The geo-political and economic landscape of international association meetings today is facing growing challenges and new models of disruption. This is a fact we all have to live with and the biggest question is how do you survive in such turbulent times?
How do associations ensure that their annual meeting is the key education opportunity in their field, attracting thought-leaders and members alike and bringing in a healthy stream of revenue?
How do suppliers not only win a piece of business but deliver on their promises and build a long-term relationship with the association?
Transparency, candor, openness and honesty are keys to a long-term partnership between associations and suppliers.
The question of transparency has been a hot topic in the international meetings arena for many years and yet still remains an elusive goal we are all striving to achieve, however without it a reliable, trustworthy relationship can never be established.
How can we ensure there is Candor in our collaboration?
Associations should keep in mind to:
- Be very clear and as detailed as possible in their RFP
- Be consistent in evaluating the bids
- Be frank in the feedback and also to those who have lost the bid as this will help them to learn from their experience
- Be as open as possible about the decision making process
- Have an open dialogue with all parties during your preparatory meetings
- Debrief with all your suppliers after the meeting to provide honest feedback
Suppliers (ICCA members) should keep in mind to:
- Answer all questions in the RFP
- If in doubt give the association executive a call to clarify items
- Do not send generic irrelevant information
- Understand how the association operates and what your role can be, not only in terms of the particular meeting, but also in terms of legacy the association and its meeting can leave for the destination.
- Become a partner rather than just a simple one-off supplier
Only if we keep these important points in mind will we have a chance to build stronger and longer lasting relationships.