitable to the audience and their needs.

But is it good to rely on past data? What if some of that data has a ‘sell-by date’? In other words: Is there a specific trend that is no longer considered desirable or effective? In certain industries, the change is not particularly fast, and certain concepts need to be demonstrated to be viable over a couple of months, and even years. Not all stakeholders will be ready to implement the latest trend immediately because it’s considered ‘in’. Robert D. commented that ‘Event planners should be more ambitious at the design stage by using a workshop format or “discovery” format at the beginning to scope out the event—issues, ideas and deliverables.’  

In times when live and digital merge, how can #eventprofs transfer a live experience into the digital space using the principles of event design? 

Pauline recommended incorporating a lot of user-generated content into events by designing Twitter walls, photo booths, selfie-stations, Twitter competitions during the event etc. This approach will lead to generating a substantial amount of content from attendees. Valerie added to this and emphasised the importance of videos and/or sound bites from the audience, in podcasts or blog posts, which should convey more feelings and authenticity rather than only ‘marketing talk.’

Robert D. commented that this aspect comes back to ‘know the audience’, to elaborate event design for those having a live experience and those having an online experience— this is all part of the design. Irina recommended ensuring that the content is more visual—through photos, videos and creating visual storytelling that will take the customer on a journey. In this process, it’s also important to place emphasis on pre- and post-event communication and community building. 

In order of priority 1–5, what aspects do you consider the most important when it comes to event design? 

The answers presented an interesting mix of ideas and priorities. There is no one correct answer, and as previously mentioned, it goes back to knowing your audience.

Here are the aspects in their order of priority: 

LeAnne: 1. Purpose 2. Audience 3. Content 4. Application 5. Branding.

Valerie: 1. Audience: I do it for them 2. Venue: Does it fit my goal/target group? 3. Format: How can I reach my target group AND post my message? 4. Content: How do I communicate 1–3? 5. Feedback, KPI, Improvement.  

Becky: 1. Content 2. Audience understanding 3. Format 4. Venue 5. Communication.   

Pauline: 1. Your target customer preferences  (online and offline) 2. VENUE /destination: the story it tells 3. Sustainability+corporate responsibility 4. Communication: before+ during your EVENT. Design WISE, in promotion, and easy schedule of sessions. 5. Accessibility.

Irina: 1. Storytelling, the WHY 2. Destination, infrastructure, accessibility 3. Venues 4. Content & communication (online & offline, pre & post events as well) 5. Sustainability, CSR, social enterprise. 

What do you do when your client doesn’t know their audience, or what they want, or how to write a brief?

According to Becky, it’s ‘Research research research. Get under their brand how you would your own and advise where you can.’ Irina added to this that it’s also important to research and understand the industry, and that could be achieved by attending industry events. This is a long process that can take up to 2–3 years until one becomes a ‘go-to’ person who knows and understands the audience and how to write a brief that gets results.’ 

Pauline shared that she does her own research based on the event name-topic-theme. This research includes what potential attendees might like or do as being crucial. The persona. She shared her experience, ‘I usually don’t even start working on an event until the client or I have the persona for the event worked out.’

Where do you go to learn new stuff? What events do you attend, what books/ trade press do you read etc.?

Becky shared that she looks outside of the immediate industry as much as she can, ‘We sometimes close ourselves off by relying on people who think like us and using our past experience. It’s so worth it! Even just looking at how your phone/electricity company send emails and promo or how the queuing process works at a gig.. all have their own good and bad points to learn from.’

Robert D. conducts meetings in museums, galleries and bookshops.. surrounded by knowledge, all representing fantastic alternatives to corporate locations.  

Pauline attends major international events and business festivals specific to tech and marketing and digital marketing, such as the Web Summit, but also the MICE industry, such as IMEX, but also recommends watching videos about social media constantly. 

