By Jorge J. J. Martínez
The experts’ predictions have so far helped to nurture—and to help us face up to—a vision for 2022. In this installment we have asked Ana Paula Hernández, vice president for BCD Meetings & Events Latin America, to give us her recipe for success for the MICE industry’s coming year.
BCD is a global agency specializing in the organization of some of the world’s largest corporate events and meetings. Despite the pandemic they have been able to achieve enormous commercial success, retaining their clients and maintaining their level of satisfaction.
What steps can we follow to achieve success like that of BCD Meetings & Events?
Ana Paula’s first recommendation is to have a Plan A, B, C, and even D if necessary to prevent any setbacks, analyzing and anticipating circumstances in order to guarantee the clients’ satisfaction.
“One must practice risk management, and not only during the pandemic. The event planner must seek out destinations with the same mindset and flexibility; everyone wants to keep their options open, they want to hear about problem-solving alternatives,” asserted Ana Paula Hernández.
During the last two years, empathy generated by the global situation has broken established patterns and created new paths to success; those paths should continue to be followed. Today it is vital to consider users’ experiences, creating meetings that are a better fit for participants and better suited to the destination.
“Before it was whatever the director wanted, it became someone’s party; today we are driven by data to decide what works and what doesn’t work. Some events had a lot of content but no interaction,” added the vice president of BCD Meetings & Events Latin America.
The human factor vs technological innovation
“Yes, technology is super important, but our business is driven by interpersonal relations and emotions. Anyone can plan an event, but the idea is to create content that makes people feel something new. You can go to the best restaurant, but [the experience] depends on the camaraderie of your dinner companions,” added Ana Paula.
Noting the generation gap is inevitable; it is probably more difficult to surprise older clients whose little group was happy with the usual, while the rest of the group’s satisfaction with the event was poor. Those who resist the new technology present a challenge as events transition from virtual to face-to-face meetings.
Economic recovery will no longer allow freebies
“In economic terms, although we have seen a recovery of about 60 percent in the volume of business, we expect to return to the level of 2019 by 2023,” added Ana Paula Hernández.
Since the return on investment will not be as high as before, it is important to be prudent and positive but without throwing caution to the wind, seeking balanced business relations and always, the win-win.
Religious tourism moves 300 million people per year, according to figures from the World Tourism Organization and hence the relevance for the country to delve into the subject.
Boris Iraheta, marketing manager for Corsatur, stated that El Salvador is ready to host international events.