The need for Scottish venues and hotels in the business tourism industry to adapt to the needs of Generation Y was a key message to come out of the Business Tourism Scotland Conference 2013, held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) on 11 November.
Addressing over 300 business tourism professionals from across Scotland, Councilor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, opened the conference with a positive look at 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,” he said.
Matheson went on to praise the way all those involved in the Scottish business tourism industry work together and optimise partnerships in order to give Scotland a competitive edge in the industry.
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.
Kopcinski indicated that in 2030 there would be 78m Generation Y and Millennial business travellers, who have a different set of charateristics and requirements than the generation before them.
“The new business traveller expects free and pervasive connectivity wherever they go, while their work-play distinction is more blurred and as such they require hotel rooms to be an extension of their office, as well as somewhere to relax,” he said.
The need for events to deliver an experience was another key message at the 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”.
Speaking after the conference, Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Tourism at VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “This is the second year of the re-booted Business Tourism Scotland Conference, and we continue to try and put on a programme that gets everyone involved in Scotland to see the big picture. This year’s line-up was outstanding, and every delegate will have found out something they didn’t know before. I also think it was an insightful day for our speakers, who not only had quality time to interact with each other but also with key players here in Scotland. And this is all at the most opportune time – just before Scotland welcomes the world in 2014.”
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