Despite the uncertainty surrounding the current portfolio, the general willingness and attitude of organisers to postpone rather than cancel their events is very positive. Only 14 events have been dropped from the schedule, while most events have been postponed to autumn 2020 or the following year, as long as the health authorities agree.
The shift in the global environment due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus has drastically hit the MICE tourism industry, which is one of the main drivers of local economies. The Conference Centre, as a specialist venue in this sector, is gearing up to adapt to the new challenges posed and to sustain Valencia as a benchmark conference destination.
The entire team at the Conference Centre is working seamlessly at a strategic, tactical and operational level to turn this threat into an opportunity for improvement and progress. This task also includes the Centre's suppliers or "strategic allies", whose contributions help to attract business. The initiatives that are being carried out are aimed at optimising expenditure, minimising the loss of events and intensifying efforts to win new bids that will help to boost the portfolio and generate new income.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the current portfolio, the general willingness and attitude of organisers to postpone rather than cancel their events is very positive. Only 14 events have been dropped from the schedule, while most events have been postponed to autumn 2020 or the following year, as long as the health authorities agree. This situation will lead to a very positive year in 2021 with 85 events already confirmed, in addition to the reservations that will arise following the Centre's reopening. Moreover, in recent weeks, the team has submitted 22 bids for congresses and conventions to be held up to 2027. One of the most important bids won is for a national congress to be held in Valencia in three separate years (in 2021, 2024 and 2027), which will be attended by more than 1,000 people on each of these occasions.
In order to attract new business, work is being done on research and innovation projects, such as the so-called PalconExpand initiative, which will equip the Centre with the latest technology to host "hybrid" events, enabling up to 10,000 virtual participants to be accommodated alongside the delegates physically present at the venue. The Mapping Project adds powerful lighting equipment and 3D projection mapping designed and built for the purpose to the current infrastructure, resulting in spectacular staging options. "Your Signage" and "Your Event" offer organisers customised presentations, as though they were "tailor-made suits" of their events, providing visual technology, animation and 3D features, and enabling personalised experiences of their meetings to be shown before they actually take place. In addition, the Overflow Project envisages the creation of an interconnected congress space to hold large meetings of more than 3,000 people whilst maintaining social distancing.
Alongside these initiatives, inter-departmental working groups have been set up. These groups foster the participation of all staff members and aim to develop initiatives that concern the organisation as a whole, such as promoting social commitment based on compliance with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and updating the procedures established to manage crisis situations such as the current pandemic.
Sylvia Andrés, the Valencia Conference Centre's Managing Director, explains that "anticipating the changes taking place in the industry will make a difference when the crisis ends and will help to mitigate its consequences. We see this moment as a hiatus, which we are taking advantage of to work on the future. This means that when the time comes, we will be ready to give our best once again".
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.