Black Sea & Balkans Conference World Summit 2020

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Basic Event Information

Date: 20-22 February 2020
Location: Varna, Golden Sands Resort, Bulgaria
Organizer: Consulting Cluster Veritas
Client: Consulting Cluster Veritas
Event type: B2B conference

EVENT CATEGORY: B2B | Best Trade Show


Event description and key objectives

The 1st edition the Conference World Summit, focused on the countries of the Black Sea & Balkans region. The event is set to share knowledge, experience, good practices and mostly to be a platform to discover the region of the Black Sea & Balkans and to connect different international players, creating new plannings and opportunities. By organising the BSB Conference World Summit, we would like to emphasize the importance of the meetings & events and the preconditions they create for directly establishing valuable contacts with local and foreign partners, expanding the markets for local companies and increasing their efficiency. By organising the Black Sea & Balkans Conference World Summit 2020, we would like to CONNECT the region, to build bridges and create new ideas for cross-border tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events) projects. It is also an excellent opportunity for the countries and cities and overall business society to showcase their strategic vision for the development of their priority sectors – tourism, energy, culture, IT, automotive and creative industries.

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Key challenges

The BSB CW Summit 2020 is a B2B event targeting and connecting 3 main target groups:

Public sector – local and international – Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Transport, Regional Development Agencies, CVBs, Tourism Boards and Municipalities
• Industry and branch associations, NGOs, clusters and corporate companies from different sectors.
Private sector – Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs), DMCs, Venues, Business Hotels, Independen Event Managers, Marketing and Advertising Agencies and others.

The main challenge of the 1st edition was to involve representatives from the public sector (locally), not only as a partner of the event but also within its programme. Bulgaria, as a destination, is at its early stages of developing national and regional MICE strategy and understanding. The Bulgarian CVB is operating without the support of the ministry of tourism as well as the key national municipalities at that stage. Therefore, to secure a supporting city and to involve representatives from the government structures like the ministry of tourism and ministry of the economy was the biggest challenge and afterwards, a great success for the organisers. The second challenge was the connectivity – though Varna airport is well-connected throughout the summer season and is a connection hub for Wizzair and Turkish airlines, during February many flights were changed. That caused difficulties in flying international delegates and speakers.

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Creativity

Programme flow – the conference was structured with the following concepts in mind:

#EXPERIENCE
#EVALUATE
#EXCHANGE

Different presentation formats, as well as a change of conference rooms and scenarios, brought the additional feeling of a journey, not only among the topics but across the conference facilities of the venue. A special panel within the programme “Top MICE Recipes – The perfect ingredients for successful destination marketing strategy” was delivered in the top roof bar of the hotel, together with a professional cocktail – making the presentation. Another creative element was the implementation of the creative industries within the social programme of the event, by bringing the Eurovision singer at the stage. “Shared views” conference publication – the event has its signature publication, distributed to each participant, gathering summary from each speaker, as well as delivering information for the destination and key MICE players.

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Innovation

The event followed well established international practices for a B2B forum, gathering in its programme a day of info tour, as well as 2 days of well-balanced content programme & networking opportunities. As an innovation for the local market could be considered the overall idea behind the event – to create a conference for the “conference world” – to highlight over and over again, why do we run conferences, why we participate in events, how destinations benefit from events and the importance of creating communities. As an innovation could be considered the idea as well, to run the same event online, just four months after the original event. On the 22 of June 2020, four months after the original format, we have executed an online version of the BSB CW Summit, with same speakers and delegates, following the same programme agenda, where the main idea was to bring back the positive vibes from the original event, to highlight again the importance of the face to face communication and live events. All speakers and delegates were extremely happy to meet again, though this time online, and to recall the good memories of being in Golden Sands, of being together, before the COVID19 storm changing live events world .

Execution

For the first edition, it was among the top priorities for the organisers, to select the best partners possible at each level (venue, technical equipment, catering, logistic and transportation) in order to minimise negative effects and bad outcomes. International Hotel Casino & tower suits, being a five-star hotel with outstanding conference facilities and experienced staff, helped the entire event to be executed as five stars at all levels. All conference rooms, together with the marketing area were properly signed and ventilated, catering was on time served, well-presented and extremely tasty, there were no technical issues with microphones, change of presentation and translation handsets and equipment. During the info tour day all transportation partners were on time, as well as Burgas municipality planned very carefully the intensity of the visits so participants to be as much relaxed as possible.

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Measurable results

Participants (speakers & delegates) – We received top scores from all participants, evaluating the content, choice of venue & accommodation, catering and social program.

Partners – as organisers it was also important for us to measure the satisfaction level among the partners of the event.

Our key partners – Bulgarian Small and Medium Size Enterprises Promotional Agency (BSMEPA) and Burgas Municipality have declared their full satisfaction and confirmed their partnership and involvement for 2021 edition.

Local reach – among the top priorities of the event was to reach national government structures in order to build the grounds for the development of the national MICE strategy. Having the vice minister of Tourism, CEO of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Size Enterprises Promotional Agency and experts from 3 municipalities among the guests and within the program was already a success and positive result for the event.

Event numbers – the number of paid delegates, together with sponsors made the estimated budget for the event.

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Communication

The marketing campaign for the BSB CW Summit started 9 months prior the event with the launch of the conference website www.cwsummit.com, as well as dedicated social media accounts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cwsummit) and group on LinkedIn.

Organisers signed media partnerships with local and international B2B media; (for the local media – Investor.bg and Kapital magazines in print and online, for international – Conference & Meetings World, Exhibition World, Kongres magazine). The event was presented as well at key international events – IBTM World in Barcelona as well at CONVENTA in Ljubljana. The event was also promoted through all its partners and their networks – via the website of Bulgarian Small and Medium Size Enterprises Promotional Agency (BSMEPA) and Burgas Municipality, Bulgarian Convention Bureau, Travel academy, Event Plus, BG Tourism. Each delegate and participant received well in advance information about the speakers and the overall programme, as on-site was given latest details about the locations, times and programme, together with a copy of the Shared Views special conference magazine. After the end of the event, we have run a satisfaction survey among partners and all participants. The event was highly reflected in both – national and international specialised media. The execution of BSB CW light edition, the online format, four months after the event was a great chance to reconnect with all audience – partners, delegates and speakers.

The use of sustainable practices

Connecting with valuable partners to start the event in order to be recognised on a national level. Bringing national and international media partners well in advance in order to gain coverage and inform the world about the initiative. Have a partnering airline for the event, special rates for accommodation. Use of your partners’ networks and channels to inform about the event. Planning a content, which is unique for your market. Understand and evaluate the needs of your audience to meet their expectations and beyond. Start the event and open the conversation prior to the actual arrival of the delegates. Well, balanced content programme – a variety of formats as well as presenters with different backgrounds. Involving more senses to absorb the information (visual effects, smell, change of scene). Something to take in hands after the event. Social networking activities so to build a stronger community. Experience, Exchange, Evaluate concept. Follow up so to keep the communication and conversations going.