Conference centres and their clients are both facing bigger challenges. They have to deal with more complex events and higher delegate expectations with limited resources.

Dealing with the practical realities of event management can be a challenging one for both centres and their clients, and AIPC centres have been looking at ways to better deal with this in collaboration with some of our key client groups.

Strategies now being examined and discussed between clients and AIPC member centres include putting more effort in sharing the client’s organisational objectives and what they may mean in terms of anticipated event outcomes. However, there are also some very practical approaches, such as getting the operations side of a centre’s organisation engaged in even the earliest stage of the planning process at a time when typically only the sales group is involved.

Driving this is a growing appreciation on both sides that centres are often well positioned to suggest alternative formats based on their experiences with other clients, and that their ideas may not only deliver a better event but make more effective use of centre facilities.

While organisers understand their event needs better than anyone, they are not necessarily entirely aware of the full range of possibilities available to them to achieve their goals. Centre staff, on the other hand, have inevitably seen a wide variety of different approaches in similar situations by virtue of experiencing many different types of events in their building and are well positioned to offer suggestions as to alternatives.

This kind of exchange can also help deal with another area of potential friction between centres and their clients – namely, making sure there are no surprises – unexpected limitations, challenges or cost charges that emerge at the last minute. While centres generally work hard to address this area, in the absence of a really detailed exchange it can be difficult to identify all the event requirements in sufficient detail and to overcome assumptions that may exist about what may or may not be included in the original cost estimates based on previous experiences.

Finally, both sides are generally more disposed to look at alternative forms of engagement these days up to and including taking more of a partnership approach where the centre and their clients look at various means of sharing the risks and rewards associated with staging an event.

What AIPC is encouraging, and everyone in the piece is looking to achieve, is the best possible event experience. When that happens, we all win – including the delegate.

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