Irina concluded that she uses Twitter for the discovery phase, but her international work and travel with MICE destinations also inspires her to learn about sustainability, urban development, architecture, design, art and specific knowledge clusters; for example, technology, science and media, ‘Inspiration is everywhere if we just look out for it.’ 

How an online event became an offline conference: interview with Event Planners Talk founder on Hotel O Motion podcast

It’s just under one year to go, and we are very excited and ready for our most thought-provoking and business-driven MICE conference, which will take place next year from 27–30 August in Bern, Switzerland. A couple of weeks ago, our founder Irina Graf was interviewed on Valerie Wagner’s podcast—Hotel O Motion—about the journey of designing this event from when it all began in 2014 as a weekly Twitter chat and will next year take place as a multi-day international conference. You can listen to the full podcast on the Hotel O Motion website and major podcast platforms, with a summary of this interview being available in this blog article. 

The discussion began with a short introduction regarding how Irina initiated The MICE Blog, which is a corporate event planning blog dedicated to those working in the MICE sector and who wish to stay on top of industry news, learn about new destinations, venues and the latest trends. Irina stated, ‘I began the blog in 2011 as a hobby while doing an internship at an event agency in Munich. Not long after that, I moved to London to undertake a 3.5 year BA in international events management. Maintaining the blog alongside the studies allowed me to build my knowledge and network of the MICE sector in the dynamic city of London and be part of this community. Upon graduating at the end of 2014, in 2015 I turned it into a full-time business. In August 2014, I began a Twitter chat called #eventprofstalk (initially, the hashtag was #EventPlannersTalk but was shortened later to #eventprofstalk) to discuss various industry topics. From 2015, it became a weekly chat, and I slowly started building a community specifically around this Twitter chat. The online audience was invited to participate in the discussion on Twitter and answer six questions around a specific industry topic. The community grew organically as people started engaging with the topics and, most importantly with each other, to forge business relationships; I have personally got to know many of my business contacts through this channel.’

‘The online presence led to launching the first live event in February 2015 in London, and 17 events later, from 2015–2019, in 2020 we’ll host our first international event in Bern, Switzerland.’ 

Why did you decide to make an offline event out of an online chat?

‘When it began in 2014, as a monthly Twitter chat and later in 2015 as a weekly chat and developed to a live event in 2015, it grew organically. As the community manager, I noticed that it forged strong business relationships among my audience, and I felt that there was a need to take it to the ‘next level’—that would mean hosting an offline event. Being in the events industry myself, I understand the importance of face-to-face meetings and events. Live events are important because when you meet people face to face, you develop a level of trust that is not possible to build online to such an extent. Furthermore, you can’t cover all the topics online, so there is a ‘necessity to meet in person’. 

Irina attributes the success of this concept to being based in London at that time, ‘The Twitter chat is international, attracting participants from all around the world, but a significant number of participants were from the UK and specifically from London. The event community is particularly strong in London, and while I was living there, it was easy to make an event out of it. I recognised this opportunity and decided to combine the online and offline event experience.’ 

What challenges did you have? 

According to Irina, one challenge in particular has arisen since the beginning and that is still present today—narrowing the gap between online and offline communities, ‘I have a highly strong online community that is happy to share thoughts and opinions online openly, and the live events attract the broader event community who don’t necessarily use social media and don’t like the “spotlight”. The challenge is to get speakers who are not familiar with this concept but who have significant know-how and expertise that I want the audience to engage with. There are people who don’t like to share information, don’t like to be quoted and don’t want the online visibility, so narrowing the gap between online and offline communities is something that we’ll continue to work on.’ 

Why did you decide to announce the event with an over a year to go lead time to that event?

According to Irina, a lot has been going on behind the scenes before the public announcement, ‘The event was already 2.5 years in the planning, so it’s much longer than a year for me as the organiser with all what’s been going on behind the scenes before making it public. The first reason is that we know our audience particularly well, and these are busy corporate event planners who have a full agenda of their own events as well as industry events that they attend, so it was very important for us to get into their diaries. The second reason is that I see it as an opportunity having such a long lead time because we do a lot online. The discussion that we’ll have next year in August in Bern, already started now, is because we’re in the process of selecting the topics, getting in touch with the speakers and making the community part of this collaborative approach we take towards designing the educational agenda.’ 

