mia Destinations Summit 2019

Destinations Summit

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) hosted its second Destinations Summit on 11 and 12 February 2019 at the Hilton Liverpool City Centre.

Organised by the mia’s Destinations Group, the dynamic two-day event welcomed over 50 delegates from 20 UK destinations to share best practices and insights.

Industry titan and CEO of Vienna Convention Bureau, Christian Mutschlechner, opened the summit by drawing on his successes from over 40 years in the industry, sharing three key events that secured the CVB as a global leader.

Key takeaways included the importance of thorough research, which was gained as part of the annual Vienna meetings industry report, the awareness harnessed from an innovative coopetition partnership between Vienna and Barcelona and the benefits of using a disruptive model to achieve mutual objectives.

Sponsors of the event, VisitBritain, shared results from a variety of research projects, with the national tourism agency’s Kerrin MacPhie detailing data from the newest IPS report, and Fiona Macdonald and Jamie Ades showcasing opportunities, objectives and characteristics of the inbound Chinese market. VisitBritain also shared their five-year strategy and plan.

Meanwhile, a number of case study-led sessions shared best practices from specific destinations. Jenny Jensen from Liverpool Convention Bureau and Rachael McGuickin from Visit Belfast both evaluated how they’ve worked with stakeholders to achieve success and align strategies with key sectors while destinations also had the opportunity to share best practices on bid documents in a closed discussion.

Other key topics discussed over the two days included sustainability, digital, social and SEO strategy, accommodation booking, branding by Julian Stubbs and the power of people delivered by keynote speaker Jane Cunningham.

The conference closed with a thought-provoking interactive session that challenged the traditional working models of the industry, delivered by Graeme Mackay from Aberdeen Convention and Events Bureau.

Paul Szomoru, destinations chair for the mia and head of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “The mia Destination Summit was a huge success featuring a clear atmosphere of genuine collaboration and goodwill with every one of the 20 destinations in the room proactively involved in the discussions.”   

Emma Thurlow, VisitBrighton Convention Bureau Sales Officer, said: “Huge thanks go to Liverpool Convention Bureau, VisitBritain Events, the mia and Paul Szomoru for hosting a brilliant conference – so many take aways my head hurts but all so valuable. It was also wonderful to catch up with all the other conventions bureaux- what an amazing job we do! Let's do it all again next year!”

Rachael McGuicken, director of business development at Visit Belfast, said: “It’s such a brilliant opportunity to discuss the big opportunities and challenges for destinations in an open, honest environment and share and learn from our colleagues across the UK! Great job mia.”

Paul Szomoru added: “While we’re really keen to start planning the programme for next year’s summit, we will be looking at the areas that sparked the biggest conversations and how we can now work together to develop these further in the meantime.”

The mia Destinations Summit was sponsored by Visit Britain and hosted by Liverpool Convention Bureau.