When hard times come, associations must respond to their members’ needs. Climate change, the need for sustainability, society transformation, unprecedented health crises, industry development, economic progress: we constantly need answers and tools to face our dynamic reality.
If there is one thing the COVID-19 crisis taught us about, it is the need and the benefits of improving digitalisation. In only three months, webinars, digital interviews, interactive online platforms have spread all over the world in all kinds of fields. In the meetings industry, we have seen digital conventions being organised, virtual conferences broadcast, keynote speakers talking from their living-room or digital courses on free-access: suddenly something very natural has been added to this, sometimes too conventional, world.
At ECM, after the spread of the crisis, we immediately felt the need and the duty to be by our members’ side even when apart, supporting them and offering them new digital communication content through our latest initiative #aNewTomorrow. Our aim? Helping our members to keep on preparing a ‘new tomorrow’ for DMMOs and adapting our strategy (2019-2022) ‘Tomorrow Today’, and our brand. What is unique about ECM is actually this capacity to stay agile and tailor the association according to our members’ needs: ECM is made by DMMOs for DMMOs and this is our strength.
The purpose of the #aNewTomorrow initiative is to share ideas and challenges, and find inspiration in new practices and different approaches. How? Thanks to webinars, articles, collaborative dashboards, Zoom conversations and discussion groups, our COVID-19 resource centre forms a critical part of the capability and the potential of the association. In less than a month, we built an entire panel of digital communications with Group NAO.
We started with a discussion group and a collaborative platform in order to collect all available information together and achieve mutual knowledge on the COVID-19 crisis situation in our industry. Then, we launched our webinars series, offering our members insights on strategies for a sustainable recovery, tourism stigma, etc.
Our members’ response was really positive and we decided to push our analysis forward. Thus, we published, in collaboration with TOPOSOPHY, The DMMO COVID-19 Continuity Checklist – An ECM Guide for Sustainable Recovery, a relevant and lucid tool for DMMOs in this unprecedented time to face new challenges. The purpose of this paper is to share insights that will help our colleagues, local entrepreneurs, political decision makers, visitors and local communities.
“This practical and pertinent tool for a sustainable recovery is presented in three stages: Response, Recovery and Resilience”. Petra Stušek, ECM president, declared. “While keeping the dialogue, we want together as DMMOs to make the right decisions and learn from the experience of others. The Checklist spans an extensive period precisely because the process of recovery is expected to be long, uneven and unpredictable.”
Today, we’re still far from achieving a new normal reality and we want to continue empowering the conversation with our members on future challenges. With the aim to share knowledge and support each other, we have launched the Long Thinkers Panel as part of ECM #aNewTomorrow initiative. We identified some of the most experienced and bravest thinkers in their fields to decode what is happening now, what happened before and what might happen next. We are inviting each of the Long Thinkers to share their thoughts on specific topics such as innovation and marketing strategies during recovery, travel influencers’ key role during the crisis, tourism innovation, etc. Each of them is sharing their perspective on the long-term impact and how we can imagine the future of tourism.
For instance, we recently published an article on The Future of the Experience Economy, written for ECM by B. Joseph Pine II, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and co-author of The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money. In this article, Pine explains that there will be a new tomorrow for the experience economy through transformation, digitalisation and experience platforms. Destinations have to change their perspective and transform their strategy in order to be relevant and attractive.
Following ECM General Assemblies on June 10, our members decided to adapt our strategy to the current situation approving a precise strategic action plan based on eight steps:
ECM also proposes to bring the industry closer in those challenging times by giving advanced professionals the opportunity to interact on a more strategic level through a revisited version of the ECM Summer School, virtually, on August 24-26. This ECM Summer School 2.0 is a sort of executive dialogue for experienced professionals of the industry working in convention bureaux, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, airlines, conference venues, congress centres, convention centres, exhibition centres, suppliers of ancillary and other products…
The three sessions will be dedicated to strategic outlooks for the meetings industry, understanding the world of clients and suppliers, and moving towards a smart recovery. Presentations, panel discussions and breakout conversations… The participants will have the unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and converse with the faculty members and their fellow European peers during breakout sessions.