The focus of this event is advanced education, ‘When the topics are discussed in Bern next year, it will be only in a 1-hour instalment, and this will be the result of all previous discussions we’ll conduct prior to that online, to fine-tune and narrow down what will be discussed at the live event. We aim to be highly specific and business focused instead of broad. All the broad and general topics can be covered on a Twitter chat, blog post or podcast. We want to focus on what you can’t do online; hence, a live event is also required. The event has already ‘started’, and our audience can engage with us and other community members every Monday on Twitter from 9–10 pm UK time. This is the online phase of the event, with the live event taking place next year, and of course, we’ll have the post-event phase where there will be extensive social media coverage to ‘keep the discussion going.’

Why is Bern the right fit for the event

This will be our first international event. So far, we have had 17 smaller events, which took place in London, Frankfurt and Berlin, and we always wanted to grow and become an international platform for event professionals for advanced learning and networking. Bern is the right fit because it’s international, multilingual and is the Swiss capital city with top infrastructure and ease of accessibility by all means of transport. At the same time, the city is small and compact, perfect for our audience size, which will remain small for this first edition. It will be highly convenient for the delegates to arrive and move around there. I have travelled to the city many times for site visits, and I can say that the delegates will have a ‘door-to-door experience’ the moment they get out of the train station in Bern—all our venues are within walking distance. You arrive, and you are in the centre of everything. It’s a city where you can walk and use your time efficiently.

What can participants expect from the topics? 

Delegates can expect highly interactive and engaging discussions. I know that the delegates are very busy people, and when I go to industry events myself, I appreciated it when speakers get to the point immediately, and I don’t want to hear something that I’ve already heard elsewhere; hence, we also set a focus on innovative, business-driven and thought-provoking content. Therefore, delegates can expect a particularly high level of advanced education, from experienced industry professionals. Delegates who attend next year can expect that they will be able to take their personal and professional career to the next level thanks to the participative event format and networking opportunities they will gain at the conference. 

Another aspect that we wanted to offer this time is so-called ‘bleisure’—not to fully overload the programme with many sessions and activities, but rather leave the evenings free for delegates to design their own leisure time and leave space for informal networking alongside the business as of this event. Personally, I often find that the spontaneous discussions and encounters between the sessions and social events can ultimately become the most successful ones in terms of meeting the next business partner or client. 

Bye Bye Social Media, Welcome Social Web and Community Management: How can online communities be cultivated in the event industry? – #eventprofstalk Twitter chat with Valerie Wagner, Founder of Hotel O Motion

Several recent industry discussions have demonstrated that companies retract from social media because they want to find different ways to strengthen relationships with their customers, primarily offline. For example, that was the case with the pub chain JD Wetherspoon and the cosmetics firm Lush in the UK. Additionally, increased attention is shifting to closed groups, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, where the focus is on strengthening community relations. Is it a trend that event planners should observe more closely and explore more ways of building their communities ‘offline’, or is it just PR hype?

To understand the latest developments of community management, both online and offline, we teamed up with Valerie Wagner from Hotel O Motion to host the #eventprofstalk Twitter chat about ‘Bye Bye Social Media, Welcome Social Web and Community Management: How can online communities be cultivated in the event industry.’

Valerie is a blogger and a podcaster specialising in digital hotel management. She has built an online community of hoteliers who receive constant updates from her about how to optimise their processes and customer experience in the digital age. During this chat with Valerie, we discussed why some companies choose to go offline and find new ways to communicate with their audience, as well as what new tools are available for community building. Many membership clubs, associations or networking groups of like-minded people do not always have a social media strategy and despite this fact, they successfully keep their members engaged via newsletters, information boards, print advertising and most importantly, events. How can corporate events strengthen their offline communities even further? This important question and others were discussed during this chat. 

