53rd ICCA Congress
Why attend?
General summary - why attend?
1. Strong, custom-designed education programme for senior industry practitioners.
2. Business opportunities for all delegates throughout the event programme.
3. Exceptional networking: high level and global in scope.
4. Experience ICCA’s innovative use of technology.
5. Expected participation of over 1,000 attendees.

General summary - who should attend?
1. CEO’s, company owners and senior directors: meet, exchange information, and do business with your peers from around the world.
2. Middle managers in Sales & Marketing: groom your organisation’s future leaders by exposing them to cutting-edge thinking and a better understanding of global competitive developments.
3. Multiple delegates from each member: there will be too much in the programme for one individual to absorb. Many member companies will be sending two or more delegates.
4. Members who have never previously attended: the Congress offers an excellent way to understand how to get the best Return on Investment (“ROI”) from ICCA membership.
5. Potential members: members are encouraged to let ICCA Head Office know about contacts who would make suitable, high quality new members, and who could be invited to attend as Observers. 

General summary - which budgets can be used to attend the Congress?
1. Marketing budget: delegates will have numerous business opportunities and will learn how to use ICCA’s tools and services effectively.
2. Education budget: intensive peer-group knowledge exchange plus input from senior clients and outside experts provides far greater ROI than traditional training courses.
3. Membership budget: include Congress costs in your annual membership budget code so you are able to send at least one delegate each year.

Each year ICCA puts together a comprehensive 3 day education programme specifically for that year’s Congress, bringing together a creative mix of clients, external experts, and a wide range of those ICCA members who are undertaking the most innovative and exciting initiatives around the world. We avoid “off-the-shelf” presentations to ensure that the content is custom-designed to be as relevant for ICCA members as possible. A large proportion of the content is designed to stimulate strategic thinking and to consider future directions in which our industry is likely to evolve, and the economic, technological and societal changes that are driving this evolution.

More than 100 contributors drawn from all regions of the world participate each year as speakers, panellists, moderators, and discussion leaders - not only sharing existing know-how and experience, but creating entirely new practical ideas and alternative ways of thinking about the meetings industry.

As well as our traditional highlights, the ICCA Best Marketing Award and the Copenhagen-Denmark Lecture, we will be including five half-day “conferences-within-the-congress” mini-programmes on strategic thinking (“CEO Deep Dive”), Fundamental of bidding for association meetings, Advanced Bidding, PCO Hot Topics, and Healthcare Congress issues (such as regulatory changes, funding models, CME) .  We’ll also be featuring some short, sharp sessions to stimulate fresh thinking, lots of small group sessions with selected speakers for delegates who want to explore subjects in even more depth than usual, and offsite surprise sessions that combine local flavours with innovative ideas to improve your business.  As always we’ll be bringing in outside experts from a range of industries and top clients, particularly from the association meetings sector, and we’ll be drawing on the tremendous experience of our own members.  Some of the key topics: Big Data, how to exploit intellectual capital, new models of collaboration, strategic thinking behind evolution in both corporate and association meetings sectors, effective industry advocacy. 

Members with great case studies or personal viewpoints they wish to share are encouraged to approach ICCA CEO Martin Sirk directly at m.sirk@icca.nl: there are frequently spaces available until shortly before the Congress, and we always try to find a way to fit good ideas into the programme. In particular, members with great examples of marketing are encouraged to enter these in the ICCA Best Marketing Award – open at no charge to any members whose ideas or projects are creative, well-designed and delivered, and which generate a strong return on investment. Again, contact Martin Sirk if you want to know more.

Following on from last year’s successful experiment, once more in Antlaya we’ll be investing in specialist moderators to run many of the sessions, to ensure that our Round Table discussions extract the maximum possible value for each and every delegate.

There will also be practical, hands-on training available in how to use the ICCA Database and the new Big Data Search tools (including the launch of Version 2), getting the most out of the PR Kit, and discovering how to use other ICCA resources. This will be both in group sessions and one-on-one with a member of the large team of ICCA staff who will be present.

The ICCA Congress is not just about high level education and exceptional networking. There are also opportunities for delegates to exchange detailed information about key international events they have recently hosted or helped to organise. More and more delegates are signing up for this “Business Exchange” option at the Congress, which allows them to return to their offices with literally dozens of potential business leads, or new and invaluable information about specific events which they are already in the process of trying to win for their company or destination. We will be using the Spotme mobile application to assist delegates to identify and meet up with colleagues who hold information on events they are interested in. This process runs throughout the whole length of the event.

Also part of the ICCA Congress is the “Expert Advice Appointments” programme. Those members who are offering services to other ICCA members will be available throughout the Congress for one-on-one meetings which can be set up in advance or on site – this is a particularly valuable new (and free) service for consultants, media, IT and AV, marketing representation companies, and other suppliers of Meetings Support services, enabling them to showcase their areas of unique expertise and knowledge, and helping delegates create a personalised Congress that meets their specific business needs.

More and more ICCA members are doing business with one another, and the Congress offers the ideal environment to identify new potential partners, suppliers of services, or clients for your own products and services. Delegates will be interviewing overseas marketing representatives, organising user-group meetings, and testing market reactions to new products and services. Over two-thirds of our delegates have high level budget responsibility, and approximately a quarter will be meeting planning specialists who offer access to both association and corporate clients and their events. ICCA aims to make the Congress a valuable business opportunity for each and every participant, since we understand and appreciate the investment in time and cash that attendance represents.

The international association meetings market segment is proving itself to be the most resilient segment, enabling destinations and companies which have targeted this business to cope, and in some cases to thrive, during the current turbulent economic environment. ICCA membership is the most cost-effective way to penetrate this market segment, and attendance at the Congress represents an intensive “Master Class” in how best to achieve this penetration. This is probably the most compelling business rationale for attendance for any ICCA members who are not yet fully exploiting this market segment.

Ask any delegate to an ICCA Congress about what makes it unique, and the most common answer is sure to be that we deliver high level delegates (two thirds are CEO’s, company owners, or senior level directors) and a truly global audience.

We have invested heavily in technology (the Spotme mobile application), so that each delegate will find it easy to identify and get in touch with every attendee they wish to communicate with. This contact information will remain available to all delegates for years after the Congress, further enhancing the networking value of being a member.

The contacts ICCA members make at the Congress can play a powerful role in delegates’ future personal career development, providing help and advice in solving problems, offering information on recently hosted international events, and exposing individuals to new business cultures and ways of overcoming business challenges.

Social responsibility
ICCA will continue to run its congress in an environmentally friendly manner. Educational content will all be electronically available, delegate feedback will be collected electronically only, badges will be biodegradable, no congress bags are handed out, and numerous other small incremental environmental initiatives are underway. However because of its high utility value and the amount of useful data that we need to get across regarding our most complex-ever choice of activities, the main congress programme guide will continue to be printed.