Story and photos by By Jennifer Wood, BA, CMP
Visit Denmark and Wonderful Copenhagen CVB invited international forward thinking guests to power-mingle and experience the beauty of Copenhagen early this summer.
Over 80 planners and media from all over the world took part in Meetings and Incentive Networking in Denmark (MIND) FAM in June. When we included the host partners we numbered nearly 150 industry professionals. From my planners’ perspective, that’s a whole lot of logistics to manage. I admit that planners can be pretty high-maintenance, critical and discerning, but I have to admit there wasn’t a single flaw in their concept, planning or execution. Speaking with new-found colleagues on this trip, it was a rare opportunity to gain an international perspective on events from content development to space set-up, to language and cultural differences, to creative food and beverage alternatives.
Their FAM was based on Meetovation, a distinctive Danish concept designed to utilize conference facilities, their environments and set-ups in new and innovative ways to actively engage participants. Meetovation is based on: the involvement of delegates, the creative use of physical facilities, green and responsible operations, the integration of authentic and local flavour, and measuring the return on investment.
True to the Meetovation model, the most memorable component was the inventive format organizers executed throughout the trip. This wasn’t your typical site inspection experience with hotels lined up back-to-back that blur into one indistinguishable ballroom image. Instead, they catered to our oft-overlooked need for continuing education, designing the itinerary in the style of a conference with knowledge-laden sessions.
The international guest speakers utilized innovative technology to support their messages in a ballroom filled with randomly placed mismatched ergonomic seating options.
In addition to the plenary sessions, every property featured on our three-day itinerary was tasked with conveying their sales information in a creative workshop environment. For example, the Clarion Hotel Copenhagen session allowed us to experiment with room design that supported the objective of the meeting. Props were stacked in the middle of the ballroom, and groups were allowed to take as many pieces to create a meeting space within our time allotment on the ballroom floor. We presented our fictional meeting case to the group at large, explaining why we chose the pieces we did and how it stimulated learning, participant involvement and meeting effectiveness. We had so much fun during the session, that one of the ball props became a soccer ball during an impromptu game that united us, regardless of language, gender or geography.
The Copenhagen Marriott Hotel presented their food and beverage on the tailgate of an electric car. Their PowerPoint presentation was powered by one of the guests – me in our case – using pedal-power to generate energy. As part of going green, 51 per cent of food consumption in Copenhagen’s public venues is organic with a goal to reach 90 per cent by 2015. We often walked or were shuttled via bicycle rickshaw from one site to the next. .
Scandinavia’s largest city, Copenhagen, boasts exotic Nordic foods, retains historical significance (reread King Lear when you get a chance), and exhibits clean Scandinavian design-style. Their streamlined exterior architecture influences interior décor, meeting and guest room set-ups. Their new convention centre can host up to 20,000 delegates. Denmark leads the world in environmental initiatives: 60 per cent of Copenhagen’s hotel rooms are certified green, and the country claims 40 per cent of the global wind power market. Copenhagen has mastered the art of being a world-class meeting and convention city with an efficient airport connected to the world as well as to their local train and metro systems twice ranked Best Metro in the World. In 2011 Air Canada launched their non-stop flight from Toronto.
About the author:
Jennifer Wood, BA, CMP is president of Convene Inc., and Executive Producer and Host of FAMTriptv.com