This year’s Associations Congress UK, which took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, 10-11 December, attracted 200 association executives, according to Congress Director and Executive Director of the Associations Network, Damian Hutt.
The Associations Congress UK 2013 is the 11th congress in the Associations Network’s series and is the third focused towards UK associations.
The event featured six conference streams across the two days covering topics such as adopting CRM systems, social media and international expansion and revenue generation.
Hutt said a greater emphasis had been placed on networking opportunities at this year’s event, with scheduled knowledge exchange sessions, allowing delegates to learn from the experiences of each other and not just the speakers. The event also incorporated more panel discussions.
“Associations do not tend to integrate much, so the congress is important for them to come and hear what other associations are doing, what is at the forefront of the industry and what changes or developments are taking place,” said Hutt.
“Another important part of the congress is helping associations learn to be more professional and commercial. It’s important for associations to invest money in creating better events,” he added.
Hutt said investing in and researching content is a key way in which associations can better their events.
“Associations have a duty to inform. For this year’s congress, we worked with both potential delegates and researchers to develop our conference programme. We went out to 70 potential delegates, including trade associations, individual associations and forums, to ask them what issues they were currently facing. From that we collated the issues we uncovered before consulting our panel to finalise the programme,” he said.
Speakers at this year’s congress included Carolyn Dawson, Events Director at Informa; Nicola McGrane, Founder of Conference partners; Catherine Hill, Marketing Director at The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply; and Leon Heward-Mills, Chief Executive of the Society for Endocrinology.
“We confirmed 80 per cent of our speakers over a ten-week period; 16-17 weeks prior to the congress,” said Hutt. “While we currently work closely with our speakers, for our next event in Paris we have brought Dr Elling Hamso on board, who will spend time with each speaker to help them get the most salient points into their presentations to ensure we continue to provide an ROI for our delegates.”
Next year will see the Associations Network host six association CRM forms, beginning in January, and in February there are plans to launch a directory of mobile apps for Association congresses.
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