There's one thing all great event managers have in common: they know how to harness their environment. And some event professionals are luckier than others because their milieu provides more resources, attracts a bigger number of attendees, and has a more powerful economic and cultural ecosystem, which enables the development of the event industry.
It sounds unfair, but the truth is that the success level of your events depends greatly on the urban environment. As researchers Greg Richards and Robert Palmer state, "The contemporary city is likely to have a large and varied event programme with a mixed economy of events run by the city itself as well as a large range of other stakeholders."
"Obviously living in developed cities has great benefits, especially when it comes to the event industry!", you may be thinking. You're right, yet running conferences, meetings, or festivals in cities with events is different from doing the same thing in eventful cities. According to Richards and Palmer, the difference between cities with events and eventful cities is translated into a series of divergent characteristics.
Cities with events are focusing on competition, have a sectorial approach, and develop as containers of events. Eventful cities, instead, focus on cooperation with the stakeholders of the event industry, have a holistic approach, and are famous for their capacity to generate new events. As Richards and Palmer highlight, the development of eventful cities depends on "the strategic coherence of events, which usually leads to the development of an event strategy and often to the creation of an organisational structure to help coordinate events programmes."
The researchers add, "Successful eventful cities tend to be those that have used their events not only to create physical space, but also fill those spaces with vibrant social and cultural interaction."
This is all well and good, but how it can influence you as an event professional? If you know how to make use of the situation, running events in eventful cities can enable your access to great resources and benefits. Here are a few ideas on how you can make the most of an eventful city’s environment when planning your next event:
Idea #1. Enjoy a powerful event infrastructure
With the increasing number of events, eventful cities have to develop new infrastructure systems. From the expansion and the creation of meeting spaces to airport upgrades (new international flights), the administrations of eventful cities are intentionally building infrastructure facilities to encourage the production of events. Subsequently, this means lots of resources for you to 'play around with' when planning your events.
Idea #2. Engage the local residents
As Richards and Palmer note, when it comes to eventful cities, "local residents of the area in which an event programme takes place are important not only as a possible core audience, but also as event initiators and as a vital source of sustainability for most events." The richness of eventful cities lies in the responsible involvement and active participation of this new group of event stakeholders - the local residents.
Idea #3. Design a successful host application for an international event
If you ever face the challenge of drafting a host application for an international event, you'll be able to attract whatever committee you want. An eventful city has lots of “goodies” you can include in the contest application document. This way, you'll be one step closer to winning and hosting an international event.
Idea #4. Help put your city on the map (so to speak)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to directly influence the life of the city where you are running your events? As Richards and Palmer signalize, eventful cities focus on developing "an integrated approach to the relationship between the city and its events, which maximises the benefits of the event programme as a whole." Thus, if your intention is to make a difference, you can contribute to your city’s ongoing development by producing and running valuable events.
Idea #5. Take simultaneous events into account
An important aspect to think about when planning events is to be aware of what else is happening around the city during your event. Simultaneous events can be often a challenge because of the increased number of international attendees requiring accommodations, which means less hotel rooms and the difficulty of getting a flight. However, the good thing about eventful cities is that most of these events are previously registered. So you can ask the city Convention Bureau to provide you with a list of events that are scheduled for the upcoming months or year, and decide your further steps from there.
By understanding and harnessing your surroundings, you’ll be able to plan and run better events that are aligned with the economic and cultural interests of the urban environment. Knowing how to make use of the situation, and visualizing the benefits eventful cities can offer, you’ll have the skills to navigate the logistical challenges and become a better event professional.