Grupo Eventoplus brings Spain back

Lynn Wong goes behind the scenes in the first and largest conference of its type since Spain emerged from lockdown

THE GLOBAL MICE industry has been hit hard since the emergence of Covid. But in Spain, the industry is ready for a comeback as witnessed when MIS (Meeting Incentive Summit) took place with the theme of reactivating the industry.

Lynn Wong

Organised by Grupo Eventoplus at Hotel RIU Plaza España in Madrid on April 28, organisers says it was the biggest MICE event of the year in Europe with 310 attendees in-person and demonstrating that large and safe meetings are possible.

“A professionally organised meeting is one of the safest places to be: multi-layered security measures, highly responsible attendees, full traceability and antigen tests conducted less than 24 hours before the event; all provide a level of reassurance,” said Eric Mottard, co-founder and CEO of Grupo Eventoplus.

“The MICE industry is important sector as it helps companies to communicate, sell, train, drive loyalty, motivate…  but it has to return to business with safety measures in place, and we have shown that it is possible,” said Mottard.

Painstaking care in security
A rigorous protocol was applied to show that safe meetings can happen: all attendees, including the organisation staff and on-site crew, had to show a negative antigen test result done within 24 hours of the event.

All attendees were provided with a free test in their local clinics followed by tests on-site. At the entrance, attendees were also given FFP2 masks which they had to wear it throughout the event. Social distancing was also applied across the venue including furniture placement.

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Ventilation was enhanced not just by the high ceiling and systems at the hotel, but windows were left opened to maximise air circulation while lunch was organised in a separate room to allow refreshed air to flow.

One-to-one meetings and education
Buyers and suppliers took advantage of the matching system on the event platform to create their own meetings’ agenda, which was vital for buyers to find out about new market offerings as well as to renew relationships that had been kept in remote mode since the pandemic.

Reactivation also come with educational topics such as storytelling, solutions on returning to travelling in meetings, the future of medical meetings, measures brining back international meetings to Spain.

New and fun formats also experimented with both face-to-face and online formats: two-minute speed networking); 30-seconds elevator pitches by exhibitors; bullet-point sessions from  destinations with three main takeaway messages, a fun online trivia quiz with four contestants connected to play vía Zoom while the audience were also able to put their meeting knowledge to the test; a “breakout” photocall where attendees shared their professionally taken photos in their social networks which helped to make #meetMIS a trending topic.

Hybrid meetings here to stay
To ensure the maximum participation of meeting professionals all around Spain, the organiser designed the conference in a “1+1” format for the first time: one day of face-to-face meetings followed by a day of online events with the programme streamed from a set at the Palacio Neptuno.

During the online event, one-to-one meetings were conducted via videocalls in the event platform, small debates were held in “chat rooms”, presentations were short yet dynamic, a Virtual Café was created where participants could take a break and network with other professionals, thanks to staff from Grupo eventoplus who were always there to make introductions.

Fun was also injected with an improv activity with content generated by the participants and a live band that played the five most voted songs from a playlist.

An online event has the challenge of retaining attention. So it is vital to ensure that content is dynamic, the programme has a good rhythm and different formats are introduced to engage the participants. And that was just what we did.

A total of 8,029 messages were sent between participants, 10,842 interactions and 2,376 meetings requested, all thanks to the participation of 85 exhibiting companies, 310 participants at the face-to-face event and 159 connected to the streaming of the programme while one-to-one meetings continued within the platform.  

Lynn Wong is co-founder and director of communications with Grupo Eventoplus 

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