How to Embrace the Global-Local Trend in MICE
‘Global-local’ is all about recognising the differences between a global and local approach to business and employing both techniques to deliver a consistent but relevant product or service.
In the MICE industry, meetings, events and conferences usually take place all around the world and often companies planning these events will use the same approach no matter where their attendees are. But as personalisation in events becomes more of a priority and the importance of cultural awareness is highlighted, more event planners are hopping on the global-local trend to utilise local resources and deliver a more meaningful experience.
The location of your target audience, whether they’re on another continent or just in a different part of the country, has a significant influence on what they want and what they respond to, and ignoring these differences can majorly impact your success. In this article, we explore how the global-local trend has been impacting the MICE industry, why this is important and how event planners can utilise global-local techniques to improve their offering.
In this article:
Understanding the Need for Locality in Event Content and Production
The global-local trend has been making an impact across a range of industries. The outcome of this impact has varied, but what has remained is the fact that more and more businesses are becoming aware of the benefits of thinking locally when it comes to their offering, as well as globally in terms of their brand image.
In the MICE industry, locality is incredibly important for things like event production and also the content of your events. Not only because of the wider social benefits that we’ll discuss later in the article, but also for practical benefits.
Using local businesses and professionals to help organise and run your events means that you won’t experience any disruptions from deliveries or delays from people travelling from a long way away to reach your event. Working with caterers, venue decorators and hospitality staff that are local and know the venue and/or area also means you benefit from familiarity and more efficiency, which creates a better experience for everyone.
Using local suppliers for your event is also a great way of supporting the local economy and demonstrating to attendees that you care about the places you host your events. It’s also usually more sustainable to use local suppliers, which benefits the image of your event and may help to attract more environmentally-conscious attendees.
Consider locality when it comes to the content of your event as well, such as speakers that are attending, any entertainment and sponsors or traders coming to the event. If you’re hosting a conference in another country for example, you should work to feature local voices on panels or in workshops so that the event feels relevant to local attendees. This will also demonstrate a conscious effort to acknowledge the location of the event and give a platform to people that live there.
Euromonitor International's "Proudly Local, Going Global"
In Euromonitor International’s Global Consumer Trends 2020 report, the concept of ‘Proudly Local, Going Global’ was highlighted as a key trend impacting consumer behaviour. This concept has strong links to what we’re exploring in this article, and we’ll briefly touch on some of the points they discussed to help explain what’s informing this trend.
One phenomenon that links to the growth of locality is an increase in the appeal of individuality and having a strong sense of identity within a specific culture or country. A sense of ‘belonging’ and pride in cultural identity means that a lot of consumers feel strongly about their connection to their location, habits, and traditions and would much rather support brands that align with this instead of those that have a more universal appeal.
On a larger scale, the global-local trend is also massively influenced by the growing need for sustainability in all aspects of life and the way that many consumers are prioritising ethical and local products and services over those that come from an international brand, as highlighted by a survey by Deloitte. Many brands are realising the benefits of using local suppliers in terms of cost, efficiency and customer preferences, and in the events industry, more organisations should start choosing to support local businesses for things like catering, entertainment and hospitality.
This insight from Euromonitor International highlights that the global-local trend is being driven by the sense of pride that consumers have in their local heritage, whether that’s based on the place they live now or the place that they come from. For businesses in the MICE industry to make the most of this trend, they should focus on how they can make their events feel like an extension of the location they’re taking place in and celebrate the cultures or local businesses they’re supporting.
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How the Meetings and Events Industry Can Adapt to the Global-Local Trend
Consult Local Professionals When Planning Events
Considering locality when you’re planning events involves being conscious of the culture and traditions of where your event is hosted. This means ensuring that local attendees feel represented, recognised and celebrated, whilst helping visiting attendees to appreciate the destination they’re in.
The best way to facilitate this, as with any situation when you’re trying to help people feel more included, is to consult someone local during the event planning process. Instead of trying to figure it out yourself, ask for their opinions and suggestions for ways that you can make the most of local resources and activities. This ensures that you’ll strike the right tone with your event and offers an incredibly valuable perspective that is necessary for a better local understanding.
Utilise Hub and Spoke Meetings
Hub and spoke meetings are a meeting format that involves one central ‘hub’ meeting or event and then additional groups or ‘spokes’ that attend the meeting remotely or participate in some way to connect with the main event. This is a fantastic format to make the most of the global-local trend by personalising each of the ‘spoke’ events based on their location and the people attending. You can do this through workshops, activities, venues, meeting hosts and any additional benefits that attendees receive.
Connect Global and Local Audiences with Roadshow Events
Roadshow events are another fantastic format for utilising global-local approaches with your events. This involves hosting your event, whether this is something like a workshop, conference or trade show, in multiple locations, increasing the number of attendees you reach and providing plenty of opportunities for local personalisation.
A straightforward way to make a roadshow event feel more local is to use local providers for the event, such as for catering, event merch, decorations and entertainment. You can also change the lineup of your event to feature local speakers or facilitators to provide a unique experience in each location and acknowledge where you’re taking the event and the people that come from this destination.
Spotlight Local and Sustainable Suppliers
Another great way that meetings and event organisers can support the global-local movement is by spotlighting any local and sustainable suppliers that they use for their events. Make sure that you feature any businesses in event materials and provide links for attendees to check out these suppliers themselves.
This is an important aspect of supporting local businesses and economies and demonstrates that you want to support the providers that helped you put on your event. Promoting these suppliers, especially if they’re sustainable, is also a benefit as it can help to improve your brand image by demonstrating your commitment to greener choices.
Appreciate and Recognise Culture
Finally, an important way to adapt to global-local trends is to work on finding the right balance when appreciating the cultures of the places where you’re hosting events. This matters more when you’re working across countries and continents, but is still worth considering even if your events are just travelling between cities.
Appreciating culture is about recognising the aspects of a country that make it unique and inform the daily lives of the people that live there. You want your event to acknowledge its location, attendees and purpose without going overboard and veering towards appropriation, which is why it’s so useful to consult with local people on your decisions.
This might involve serving local food at events, providing cultural entertainment, or featuring organisations and charities from the area that give attendees an authentic experience and understanding of where they are.
The Impact of Global Awareness and Local Community Values on Society
Whilst there’s still a lot of progress to be made, more conscious work is being done to remove things like unconscious bias and systematic inequality across many industries. Organisations are working to keep up with candidate and customer expectations or risk losing the support of their audience.
Global awareness is teaching society about the value of diversity and highlighting that ignorance of difference simply isn’t acceptable anymore. This is driving the global-local trend because consumers want to feel fully seen and represented by the organisations they support.
Local community values are also being driven by changes across the world in the past few years. Rapid developments in technology mean that we’re all more connected than ever with each other, regardless of distance. Whilst this has many benefits, it’s also highlighted the importance of in-person connection for some people, which has emphasised the impact of local community and being able to feel supported by your neighbours and friends in real life.
Climate change has also highlighted the relevance of local communities as many consumers prioritise making local purchases to minimise the environmental impact of what they buy. A report by FirstInsight has highlighted that supporting sustainable businesses has become more of a priority for all generations in the past two years, and local options are not only often more sustainable but appear more trustworthy in their claims.
This is all contributing to the global-local trend in a big way, with many consumers prioritising making the most of what their local community offers before turning their attention to global providers.
Globalisation and localisation are happening in tandem with one another around the world and across different industries as the potential and applications of global connections are realised, but the importance of the local community is also recognised. MICE businesses are ideally positioned to make the most of this trend and provide more authentic and representative experiences for attendees, as well as improve their organisation’s sustainability and diversity.
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