Reviewing the trends and subjects that affect businesses now and in the future, through live debate with a global perspective, the 6th EIBTM CEO Summit took place during EIBTM in Barcelona (www.eibtm.com).
Celebrating global thinking and international insight, the largest number of CEO’s from 20 countries, with guests from China, USA, UAE, Singapore, Canada, India, South America and 12 countries across Europe, gathered to discuss the key theme of “the power of global connectivity”.
“Whilst we can’t influence the current external factors directly, what we can influence is how we manage our business, our strategies and our own respective tactics in the context of this economic environment” said Jeremy Garbett, as he opened this year’s Summit with the umbrella theme of global connectivity and the impact it has on companies and individuals in the meetings and event’s industry.
Professor Dominic Sword, Strategy Consultant and an Independent Financial Economist opened the Summit and suggested that the business world is currently turned upside down. He delivered a substantial economic review with particular reference to BRICS and the new “11” which surround the BRICS. He said that these new destinations will affect the meetings industry as shifts in changing business travel and destinations emerge where new economies are growing. He said, one of the significant changes for the business tourism industry is, “staring us in the face” where a changing global landscape will even see the 10 largest airports in the world by 2030 located in the Asia Pacific region – Heathrow currently the “busiest” is expected to be ranked 4th”.
Swords outlined his “Top 5 actions” to be considered by CEO’s to face the current situation and the future. He asked a critical question “How do you create on-going value in a low growth world?” The answer is …“Review growth plans and priorities, don’t acquire unless thorough due diligence has been carried out, increase contact with existing customers, generate different conversations, scrutinize credit efficiency, keep a fierce grip on overheads and cash flow and address the future (new markets, technology, innovation… and get an app!)”.
When asked what should the industry focus on for their businesses? Professor Swords said “Look at the group of customers you have on your books and discuss with them how you can create value, and also look at who are the most profitable industries – focus on them as prospects”.
Alan Stevens, one of the top 10 media experts in Europe, chose to talk about crisis management and how to manage through both traditional and social media. His role was to get the CEO’s to think about how to handle an unexpected event.
Stevens sums up his advice in the acronym PACE - Preparation, Alertness, Communication and Evaluation, “ You need procedures, training, and you need to have practiced. The first time it happens and your plan is put into action it has to work. Alertness – you need to be monitoring the media, particularly social as it alerts you to a crisis sometimes before it occurs. Communication – decide who will be the spokesperson and should the CEO communicate or not and whoever speaks, it has to be honest, brief, and useful. Finally, evaluate to see how you performed and how the media responded”.
For speed and absolute preparedness Stevens went further and suggested that clients “should have in waiting ‘dark’ press releases and a ‘dark’ website pages with possible generic responses mapped out that only then need to be lightly edited in the light of a major issue.”
Paul Cook, new to the CEO Summit and heading up Clarity Events said, “people should think of the worst that can happen and plan for it rather than bury your head in the sand. We all have to face up to the current situation, properly and diligently gauge the risks, and then to plan properly for various disaster scenarios ”.
Ewan MacLeod, Social Media Expert and Founder of Mobile Industry Review, commented that the size and scale of the present and very active mobile revolution will demand a drastic and innovative response from the meetings industry and business tourism world. He commented “Mobile is where we are going in running not only our personal lives but also our business lives.”
He added “There is vastly more information now being ‘pushed’ towards us and we need as CEO’s to be clever in not only managing this volume but cherry picking quickly and effortlessly the critical information within it. The answer is to use the new technology and apps cleverly to help control and manage the flow. We need to embrace the technology…or it will sink you.”
“Today on average it takes approximately one month to research, decide and purchase via a PC. That whole process is reduced right down to one hour when using a mobile.”
In his closing remarks Garbett commented, “This year’s CEO Summit has provided a relevant, punchy and dynamic insight into our theme of global connectivity. We have had three fascinating and inter-related topics which the audience explored with terrific debates and lively Q & A sessions.” He added “This is the second year of the new evolved CEO EIBTM Summit and I am delighted to report that it is rapidly propelling itself to being of the ‘must attend’ forums for CEO’s in our industry. It truly provides a platform of relevant insight and informed debate that is particularly valuable for our invited guests”.
EIBTM 2012 takes place 27th – 29th November 2012, Barcelona.
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