Recently I read that the largest cruise ship in the world will move its home base to Barcelona from 2015 giving a boost of almost €30 million to the port and the city as a whole. I reflected on what a wonderful job Barcelona has done in re-inventing itself year on year whilst remaining true to it´s values of creativity, beauty, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.
2014 marks our 11th anniversary of offering unique and creative events for the international and local corporate market so on this day we reflect on the changes that we have seen in the industry and how we have had to adapt in order to remain true to our values.
Vison is all important
Take a building like the famous Sagrada Famila, we can speculate for centuries about what ideas and plans Gaudi may have had for this masterpiece of human ingenuity but we know for sure that the idea existed in his head long before it became a reality. Before we launched LifestyleDMC, we also had a set of ideas which we moulded into a set of values and today everything we do is based on these values. Even though the industry has morphed several times in the last 11 years our values remain the same. Here are the top 5 changes that we have witnessed in the events industry in Barcelona since 2003:
1. Faster turnaround times
I think this could be a universal phenomenon as we are now deeply entrenched in the “I want it now” age. We have found that lead times for proposals have been cut dramatically from what used to be months or weeks to now days and in some cases hours. It is not uncommon for us to get a call in the morning requesting information for that afternoon! Whilst we realise this is the signature of a fast paced industry such as ours, we are obliged to add caution when replying to these type of “fast food” requests. Anyone who has worked with us knows that we have a very fast turnaround time and we have developed an internal checklist of questions and information requirements which need to be satisfied in order for us to produce a fully bespoke proposal. Proposals take time and creative resources and the more information we have the better the quality of our proposals… “quality in quality out”.
2. Hotels… “We will handle ourselves”
Every year between January and March without fail we receive visits from many of the major hotel chains in Barcelona. We are constantly dropping in and conducting our own on the spot site checks of all of the hotels and restaurants we recommend. This gives us a real in depth knowledge of the offline profile of these hotels such as service, WIFI quality etc. However with the increase in social media sites we are finding that the trend in the industry is for companies and agencies to conduct their own searches and to go direct. This is an understandable factor in our business and we have been working with some of the city´s top hotels like the Arts, the W and the Hilton to provide an unparraleld porfolio of activities and services to compliment those offered by the concierge or event departments.
3. It’s gone viral in minutes
When we began Lifestyle Barcelona and LifestyleDMC in 2003, social media was not part of the event industry vernacular and good relationships were built over time, face to face meetings and client testimonials. Today with time as the most valuable commodity, we find clients can do their background searches minutes before even sending us an email.
Social media works well for us as it provides a platform to showcase the quality and depth of our past events see our photo gallery or keep up to date with our current and future events on our Facebook page. You can even read about the owners of the company on our linkedin profiles Tony Anagor and Raquel Consul. It also allows us to fully research our clients and get a feel for what kind of events and programs they really like. Twitter is also a great change in our industry it allows our clients to immediately let their whole network know where they are and what they are doing… And they do! Last week we created a specially bespoke event for a telcoms company the James Bond flash mob Dinner went viral in days and since then we have received several requests to organise this event in various locations in the city. Another example of a great event going viral is our travel with the FC Barcelona players. This amazing experience has been tweeted and face booked so many times, it was one of our most popular activities for incentives and rewards last year.
A few years ago I wrote a post called collaboration is better than competition. I also started a linkedin group called The Spain events community. I have always believed that we get much further in business when we collaborate instead of compete.
I am pleased to say that many professionals in the Barcelona Events industry are now following this philosopghy and seeing some fantastic results. Our industry, it has been said, is made up of nice people doing nice business, after 11 years in the industry I couldn´t agree more. A well placed team building or incentive event sees everyone winning, the clients, the delegates and the organising agency. The secret to a successfull collaboration is to know your own strengths and values and collaborate with companies that compliment them.
5. Structured learning Programs
Over the last 3 years structured learning programs have made a robust and welcome entry to our industry. We have been receiving requests to organise learning programs around topics of leadership, communication skills, conflict resolution, team building and efficiency within teams. For the last four years I have collaborated on several programs at one of the world’s top business schools IESE working on the MBA , Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA and bespoke corporate programs. These programs dove tail neatly into our range of offsite activities and stunning venues to offer our delegates a full immersion learning experience in Barcelona. We have observed the importance that past clients such as Nike and Pespico place on this type of event I think this is a real growing trend in the events industry as corporate companies seek to combine the fun element of an incentive trip with some structured learning frameworks and clearly measureable outcomes.