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Category: Meetings

May 04 2016

Doing Business in the Middle East Briefing, Panel and Lunch – June 7 and 15

Strength of MENA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sector Opportunities

The prosperity and progress of people dwelling beside the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Arabia have been intertwined for more than 6,000 years. Through the centuries, trade and the presence of global powers have created a vast cultural and economic melting pot. Today, a shared heritage underpins massive flows of goods, investment and people. And a process of renewal and convergence is underway, as countries restore connections and rebuild historic strengths. The region known as The Middle East, North Africa (MENA) is composed of 17 countries, speaking 20 languages with a population of over 411,000,000.  The area is composed of some of the highest GDP’s in the world. With the quest to diversify from the dependence on oil and gas reserves to fuel the economies, opportunities for US associations are extensive.

Business services (IT, customer and business process centers) come out as the most dynamic market segment accounting for 12% to 17% of projects in all subregions. Moreover, the digital economy (ICT services and software development) emerges as another strong driver of investment across the region,
reflecting both the development of its industrial and consumer markets, and the increasing availability of a skilled workforce.   Financial services (banking, trading and insurance) have also become a pillar of greenfield investment, particularly toward the Gulf, Middle East and North African areas (12% of projects).  Process industries remain a strong magnet for FDI as the chemicals, machinery and electronics sectors appear to have a good hold in the Middle East.

International investors are looking for new market opportunities everywhere in the region. New sales and marketing operations capture the largest share of investment in four of the five subregions, where they account for 40% to 50% of respective new investments.  In addition, many companies have established manufacturing operations to serve rapid-growth economies of the region and mature European markets.  Business support services draw almost a quarter of FDI each in North Africa, the Middle East and the GCC region, as multinationals and outsourcers established more and more nearshore back offices.

Attend a Special Briefing & Panel June 7 and 15

If your association is considering expanding into MENA, then you will not want to miss Doing Business in MENA panel discussion and luncheon on:

Panellists will include executives from ASCP and the American Urological Association who will share how US associations are growing in the region and the opportunities and ingredients for success. Through presentations and interactive discussions, you will learn successful strategies and concrete examples from organizations that are selling products and organizing events in the GCC and greater MENA.

This event is free of charge and open to associations only. For more information and to register, please click on the links above for either Chicago or Washington DC.

Our program is sponsored by Emirates Airlines and Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts.

Jan 31 2015

Top 10 Sustainable Event Trends for 2020

sustainability engine benefits

For many years, MCI has been active globally among corporations, governments, university and non-profit sectors to develop, implement and promote sustainability strategies for meeting industry destination and service suppliers as well as corporate and association executives seeking to reduce the negative impact of their meetings.  Guy Bigwood, leads MCI’s Sustainability Services group which has produced a number of global chief executive events on sustainability to help to accelerate sustainable practices into corporate strategy around the world.

In demand as a speaker and workshop facilitator, Guy recently wrote an article of the leading trends that will impact meeting and conventions around the world.  Herewith are Guy’s thoughts on the future and its impact on our meetings.

Between now and 2020, we predict that organisers will adopt the following 10 key trends to improve the sustainability performance of their events. Aside from helping the planet, these trends will also improve attendee experiences, build stronger communities and generate significant cost-savings.

1 – Transparency & Ethics

Between now and 2020, organisations will make it a priority to more effectively communicate their sustainability strategies and progress. Event brands and enterprises will become more creative and better at storytelling, and consequently we will see a rise in online sustainability reports such as MCI’s Sustainability Report. International mega events will continue to be closely scrutinised and expected to lead the way in terms of compliance and ethics, with issues exposed quickly when they arise (see Qatar World Cup 2020 as an example.) With the global demand for increased transparency, we’ll see more legislation and an increase in both public and client demand for anticorruption and ethics programmes. The focus on compliance in the healthcare industry will increasingly affect other industries such as technology and finance.

2 – Sustainable Food

In 2014, sustainable food was the number one trend for US Chefs. The demand for locally-produced, organic, Fairtrade and sustainable options will continue to grow in the global events industry, with new research showing that sustainable menus improve overall delegate satisfaction. A growth in demand will cause prices to fall and supply to increase, helping make sustainability a key criteria when selecting caterers and restaurants.

3 – Digital & Collaborative Creation

Mobile event apps and digital technologies have already massively reduced pre and onsite printing. By 2020, hybrid meetings will be now be the norm, reducing carbon emissions from travel and opening up meetings to those who would otherwise have been unable to attend. ‘Collaborative consumption’ and the shared economy will also have had a big impact. Many smaller events will be entirely organised using a mix of collaborative technology platforms such as Uber, AirBnB, TaskRabbit and hotelwalla, while dedicated event technology suites will combine bestin-class tools.

4 – The Power of Procurement

Today, 51% of MCI’s largest clients are already assessing sustainability to some degree, an increase from 25% in 2011. By 2020, sustainability will be a key factor in all purchasing decisions and procurement teams will be playing an increasingly important role in driving and managing a more sustainable supply chain.

5 – Sustainability Strategies Replace One-off Programmes

In 2014, 78% of MCI’s 70 biggest clients reported some form of sustainable event programme (up from 15% in 2011), however less than 10% had a comprehensive sustainability strategy. With resources, standards and tools becoming more readily available, and with more clients citing sustainability as critical, corporates will become more strategic and focused on the sustainability of their events. Today, the technology sector is leading with best practices demonstrated from global giants such as Symantec, Oracle, Cisco and Intel.