Bye Bye Social Media, Welcome Social Web and Community Management: How can online communities be cultivated in the event industry?

According to Robert Kenward, co-founder of YOU Search & Select, ‘community needs a dedicated management, for example, making it an invite-only group with criteria for acceptance. The admin team needs to keep things clean and grouped into specific areas or topics, guiding the content and discussion, whereas ideas are coming from the group and are user generated, but also having guests who are experts on the specific topic.’ Content on online platforms should be guided and moderated by the admins, otherwise it can become too promotional.  

According to Valerie Wagner, founder of Hotel O Motion, she would join a community primarily because it involves ‘having a common interest. It has to do with emotions and whether I can identify with the values of the group.’ Sabrina Meyers, founder of Hot Hospitality Exchange, commented that ‘communities start when like-minded people get together and help each other. If the online community can offer this constant and consistently there will be growth; for example, The Delegate Wranglers group for event planners on Facebook.’ Sabrina also added that ‘there should be clear rules in place and needs identified.’ Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog and Event Planners Talk, agreed that ‘there should be rules to maintain the livelihood of the community; for example, limit, or even forbid the amount of self-promotion. Communities should also be self-regulated to a significant extent by the members with certain guidelines that they agree upon.’

Pauline Kwasniak, founder of TurnedSee, emphasised the importance of particularly niche meet-ups and platforms, ‘community members should be invited to speak at these events, and the community administrators should promote them, via a Facebook group or Twitter for example. All community members want something out of it. So, by promoting each other, they promote your community in return. Content is king.’

Irina shared that ‘communities develop as a result of uniting around a common topic, industry or a goal, and members are co-creating content or working collaboratively via other channels to achieve their goals. Communities have a strong support network and expertise. Live events provide a platform for communities to nurture these relationships and grow personally and professionally.’ 

We’ve discussed whether a community develops first offline and then moves the discussion online, or the other way around. Stephanie Braun, blogger at Kleiner Komet, commented that ‘perhaps it could help if some people know each other in real life, so they can start a community and then other people find their way to join the community.’ Valerie added that it can be done the other way around, too, when people join a digital group, that will lead to offline meetings as a result. It works both ways.’ 

When would you permanently join a club for a specific event? 

Pauline shared ‘when it offers substantially high-quality business networking and the right match making between buyers and sellers’. Robert shared that for him, it’s worthwhile if he gains access to the stakeholders he needs to grow his business, and he was able to add value to the group by sharing knowledge, ideas and helping others. For Sabrina, if she has a need that is met by the club, she will then join. It may be to a network personally or professionally or to learn something on a common topic of the club (e.g., Ladies in Tech). 

Stephanie commented that ‘if there is a good chance to network, I would join some kind of online group, but I think it’s important to get the people some stuff to talk about, before and after the event.’ For Irina, the business value should be there ‘when I know I have business value from it—it can be either personal development, networking or keeping up with industry trends, but it must bring my business forward and justify my time and money investment.’

Are closed groups, such as Facebook Groups, enough or do you need membership? 

According to Valerie ‘it’s not good to depend on a particular platform, such as Facebook, because the algorithm is constantly changing. Facebook groups are currently popular, but for how long? At the same time, we need to see that the online groups are active and constantly publishing new updates to keep the members engaged.’ Irina agreed that ‘you can’t depend on just one social media platform, but at the same time, event organisers and community managers need to be where the attention is and where the members are. In case the platform changes suddenly, and its algorithm or a new platform gains in popularity, the group can transition and evolve as a community to a different platform.’ Valerie shared that the importance of having community members as advocates is key, and used as an example this #eventprofstalk community that grew to a large extent thanks to open communication on Twitter—she stated, ‘growing a community without social media doesn’t work, but bringing that power into a closed channel (e.g., event) is the art.’ Irina, the founder of this community, agreed that online communication and the choice of platform was key to its growth, ‘It wouldn’t have worked in a closed group because people will not be able to commit to weekly Twitter chats, but when the communication is public, people can join any time, when they have time, or follow passively on the go. People also have different offline personas, and not everyone wants to contribute; however, people like to read or share. This community has evolved from the Twitter chat to host live events, and also has a presence on Instagram and LinkedIn.’ 

