Benefits of Collaboration

September 25, 2023 by Catriona Anderson

When it comes to organising your next international business event, choosing a destination which aligns with your vision, goals and values is one of the most important decisions in the process. Event planners know that it’s more complex than simply selecting a location with cheap flights and an attractive venue. To elevate an event from the great to the exceptional, the destination itself must add the extra dimension. But creating extraordinary events which tap into the natural advantages of a destination takes expertise and collaboration on a national scale.

Savvy destinations with highly developed internal networks know that this approach works for all: it creates local economic benefit in the form of jobs, income, stronger community ties and the kind of positive brand-building that persists long after the last delegate has returned home; and it unlocks a whole world of possibility for the event planner, with access to expert local knowledge, off-the-beaten-track cultural sights and experiences, and connections to academics and relevant local businesses and organisations. Destinations which collaborate in this way create extensive additional value for the event planner, more rewarding experiences for delegates, and positive lasting benefits for the destination.            

Transforming communities 

Scotland is a compact and accessible country, packed with incredible history, rich culture, dramatic landscapes, and forward-thinking and innovative industries. Known the world over, Scotland is a pioneering destination for a business event.

Scotland’s strengths as an international event destination were further enhanced in 2022 with VisitScotland Business Events’ Transformation Protocol. The aim of the initiative is to facilitate collaboration between event organisers and Scottish partners including VisitScotland, city convention bureaux, key conference centres and venues, PCOs and inbound event organisers – all to make it as easy as possible to organise enriching, unforgettable and sustainable events in the country. The protocol also offers complete support to organisations bidding for events from start to finish, including knowledge exchange meetings and sector and industry introductions.

VisitScotland Business Events has already partnered with a wide variety of organisations from across Scotland including The DataLab innovation centre, Technology Scotland, FinTech Scotland, the Scottish AI Alliance, The Scottish Association for Marine Science, Education Scotland, Social Enterprise Scotland – with more partners being recruited. All partners have committed to work with conference organisers and engaging with delegates to help elevate their event and create real transformations.

This progressive initiative supports the aims and ambitions of the Scottish government, as set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Scotland’s goal is to enable business events, and for delegates to have the biggest positive impact possible when they meet in Scotland, and it is a country ready to embrace those opportunities.

Positive impact 

The Conscious Travel Foundation defines conscious travel as ‘where empathy meets exploration. It requires a clear reason for travel, to examine and understand its impact and to actively choose to explore the world in a meaningful, intentional way.’ Individuals and organisations are increasingly aware of the impact that travel has, not just on the environment, but on the communities that host them.

Scotland is set to become the first country in the UK to be Net Zero by 2045, five years ahead of the rest of the nations in the UK. It is also a destination with a strong commitment to equality and a belief that business events are crucial in driving social transformation. As part of its desire to meet the Scottish government’s policy objectives toward growing economic equality and strengthening the country’s commitment to sustainability, VisitScotland Business Events established its Journey to Change movement to help connect event professionals with local Scottish partners who share those aims.

This forward-thinking initiative helps event organisers find ways to incorporate relevant sustainability organisations into their own events. Organisations such as the educational charity The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS); or social enterprise The Larder – dedicated to providing learning and community development opportunities; and the Innovation Centre Programme, a data science organisation established to support innovation and entrepreneurship across Scotland.

Another incredible local organisation that enables direct social change is Invisible Cities. This social enterprise was launched in Edinburgh in 2016, and trains people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city and offer alternative tours to tourists and locals.

When event organisers include these alternative tours into their events, they will discover the fascinating ‘invisible’ sides of a city, with guides taking delegates on tours which tell their own stories and personal experiences. And importantly, including a tour with Invisible Cities not only supports the guides but the whole organisation, helping to raise awareness of homelessness and give back to rough sleepers or other communities in need.

Expert connections 

Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in demand for events that champion collaboration with local experts and sectors to add extra value to the overall experience for delegates. 

In Scotland your next event can tap into local communities of scientists, engineers, academics and business leaders, and in Scotland the opportunity to share knowledge, make an impact and create lasting connections is unrivalled. 

Scotland has an incredible history of innovation and invention, and on the foundation of this legacy Scotland has become a world leader in renewables, engineering, electronics, technology, life sciences and marine exploration. 

Scotland offers 19 universities, including several top tier institutions such as the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Stirling and St. Andrews, and in each sector there is a multitude of academic and business expertise to enhance your event. 

Incentive to collaborate 

The recent boom in remote working means that need to connect face-to-face with colleagues and clients is stronger than ever, and the growing corporate incentive travel market reflects this trend. The global incentive travel market size was valued at $42 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $216.8 billion by 2031, according to Allied Market research. 

From scenic castle tours to challenging outdoor pursuits in the rivers, lochs and mountains and incredible food and drink, Scotland offers unforgettable experiences in stunning locations. From rooting out the most unusual experiences for your delegates to connecting you with partners on the ground who are committed to environmental and social responsibility, a destination with robust local connections can be a huge boon for your next incentive trip. 

In summary, choosing a collaborative destination ultimately means a richer and more immersive experience for delegates, many of whom are making stricter decisions about which events to attend as budgets become increasingly tight. Connected destinations such as Scotland create extra value for delegates by showing the best the country has to offer. An event becomes an experience, and one with potentially far-reaching future cultural and economic benefits for the destination itself.


Source: EventBase 


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