This article is being written at a particular moment. The Silesia Convention Bureau has just been inaugurated and is managed by a regional tourism organization with many committed consortium members. It already has important partners in the Silesian voivodeship and has started intensive online marketing activities.
Spain Convention Bureau
During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to work with the Spain Convention Bureau and regional and city convention bureaus from Spain to organize and promote a virtual event for association representatives from Brussels. I was particularly interested in the network of convention bureaus in Spain. The Spain Convention Bureau website is still in my top 5 in Europe. In a country not much larger than Poland, there are 57 congress and meeting bureaus.
Catalonia is also a very interesting case. There are 12 convention bureaus in Catalonia:
- Catalunya Convention Bureau
- Barcelona Convention Bureau
- Costa Daurada Convention Bureau
- Sitges Convention Bureau
- Lleida Convention Bureau
- Tarragona Convention Bureau
- Lloret Convention Bureau
- Baix Llobregat Convention Bureau
- Aran Natura Convention Bureau
- Olot / Pyrenees
- It is interesting to note the division into two separate entities: Costa Brava Girona and City Girona
As another curiosity, it is worth mentioning that in the Barcelona Convention Bureau team, three people work exclusively in cooperation with national and international associations.
Does Poland need more convention bureaux?
Looking at the example of Spain, the question arises as to whether other regions and cities in Poland should have their own convention bureaus. If they have adequate infrastructure (hotel and conference facilities), a significant academic centre, professional companies specializing in event organization, an existing efficient and financially well-organised tourism organization, and importantly, are accessible by transportation, then why not?
Does the city of Szczecin deserve a convention bureau? There are several great venues for conferences in Szczecin. Radisson Blu Szczecin offers 10 modern conference rooms with a capacity of up to 400 people. They also have a dedicated team to assist with planning and executing events. Hotel Novotel Szczecin Centrum, Opera Hotel & Spa and more.
Do not forget to mention Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle – a historic castle in the heart of the city and the modern Philharmonic Hall Szczecin (designed by Estudio Barozzi Veiga) that both can be converted into a congress venue. The distance from Szczecin to Berlin, Germany is approximately 150 kilometres, much closer than to Warsaw.
What about Rzeszów in the eastern part of Poland? Despite the situation in Ukraine, Rzeszów is experiencing its five minutes of fame. The visit of US President Joe Biden and the visit to the G2 Arena, which ended with famous photos by the pizza place, attracted the attention of many to this part of Poland. It is worth noting that the G2A Arena Exhibition and Conference Center of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship is a new member of the ICCA.
Rzeszów is a city in southeastern Poland that is famous for its rich history and cultural heritage. It is also an important economic and academic centre in the region. Some of the things Rzeszów is known for include:
- Rzeszów Castle – a medieval castle that dates back to the 14th century and now houses the Regional Museum.
- Aviation Industry – Rzeszów is a hub of the Polish aviation industry, with major companies such as Pratt & Whitney and MTU Aero Engines having a significant presence in the city.
- Music Festivals – Rzeszów hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the International Festival of Organ Music and the International Festival of Carillon Music.
- Rzeszów University – a major university in the region that offers a wide range of courses and programs.
Is there enough potential for the Świętokrzyskie Convention Bureau or Kielce Convention Bureau? BTW Where the city of Kielce is located? Here are the distances from Kielce to some major Polish cities: Warsaw approximately 160 kilometres and Krakow approximately 130 kilometres.
Kielce is a city in central Poland that is famous for several things. One of its main attractions is the Kadzielnia Nature Reserve, which is home to a large amphitheatre, walking trails, and breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Kielce is also known for its baroque-style architecture, which can be seen in its historic Old Town district. Additionally, Kielce hosts the annual International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO), which is one of the largest military exhibitions in Europe.
Świetokrzyskie can be translated to Holly Cross. Wouldn`t be interesting to name this DMO – Holly Cross Convention Bureau?
What about the suspended Mazovia Convention Bureau? Will the Mazovian Regional Tourist Organization (MROT) decide to reactivate the Mazovia CVB? Why does Mazovia need CVB? It is one of the largest and most populous regions in the country, encompassing several major cities including Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
Mazovia has a rich history and cultural heritage, with numerous historical landmarks, museums, and festivals that attract visitors from all over the world. The region is also an important economic centre, with a thriving business and technology sector.
Should Sopot function separately from the Gdansk Convention Bureau, as it seems to me that the Sopot Tourist Organization is already very actively pursuing business customers? Paradoxically, Sopot may boast the most functional conference centre in the so-called Tri-City (Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia). The Sheraton Sopot Hotel has 3,000 square meters of conference and banquet space consisting of 14 multifunctional rooms. Sopot may also potentially attract other premium event organizers. If such an initiative were to be created in Sopot, it is highly likely that the city of Gdynia would not be left behind.
What is the recipe for success?
However, it should be noted that mass tourism (leisure market) and the meetings industry (also called the MICE market) are two different issues. It is also worth mentioning the termination of Masuria Convention Bureau activities and analyzing why this project did not turn out to be a success.
In a sense, the creation of a Destination Marketing Organization dedicated to the MICE industry is the easiest element in the entire process. Organizing and maintaining the office will bring results only after many, many years. Understanding how this market works takes time, and the key role is played by the people who create the office and the cooperation of the entire local industry. Building relationships and trust in the international events market requires time, patience, and investment.
Marketing for a convention bureau is different
In addition, marketing and creating everything from scratch. A new website, new social media (forget about Facebook) Even in many international convention bureaus, I see that there are no separate profiles for those dedicated to the leisure segment, which is a different target group, different content, and the number of page views or social media interactions will also be different.
More questions decision-makers should ask when creating a Convention Bureau:
- What will be the development strategy of the new convention bureau?
- How many people will be dedicated to working in this office?
- What is your target audience? (associations, corporate, incentive travel)
These are also new activities in the area of CSR, and sustainable development (sustainable events), and it is increasingly important for organizers whether the city/region’s policy is in line with values called Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
In addition to transportation accessibility, appropriate infrastructure, and professionals, the importance of these factors is also growing. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the observations contained in the latest IBTM World Trends Report.
Will there be more convention bureaux in Poland? We’ll see.