According to Johnny Martinez, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Shocklogic, ‘membership makes sense when you can offer exclusive benefits to members. Facebook groups alone are certainly not enough to create certain types of exclusivity. The benefits of certain communities definitely rely on membership. Different networks can often improve the membership. But it’s hard to do any of this without the money and membership that provides long-term development.’

Katrin Lüthy, Founder and Green Event Specialist at Green Event Planner, thinks that ‘social media is indeed a fantastic place to get attention, but I believe that the actual business mostly comes from face-to-face meetings or networking events.’ Irina thinks that ‘communities can’t rely on membership only—there are too many of such groups, and each person belongs to many of them at the same time. Therefore, they need to offer a flexible format, where members can engage on their own terms when they want and how often they want to. To make it work, communities should be self-regulating to a significant extent, but they should also have an overall supervision, and the management ought to encourage discussions and organise live events.’ 

Conference Care Package shared that events need to ‘offer more natural ways for people to interact. It’s easier to get to know someone in a morning jogging group than at a reception—set up some sort of mentor program for new members.’

According to Sabrina, it’s about the objectives, ‘the benefits of having a formal membership is that the reach is more if it’s a membership in that you can cast a wider net. With Facebook groups, typically it’s more social and less business orientated, so it really depends on what your objectives would be.’

How should a membership differentiate from a network? Are there any differences? 

According to Robert, ‘membership is an agreed return from your fee, networking is down to you to make it work.’ Irina commented that under membership, she understands ‘that there is a payment transaction to join the group, but for this there must be also a higher value proposition, such as more events and more formality. A networking group is more spontaneous and focused on building relationships for possible sales or public relations.’ Valerie added that ‘it’s worthless if it doesn’t cost anything.’ So, it’s recommended to have a fee to position the services as being more premium, but at the same time, the members’ expectations rise when there is a monetary exchange. In that case, Irina thinks that ‘a freemium concept can work, such as offering part of the membership for free, but others need to be purchased, such as a subscription or an event ticket. That way, the organisers can create a more niche and personalised product or event for those participants who are ready to invest more time and money.’

According to Johnny, ‘membership-based organisations enjoy membership fees, and members are often part of the governing council. Networks are mainly free and volunteer led, which comes with less budgetary responsibilities and less bureaucracy.’

For Pauline, the network should be the membership where ‘the network grows as the membership grows. At times, there will be people looking from the outside or joining one event before becoming members and that’s OK—make it exciting for people to become members but have rules, too.’ For example, at Pauline’s Travel Massive group, the members are only ‘travel trade’, and therefore attendees should be those participants involved in travel, trade, technology or blogging—‘you need to know what you want and who you want to attract to ensure high quality for other members,’ Pauline concluded. 

Sabrina highlighted the example of membership clubs that offer spaces for members to enjoy themselves either privately or if they choose, by engaging with other fellow members. A network is built through a common purpose and goals. It in fact brings a highly diverse group of people together who are generally ‘creative’, and they have their ‘own’ space which they like.’

Conference Care Package shared that ‘open is the way to go because it is how you get new members onboard. Most people start out lurking. So, for example, when communication during the event happens on the app and not social media, it excludes the at-home audience. Lurkers become converts.’

What do you think the order is: 1. online, then offline or 1. offline then online? 

According to Robert, ‘there is no a set rule of thumb for this issue, and geography plays a part in it, too: How often can you meet other community members face to face, for example?’ 

