Meeting Newz May / June 2021

By Lisa Hopkins Chief executive Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) [ BE I A COLUMN provided a similar experience. Now we have MEETINGS on a larger scale, with its additional angle of a trade show to enable business transactions. They all amount to the same thing. Digital has its place but, quite simply, our industries simply do not work if there is too much reliance on the speed of broadband. It was encouraging to read the excellent opinion piece by Juliano Lissoni, MD of MCI’s Canadian operations on the PCMA website recently. Juliano researched beyond the anecdotes and looked further into the biological, emotional, and economic reasons why we need to gather in person. ”We should not assume that just because technological tools are evolving, we will only want to gather in a digital format. Trying to understand what the future of the events business will look like requires us to have a deeper understanding of our human needs, particularly those that are biological and anthropological, emotional, and economic,” he says. Reading this was a breath of fresh air, as I have often struggled when talking to peers at a global level, defending New Zealand’s position and ability to meet in person without limits. At times, it has felt quite isolating. Since the middle of last year, every survey received, every commentary published has talked about the emergence of digital and how digital business events are the future. Certainly, for a time, it felt that would be the only way to continue to educate and share information. This was our new normal. Ultimately, COVID has given us options. It has produced new tools to use when the situation calls for it, but it has not dampened down the innate feeling within us to come together, to travel, to experience and to connect. I would like to think that MEETINGS is a key milestone in our recovery. Gosh, Nga mihi nui, Lisa Hopkins Kia ora, We saw it at the TRENZ Hui ‘21 and we will be experiencing it at MEETINGS 21. The power of human connection in a face- to-face environment is simply breathtaking in what it can deliver. When Tourism Industry Aotearoa brought over 700 people from the sector together, it was clear to see that apart from great content, the value of simply participating in conversation over lunch, catching up for dinner or using breaks for ad hoc discussions augmented the value of attendance. This was more than just a large group of people who were tired of seeing each other in Zoom calls. It was a force of energy that desperately needed to collaborate on issues which have impacted business events, tourism, hospitality, and accommodation providers to the point of breaking. Frustrations were expressed, listened to, and discussed. Ideas were exchanged. BE Reconnected back in December IT’S SIMPLY HUMAN NATURE we have lost some incredible businesses and people along the way. The talent drain out of our sector is of significant concern and one which BEIA along with fantastic partners, like GO With Tourism is committed to changing. Speaking with a tourism student recently gave me incredible optimism. I asked her why she chose tourism and events to study and specialise in. This incredibly bright woman didn’t miss a beat when she said her friends asked her that all the time. But as she tells them, if there was ever an industry that is going to need people and provide career opportunities, it’s this one. We are looking forward to welcoming around 30 students to MEETINGS and giving them the opportunity to experience the industry. They will be able to witness first-hand how this event is pulled together as we expose them to various industry stalwarts. Including the BEIA team. I continue to be in awe of the team and the work they put into MEETINGS. It is a vocation for this fabulous group of coffee- drinking, scone-eating events experts who are putting on an event for the business events industry to drive more events. It will make it really easy to talk to those considering their career choices, about what it means to deliver an exceptional event, to see both the immediate and long-term effects of all the hard work and hours that are part and parcel of this industry. Connection, passion, commitment. Three key ingredients that makes our industry sing. Three indelible needs and traits which makes us human. See you at MEETINGS! [58] meeting newz [may jun] 2021