6 – Standards & Certification

Adoption of the ISO 20121 sustainable event standard will continue to increase. By 2020, we predict that the majority of large publicly funded events will require compliance with ISO20121, which will also be requested in many large corporate RFPs. There will be a growth in national and regional sustainable event standards, and we will also see a rise in destinations such as Barcelona that obtain independent verification of their sustainability management with certification systems such as Biosphere and Earthcheck.

7 – Waste

By 2020, we’ll have made good progress in reducing the amount of waste produced by an event and diverting that waste away from landfills. Organisers will be thinking “cradle to cradle” and integrating sustainable principles into their initial event design concepts, ensuring that event structures are made from materials that can easily and cheaply be reused, recycled and repurposed. PVC will be phased out, and more bio-materials, eco-substrates and new modular display systems will be used. Food waste unfortunately looks set to increase as the economy gets stronger, however some organisers and local governments may find more creative ways of donating food to local charities and food banks.

8 – Community

Organisations in the meetings industry will become more strategic about how and where they donate their time and money, with many organisations streamlining their donations to one or two key charities with clear links to their brand values and culture. Skills-based volunteerism will also lead the way, matching a charity’s needs to employees’ valuable skills. Online platforms will simplify the task of matching donors to causes, and we may see global web platforms such as Kiva using the event industry to amplify their impact.

9 – Aligned Brand Commitments & Operations

Today a key barrier to putting sustainability into action is the perception that sustainability is expensive, and this is preventing a large number of ‘sustainable brands’ from meeting their own commitments when it comes to sustainable events. Companies like MCI will become more skilled at measuring, validating and communicating the business case for long-term sustainability strategies – which in fact reduce costs, streamline operations and improve performance. As the business case for sustainability becomes louder and clearer, more brands will be willing to align their sustainability actions with their ideals.

10 – Sustainable Destinations

At the start of 2015, only a handful of cities such as Bangkok and Orlando can boast a multi-year destination sustainability strategy for their events industry. Between now and 2020, leading convention bureaus will start bringing together key stakeholders to develop a shared vision for the sustainable development of their city. Just as cities can now demonstrate the economic impact of events on their local economy, local governments will increasingly look to the events sector as powerful catalyst of social and environmental change.

For more ideas, research and best practices on sustainability as a strategy in business and meetings today, continue your reading of Guy and his team here.

 

Jun 16 2014

What Do Successful Associations Do Differently to Grow Globally?

Growers survey

On June 3rd, MCI and the ASAE Foundation released the results of the first year of a multi-year series looking at how successful US associations are growing their business globally. Over 300 associations took part in the first year research effort that uncovered several major trends and common practices among associations who reported growth in membership and product sales in the last three years.

International Member and Product Growth Increasingly Essential to Financial Health

Sixty two percent of associations who indicated that membership and product sales grew in the last three years believe that global growth is either very important or important to their long term financial health.

Growers survey5

Growers Introduce Products into International Markets Much More Frequently

Growers are much more proactive in their activities outside North America, because they:

  • Offer more networking opportunities: 72% versus 46%
  • Host more meetings: 71% versus 45%
  • Run more live professional development: 69% versus 47%
  • Organize more online professional development: 62% versus 55%
  • Offers digital library services: 46% versus 37%
  • Maintain and grow a network of components or chapters: 44% versus 29%
  • Conduct government relations/public affairs activities: 36% versus 16%
  • Enforce industry standards: 32% versus 13%

Growers Conduct International Meetings, Conferences, and face-to-face Training at Significantly Higher Rates than Non-Growers

Seventy one percent of growers reported holding a meeting or convention in one or more markets, and 69 percent reported they are running face-to-face professional development programs. Furthermore, growers are twice as likely as non-growers to hold every type of meeting outside of North America

More Proactive Global Outreach Activities and Practices Lead to Better Financial Growth

Eighty six percent of respondents who have offices outside the United States are growing their membership and products; 2/3’s of respondents have at least one FTE responsible for international business development; and 64% of growers have at least one Board members from outside North America which is almost twice as much as associations who indicated they weren’t growing membership or product sales. Results suggest that those associations who restrict board membership within North America are more likely to report flat membership patterns in the last few years.

Growers survey2

Strategic Partnerships are Vital for Global Expansion and Sustaining Growth

It seems growers and nongrowers all partner with their sister society, but growers in significantly larger numbers expand their partner network to include the local national governments as well as in market commercial partners.

Growers survey3

Future Growth Anticipated from Emerging Markets

Respondents were asked to indicate where they anticipated the greatest growth over the next 3 years. The views among growers and non-growers offer similar yet divergent expectations. Among growers, priority markets are primarily located in the emerging market (China, Brazil and India) while among non-growers, agreement exists about China but they concentrate more focus on countries that represent English-speaking, advanced economies.

Shared Practices among Growers

Finally, our data also uncovered five shared practices among associations who indicated they were growing membership and product sales outside North America.

  1. Growers dedicate greater commitment and effort to global growth.
  2. Growers introduce relevant products and services to international audiences with far greater variety and rates.
  3. Growers work to more tightly integrate global and local operations with the rest of their business.
  4. Growers secure partnerships that open market access and improve local capacity to deliver locally relevant services.
  5. Growers target emerging markets for their future growth.

To receive a copy of the results and report along with info graphics, visit the ASAE Foundation website at this address.

 

Growers survey4