For Katrin, it’s first online, then offline. She also added that ‘millennials are surprisingly shy around people they’ve never met before, so ‘meeting’ someone online prior to attending an event can ease up this shyness’. But it is not only millennials who are shy, and for many people, the process will be easier if they are made aware that they can also bring friends.’ Stephanie added that ‘in the business setting, you get better in touch with new people when you’re alone, so it’s not that easy the first time.’ And she shared that sometimes she goes with people she knows, but then tries to separate during the event, ‘when we come together again, we have much to talk about. Sabrina said that ‘it depends on the individual. Online allows you to be ‘braver’ in a certain sense because you’re not face to face, which can to some be particularly intimidating’. Conference Care Package stated that ‘online leads to face to face with a relationship that deepens over the years from both approaches.’ Irina said that it can be both, but the advantage of starting online and transitioning offline is that you already know that you have a common interest and can develop the discussion topics further.’ 

Should member areas always offer benefits, or is the prospect of exchange among like-minded people sufficient? Would you pay for a member area? 

For Valerie, the reason to join a membership area is a ‘very deep interest in a topic. If the interest is strong enough, I think that there should be extensive benefits because the interest is there. But in B2B, I consider that people expect benefits to see value from joining a membership group.’ Irina added that in B2B, if a company is paying for a membership, the benefits should be justified and listed as part of that membership—an interest in the group is not enough.’

Sabrina shared that ‘in general, if you are a ‘member’ you do expect benefits of some sort that you otherwise wouldn’t normally have access to—it’s that exclusivity of belonging to something and a particular ‘club.’ Irina concluded that organisers need to know the members well to understand what the benefits are for them, which benefits they would be ready to pay for as well as to meet the needs of the various stakeholders.’

Photo: Valerie Wagner and Irina Graf at IMEX Frankfurt, 2019

How to attract and retain young talent in the events industry: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat with Robert Kenward, Chief Talent Officer & Co-founder at YOU search & select

Last week, we co-hosted the regular #eventplannerstalk Twitter chat about ‘How to attract and retain young talent in the events industry’ with event recruitment expert Robert Kenward. Robert has worked within the recruitment and events sector for over 17 years and explored the world of hiring from all angles — namely as a candidate, client and recruiter. For the last three and a half years, he has run the recruitment agency ‘YOU search & select’ where he connects top talent with leading agencies within the live events, experiential and integrated communications sector.

From many talks with industry professionals, it has become apparent that a number of agencies face challenges in terms of attracting and retaining talent. In a highly people-driven business, are we falling short on securing top candidates for our businesses? 

Before starting to discuss the challenges of attracting talent, we wanted to define what ‘young talent’ in fact means. 

Young talent is not solely related to age, but also to the level of expertise and industry experience. According to Robert, ‘young talent is someone who is new to the industry or is a junior, mid-level entry candidate who has little direct experience but has bags of enthusiasm and transferable skills.’ Irina Graf from The MICE Blog added that ‘these are usually candidates with less than five years’ work experience but with basic knowledge of event management and a willingness to work and learn.’ Valerie Wagner from Hotel-O-Motion suggested that ‘these are newcomers or career changers who are new to event management or event planners with experience but new to new formats and new event orientation. Learning is a constant process. Talent shouldn’t be a question of age, and HR has the basic task of retaining talents and using them correctly.’ 

Why won’t new talent to the industry apply for my roles?

When a job advert goes live and not enough people apply, what can be the reasons for this? According to Robert, ‘one reason can be that they don’t know the company and haven’t heard of it. This can be the cause of poor consumer branding and marketing. Another reason can be that the advert is boring and focused on what the employer wants rather than what they can offer to successful candidates.’ Valerie added that ‘often recruiters forget to mention the value, why should someone apply for this offer. Communicating the ‘why’ is important.’ 

The choice of wording is important, so for example instead of using ‘you will need’, ‘we are looking for’ or ‘you must be’, use ‘you will gain’, ‘you will be exposed to’. Additionally, Robert explained that job adverts are usually push marketing when pull is what is in fact required. Calls to action are also usually ‘email CV’ or ‘complete this form’ rather than a personalised ‘give me a call and ask questions’ or similar. 

