FIRST OFF: European integration needed for meetings

I received an illuminating e-mail from an agency recently on the differences between North American and European meetings. The author outlined eight main areas where the key differences are thought to lie, from creativity to budgets. The article also highlighted the fact that Canadian and American events tend to be fairly homogeneous in nature, irrespective of whether they are held in Toronto or Tennessee, because of a shared common culture.

In Europe, by comparison, the actual production of events tends to be done on a regional basis throughout the individual European countries.

This results in the fact that there is no such thing as a true "European

meeting, but rather a smorgasbord of different styles meaning that elements such as the message delivery, the choice of speakers, decor, food and attendance management, may vary according to the prevailing local preferences.

The way that cultural differences can influence the choice of destination, presentation techniques and the modalities of event organisation was in evidence at the judging for this month's pan-European EIBTM Awards. In terms of destinations for instance, some countries may have traditional links with countries that would not naturally be first choice in the UK; in the same way that British groups might go to Gibraltar, for example, French ones may opt for Morocco.

Certainly, there is no right or wrong way to produce a meeting, but taking into account the various national quirks and idiosyncrasies of event planners elsewhere in Europe may help UK agencies bolster their own repertoire of proposals for corporate clients.

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