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ECM Summer School 2.0: +80 Meetings Industry experienced professionals all together for 3 days

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This year, since it was not possible to meet physically due to the pandemic crisis, European Cities Marketing has set up a new version of this crucial event.

The first edition of the ECM Summer School 2.0 took place on August 24-26. With this new digital format specifically tailored for advanced Meetings Industry professionals, attendees have had the opportunity to discuss topics such as new strategies for clients and suppliers, innovation and tips on smart sustainable recovery with experts from the industry (DMOs, hotels, convention centres, trade shows, press, associations, corporate, lawyers, PCOs...).

A crucial opportunity
For 33 years, the ECM Summer School has been a flagship event in the Meetings Industry. This year, since it was not possible to meet physically due to the pandemic crisis, European Cities Marketing has set up a new version of this crucial event.

The first edition of the ECM Summer School 2.0 has been a vibrant chance to learn, exchange perspectives and build lasting professional networks with colleagues and friends. The event was specifically tailored for advanced professionals of the industry working in convention bureaux, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, airlines, conference venues, congress centres, convention centres, exhibition centres and suppliers.

"Once again, European Cities Marketing has shown itself to be highly relevant and to be by the side of its members and the Meetings Industry. This first edition of the ECM Summer School 2.0 revealed itself as the perfect occasion to build a strong network during these unprecedented times where physical meetings are not always possible. The event represented a unique opportunity to interact at a more strategic level with experts of the industry and learn from each other. We are proud of this new initiative tailored for advanced professionals and we're looking forward to developing it further more!" said Petra Stusek, ECM President.

The world of Meetings is nowadays shifting to a more hybrid and digital paradigm. ECM Summer School 2.0 showed us the real relevance of these new virtual events with a bit of nuances. Mathias Sondermann (Senior Director Head of Events Programs and Experience | SAP) highlighted how virtual environments actually offer "more opportunities in terms of audience and space" and how "the online world allows us unlimited prospects in the reach of people". Indeed, Daniel Waigl (Executive Director | CIRSE) brought forward the idea that "hybrid-meetings will be a possible choice" in the future for the Meetings Industry but by far will not entirely replace face to face interaction. A statement also backed-up by Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group in another session.

Sharing perspectives and strengthening networks in those challenging times when collaboration is key. During the three days of this virtual, but still real journey into the universe of the Meetings Industry, event professionals tackled how to develop new strategies, how events will evolve digitally in the future thanks to new technologies, the impact on the world of clients and suppliers, the contribution of innovation in full-virtual or hybrid events, how we can remain sustainable in these new paradigms and what really means "sustainable" in the current era, how to envision what we call a "smart recovery"...

Sissi Lygnou (CEO Operations & Development PCO Services | AFEA Travel & Congress Services, Ambassador | IAPCO) highlighted the opportunities brought by the crisis for the Meetings Industry, increasing flexibility and improving collaboration, while also saving money and allowing PCOs and DMOs to develop new customer experiences. During his presentation, Christian Mutschlechner (Member of the Board of Directors | Congrex Switzerland, former Director | Vienna Convention Bureau) stated that customer relationship management has actually become even more crucial for CVBs since their role was and remains to link all clients together during and after the crisis and "managing the local supply chain when clients go virtual".

As Angela Graun (Senior Director, Head of Meetings & Events EMEA | Radisson Hotel Group) stated during her presentation "COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live, and we are adjusting our daily operations to adapt accordingly. We have conducted a comprehensive review of our existing health and safety processes and developed the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol in partnership with SGS. All our hotels are required to adhere to comprehensive health and safety procedures, including local laws and legislation."

"The ECM Summer School 2.0 has proven to be an essential opportunity for our Industry to continue building strong networks. This first digital edition inspired 65 attendees from 24 countries spread into 3 continents and lead by 23 Faculty members. The set-up of the digital event allowed maximum interaction between experienced meetings' professionals and our experts, during live discussions and best practices exchange" said Pier Paolo Mariotti, Certified Meeting Manager at EURAC Research and Course Director of the ECM Summer School since 2011.

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