It’s recommended to tell stories or have others to discuss them; for example, image video interviews of employees, interviewing new, mid- and long-term employees to get them to express why they joined, stay and enjoy the company. 

Sabrina Meyers from Hot Hospitality Exchange added that ‘companies need to be visible on the channels or platforms that this young talent is exposed to and companies should utilise these platforms to engage this talent and catch their attention. Social media is key.’

Where can I find young talent? 

Not only should young talent be in the position to easily find their future employer, but also companies ought to be on the lookout for talent. According to Robert, social media is an important tool. Such media should be a huge part of any recruitment strategy. Furthermore, companies can ask their existing young talent to refer or advise, and lastly universities which offer event management degrees can connect recruiters with students and graduates. Also, these universities should be in constant contact with agencies so that when students approach them, they have available job listings and can facilitate introductions. 

Irina added that ‘in the events industry, many jobs are not advertised because they are taken by ‘word of mouth’ before going live, so the question here should be ‘where young talent can find you’ so companies constantly gain access to a new pool of candidates.’ 

Why does young talent I interview join my competition? 

According to Robert, ‘this can be due to a lack of consistent message throughout the selection experience; people who are interviewing them are not qualified recruiters. Because of that, the challenge that arises is that the messaging is inconsistent, and the interviewer is ‘looking’ for something rather than seeing what can be added. Young talent knows what they want and seem to be as much more focused on what they are looking for, resulting in both sides having different mindsets. If the company doesn’t allow for a 2-way interview format, they’ve lost before they even started.’ 

Irina added that ‘reasons vary and include the speed to respond to candidates, higher personalisation and better profile fit for the individual.’ 

How do I retain young talent? 

According to Robert, ‘companies should follow on from what they’ve promised when they hired the candidates. Furthermore, they should practice regular active listening touch points rather than focussing on progress reports. Companies should understand the reasons for the talent joining them in the first place and lastly constantly work on the employer/employee brand, which needs to be sting and consistent.’  

Valerie added that ‘companies should give their employees a chance to grow, encourage and challenge them. Managers have the task to train and promote their employees, and existent talent should be measured against this.’ Irina also commented that ‘companies should give their employees space to grow and take responsibility, take their advice on board and keep open communication.’

Chris Dack, Senior Tutor & Digital Marketing Programme Lead for QA Apprenticeships added that it is important ‘to provide an inclusive, creative brand culture which employees will feel inspired to contribute towards. Harness the energy young talent will bring.’

What advice can you give that I can implement moving forward?

To conclude, we looked at the best tips to implement for attracting and retaining young talent. Robert suggested to ‘conduct an internal survey for new, mid- and long-term employees and ask them why they joined, why they stay, what they think of the business and what they’ll improve. After this survey, they should act on the results. Secondly, revise the social media strategy to ensure that it aligns with your recruitment plan, is fit for purpose and that you actually engage with all potential candidates online. Evaluate whether it is all marketing and push communication, or do you add value and look like an employer of choice. And third, revise your website and whether it has a specific easy-to-find career page that looks enticing to future candidates or do future hires have to click though several pages then email their CV to a machine. If it doesn’t, fix it tomorrow.’ 

Irina added that ‘companies should be always on the lookout for talent and not only when they need to recruit. Companies should not expect to be approached, but instead approach the people who they think are right for their business. It’s a 2-way approach!’

Robert will be a speaker at our Event Planners Talk conference next year from 27–30 August 2020 in Bern, Switzerland. You can learn more about his business on Robert’s website and contact him for any advice about recruitment. We look forward to welcoming you to his session in Bern. 

First site visit to Bern and introduction to our three main conference venues

Bern

At the beginning of May, we officially announced our conference date together with publishing the registration link, marking the official start of planning and getting ready for the first international and multi-day Event Planners Talk conference from 27–30 August 2020 in Bern, Switzerland. 

