Councilor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council opened the Business Tourism Scotland Conference 2013, held on 11th November at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. Addressing over 300 business tourism professionals from across Scotland he praised Glasgow’s business tourism industry: “In the last eight years, 2,200 conferences have taken place in Glasgow generating more than £1bn for the local economy.”
The opening keynote from Dr Paul Redmond from the University of Liverpool addressed how best to engage with and attract the multiple generations, before Million Dollar Round Table Director Ray Kopcinski discussed future trends, including the emergence of Generation Y, and how this will impact the industry.
Ray Kopcinski, chairman elect of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), told 300 delegates that by 2030, some 78 million business travellers will have been born after 1980. He went on to explain the different needs of this generation and how Scottish venues and hotels in the business tourism industry would have to adapt to accommodate them.
Kopcinski said: “They have a different set of characteristics from the generations before them and they represent the fastest-growing population in business.
“The new business traveller expects free and pervasive connectivity wherever they go. The lines between their work and play are more blurred, so they see hotel rooms as an extension of their office as well as somewhere to relax. And they want to be treated as individuals, so they appreciate high levels of customer service and those touches that make them feel unique.”
The need for events to deliver an experience was another key message at the one-day conference, with events producer Clare Amsel saying that corporate events are evolving and experience and engagement is key.
Kevin Jackson, VP of Sales and Marketing at George P Johnson, added during his session that: “90 per cent of people judge brands by the experience they have had. It is all about the experience you create.”
Other speakers at the conference included Crystal Interactive’s Chris Elmitt, who looked at the different personalities of delegates at events and how to satisfy their needs.
The conference also featured a Buyers Panel with George P Johnson’s Kevin Jackson; Rick Stainton, MD of Smyle; and Dale Parmenter, MD of drpgroup and Eventia Chair. The panelists informed delegates about what business tourism customers are looking for from Scotland, and highlighted the unique offering of the region and credited its people for providing a great hospitality experience.
With Glasgow due to host the Commonwealth Games next year, as well as the MTV Europe Music Awards, Fergus Ewing, ESP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism closed the conference by saying that “2014 will see Scotland on the world stage”.