The ninth edition of Meetings Week Poland (MWP) was devoted to the meetings industry 2.0, i.e. to the transformation that both the industry and the tools it offers are undergoing. The participants, touching upon various aspects of the meetings and events market, saw - in a difficult pandemic situation - the opportunity to create a market from scratch and take advantage of the chance to make a difference.
Meetings Week Poland is an event organised by industry associations and institutions, universities and media. It serves both to build the position of the meetings industry among customers, as well as provides an educational and integrative meeting of the industry.
The programme of the ninth edition consisted of eight sessions. They dealt with issues related to the functioning of the meetings industry in the new social, economic and communication reality. The meeting in the virtual formula was attended by 20 speakers and 44 panelists, and more than 700 participants registered on the platform where the event was held.A sort of a reference point for the discussions about the market was provided by the premiere presentation by Aneta Książek, Manager of the Poland Convention Bureau, Polish Tourist Organisation, of data on the MICE sector in Poland (Meetings and Events Industry Report in Poland) and Europe (The Impact of the Coronavirus on the European Meetings Market).
Meetings industry important for the economy
Meetings Week Poland was officially opened during the Poland Meetings Destination session (organised under the auspices of The Warsaw Voice) by the event's patrons: Andrzej Gut-Mostowy, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology responsible for tourism, and Anna Salamończyk-Mochel, Vice President of the Polish Tourism Organisation. Minister Gut-Mostowy described the meetings industry as one of the key areas of the economy. He announced significant support for business tourism under the National Recovery Plan. Anna Salamończyk-Mochel also stressed the value of the meetings industry for the country's economy and the importance of building partnerships and cooperation in the field of tourism. She spoke, among others, about the need to build a broader strategy for the development of the meetings industry in Poland. In turn Dawid Lasek, Chairman of the Expert Council for Tourism at the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology, stressed that the development of our sector is a rescue, and a coherent strategy should combine the potential and experience of staff with the government vision of economic intensification of Poland.
Participants of the session, whose partner was the Warsaw Tourist Organisation, agreed that the role of the meetings industry for the Polish economy should not decrease as a result of the pandemic. On the contrary, the dynamic development of the economy is not possible without an even faster growth of this industry than before. In addition, panel participants representing, among others, convention bureaux of Łódź, Kraków, and Warsaw, pointed not only to the risks but also to the opportunities that arise from the changes that have occurred in the meetings market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are ready for the era of new competencies, professions and education
"New era of the best of the best" - thematic block organized by the Polish Conference & Congress Association (SKKP), was entirely devoted to competencies and employees of the future. The background for the expert discussion was a presentation of Dr. Bartłomiej Walas and the resulting thesis, that change management and the risk associated with it are among the most important competencies of the new normal. During the discussion, the experts talked about new combinations of competences, competency reshuffling, new opportunities and risk areas created by effective online migration and whether and to what extent Polish universities effectively respond to the dynamically changing market needs. In reference to these issues SKKP presented an offer of trainings under the name of SKKP Academy online, and also awarded the winners of the competition for the best master's and bachelor's thesis "Meeting Industry for 5!"
Incentive travel as a cure for the evils of social isolation.
The session "Incentive travel in a new reality" prepared by SITE Poland and the Association of Incentive Travel Organisers (SOIT) began with a summary of the sector's transformation made by Grażyna Grot-Duziak (President of SITE Poland). The presentation containing the analysis of the situation and trends in the incentive travel industry and the conversation of experts (Aneta Książek, PCB PTO, Alicja Panasiuk, Accor Hotels, Grażyna Woźniczka, SITE Poland, Polka Travel, Łukasz Adamowicz, SOIT, BFC Group, Robert Andrzejczyk, PLL LOT) in the panel moderated by Magdalena Kondas (MeetingPlanner. pl) led to conclusions that agencies, hotels, airlines and convention bureaux are fully aware of new requirements and are ready to organize trips, always putting safety as a priority. Despite the fact that agencies face dynamic changes with suppliers in different countries and uncertainty, they perceive these difficulties as an opportunity to optimize their work, look at the creation of new offers, discover new attractions and destinations. The agency is increasingly becoming an advisor and support for the client in achieving their business goal. The panellists agreed that trust and partnership on the part of each market participant will be crucial in rebuilding the industry. Experts also see a huge role for incentive travel in the integration of remotely working teams. - The role of incentive travel will increase after the pandemic. They will be the first to revive in the entire MICE market - said Robert Andrzejczyk, Director of the Sales Office of LOT Polish Airlines. According to Łukasz Adamowicz, vice-president of SOIT, incentive travel is a cure for the evil of social isolation at the client level. - It's important that we use this time of new opening to create new products tailored to our new teams. And this is an appeal to the agencies and the clients - let's create our market anew, let's take advantage of the opportunity for change - he concluded the discussion.