Bern is the Capital of Switzerland, and as such, it has infrastructure to accommodate world-class events. Additionally, its heritage, culture and leisure offering make it a desirable MICE destination. Not only is the city an absolute gem to discover, but the entire Bernese region also offers a rich and diverse environment for combining business with leisure, thanks to its nearby lakes and mountains. 

We are thrilled to host our first international event in Bern and explore the region with all its hidden gems! 

Bern is also a compact city, where most of the venues are accessible on foot, or within a short ride by public transport; that’s a huge advantage for experiencing the city to its fullest and incorporating the aspects of sustainability and urban mobility.

But first things first, we want to introduce our venue partners who you will have the chance to experience by yourself during your stay. Our programme will take place across these three venues, so we have great variety and a bit of moving around instead of passively sitting throughout the day in one room! 

Hotel Bellevue Palace

For an ultimate experience of the Capital City of Switzerland, we have to go back to over 150 years ago and get to know the iconic hotel for guests of the states, which today also welcome government officials, politicians and business people from around the world. Located next to the Parliament Building, Hotel Bellevue Palace encompasses tradition, luxury, elegance and modern-day comfort.  

This 5-star property excels at catering to state officials, so when you attend the event next year, perhaps you will be in one of the function rooms previously visited by a world leader and where important decisions have been made.

Major decisions will be made during the Event Planners Talk conference too. Our goal is to foster the growth of your business, your personal development and improve industry standards by bringing together key stakeholders under one roof. There will be only one conference stream, and all sessions will have a common thread to ensure that there is no repetition but instead each session will complement each other; hence, by the end of the two days, you have a steep learning curve and comprehensive approach to the industry’s key issues.

Schweizerhof Bern & THE SPA

With Schweizerhof, you will have the ultimate ‘door-to-door’ experience because the hotel is located just in front of the main train station. With its ‘living studio’-like rooms and state of the art design, blending French charm and English understatement, the hotel lets one feel at home and offers full convenience for remote working. You will be inspired having this room as your office when you need to get work done or take the time off and enjoy the spa after a long day of attending the conference. 

Our founder, Irina Graf, stayed at this hotel while on her site visit, and was highly impressed with this property. She immediately noticed the sustainable practices being used by the Schweizerhof Bern & THE SPA. For example, the breakfast buffet was particularly basic, with bread, cornflakes and jams, but there was a menu card with varied options, including cold and warm breakfasts, such as cheeses, meats and porridge. This is a wonderful initiative to reduce food waste and an alternative to lavish breakfast buffets. 

The WOW factor for Irina was particularly noticeable at the Sky Terrace, which offers one of the best panoramic views of Bern. When you are there next year in August, you can expect a clear view over the mountains. We are already dreaming of a get-together there on one of the evenings! 

Kongress + Kursaal Bern

For us, the Kursaal Bern is an ‘all-under-one-roof’ concept for corporate guests because it is one of the biggest venues in Bern and is perfect for large groups. However, knowing that we start very small with our first event next year, Kursaal Bern also has several smaller conference rooms suitable for our needs and which also offer stunning views over the city!

Kursaal is located further from the train station, but still within walking distance, upon which you will be rewarded with having a beautiful view over the Aare river. The Aare is associated with summer in Bern, and if we are to experience a hot August, we will certainly take one session outdoors for hot summer refreshments!

Your advantage when coming to Bern

All of our three venue partners have both conference facilities and guest rooms, and we are working closely with the venues in order to offer you corporate rates during your stay in Bern. We want to ensure that you have a seamless and enjoyable experience, and that you will be able to have a comfortable stay in Bern!

Stay tuned because new information will be released on a weekly basis across our social media channels on Twitter @themiceblogHQ and Instagram @eventplannerstalk. Additionally, you can use the hashtag #EPTBern20 to receive the latest updates and ask us anything!