Keeping conferences clean
Maria Tsedeviyn, international development director at Expoforum, St Petersburg responds to CN's recent cover feature on event air pollution.
As outlined in Conference News' cover story in September, air quality and pollution are vitally important to the health of delegates. Yet they are so often overlooked. Julia Charles-Wiginton and her team have clearly spotted and developed a concept than ensures greater wellbeing on behalf of attendees as they avoid “exhibition flu”. We have been thinking along similar lines here in St Petersburg, though with a slightly different result.
Expoforum benefits from being a young venue that makes use of many new technologies. This of course means we have the latest in air filtration and air purifying systems throughout the venue. However, it also means we have been able to go one step further and develop the concept of “aroma marketing”. Our systems allow us to infuse the air with scents that are appropriate to a particular event taking place here at the venue. This can be done on a centre wide basis or be specific to just one part of Expoforum.
Therefore, on a day when the venue is quiet you will notice the subtle notes of our signature scent – edelweiss - which we have chosen to match the Expoforum brand. Alternatively, when we recently had a timber association event here in the venue, delegates would have felt at home with the smell of wood shavings and fresh cut lumber. The use of such scents are not overpowering or invasive, instead they ensure Expoforum smells comfortable and pleasant - not stale and bland as is so often the case with large venues.
Plenty of research has shown that delegates learn best when in a comfortable and familiar environment, hence the success of our “aroma marketing” and its positive impact on events. However, it is actually just one part of a wider concept that takes in all the senses – the calming look of the venue and surrounding area (sight), the comfortable tactile materials used throughout our spaces (touch), the quality of our catering (taste), the acoustics and peaceful atmosphere enhanced by classical music (sound).
As the article states - clean air is just as important inside as it is out, and we see it as our duty to look for opportunities such as this to improve events in every way possible. In fact, that is why we actually talk about a sixth sense that brings all the others together, a more ethereal feeling of quality and service that ensures delegates and organisers have a positive experience.