The Association of the Event Industry (SBE) dedicated its session to the key challenge of events 2.0, namely, cyber security. During the educational debate, Anna Coban (Legal Coban), Łukasz Kistar (expert in [cyber]security), Krzysztof Dobrowolski (ConnectTo), Janusz Jabłoński (BERM), and as moderator Dagmara Chmielewska (SBE President) undertook the task of defining the event 2.0. They discussed such issues as cyber security in events, legal aspects, protection of personal data of event participants, securing tools for organizing events, threats faced by the event industry during the production and transmission of online events and duties that event organizers should meet in this regard. Experts emphasized that the responsibility for event security or data protection lies with both the agency and the client. Such a key element of an event as cyber security should also find a special place in the event budget. In the new event reality there is no place for organizing events without proper preparation, hoping that they will succeed.
Sociological effects of the pandemic will be reflected in the meetings industry
MPI Poland Chapter with invited experts decided to look at the sociological effects of the pandemic and their impact on the transformation of the meetings industry. Sociologist Prof. Henryk Domański (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw) spoke about the attitude towards the pandemic depending on social position. Prof. Radosław Kossakowski, UG, PhD (University of Gdańsk) indicated the main conclusions from research available in Poland on social life in times of pandemics. The analysis concerned such dimensions as: professional work, social relations, ways of spending time, social emotions, and changes in physical activity habits. The final presentation was an economic and technological approach to the meetings industry in times of pandemic, presented by Prof. Krzysztof Borodako (Cracow University of Economics). The presentation referred to the changes in the economic and technological area of event organisation, while presenting six pillars of innovation-oriented companies.
Young leaders still want to work in meetings industry
Future Leaders Forum organized in partnership with IMEX and MPI by students of the Warsaw School of Tourism and Hotel Management Vistula under the guidance of Dr. Krzysztof Celuch for the sixteenth time gathered inspiring speakers representing all sectors of the meetings industry. In their presentations and speeches they referred primarily to the development and building of careers, education, but also changes in the market that have occurred over the past several months. Among the guests of the forum were Aoife Delaney (DMC Network, President of SITE Global), Wojciech Liszka (President of Z-Factor), Aida Bella (Director of the Press Office, spokesperson for Totalizator Sportowy), Miguel Neves (social media strategist, editor in chief of EventMB) or Jessie States (Director of MPI Academy). In the panel on education, moderated by Krzysztof Celuch, participated: Olga Krzemińska-Zasadzka (Power), Diana Jabłońska (Dan-Kart), Paweł Lewtak (Syrena Warsaw Hotels), Aleksandra Komosińska (Hotel Bristol), Paulina Zawadzka (Crowne Plaza Warsaw - The Hub). As part of the Future Leaders Forum in partnership with IMEX-MPI a regional semi-final of the global IMEX University Challenge competition was held, which was won by Anna Kostrzynska, a student from the Vistula University of Tourism and Hotel Management.
MP Power Awards - the clout of the events industry
The last session of this year's MWP, organised by MeetingPlanner.pl, was a kind of summary of the transformation of the meetings and events market by representatives of the companies listed in the Top 10 event agencies in the MP Power Awards competition. Despite an extremely difficult year, the interviewees noticed many opportunities thanks to which the new, rebuilt meetings and events market may paradoxically become even stronger and more valuable for the customers whose business goals it pursues. The clout of the event industry is confirmed by the entries to the MP Power Awards competition, of which this session was a summary and also an invitation to the final gala.
A new feature of the 9th edition of MWP was the Open Pitch session. Anyone who wanted to present their idea, voice their opinion or point of view on a given topic, could join the group of speakers and appear during Meetings Week 2021. Małgorzata Bartosik (WindEurope), Rafał Kassan (winner of the SKKP contest Meetings Industry for 5!) and Lidia Popławska (Eventy Diamenty) gave their presentations in this formula.
The organizers of Meetings Week Poland are: Polish Conference and Congress Association (SKKP), MPI Poland Chapter, Event Industry Association, Incentive Travel Organizers Association, SITE Poland, Polish Tourist Organization Poland Convention Bureau, Warsaw School of Tourism and Hotel Management, The Warsaw Voice and MeetingPlanner.pl. The coordinator of this year's edition was Anna Jędrocha - vice-president of SKKP.
Partners of the event were: Poland Convention Bureau PTO, Convention Bureau - Wroclaw, Brill AV Media, Symposium Cracoviense, Rent Design, Syskonf.
The event took place on 22 - 23 April and was produced in the studio of Brill AV Media in Warsaw and on the Syskonf platform.