MD EVENTS EXHIBITOR PROFILE AT THE MEETING SHOW 2015
In The Meetings Show’s regular feature, we introduce visitors and hosted buyers to some of the exhibitors they can meet when they come through the doors at Olympia later this year. This month, we hear from Chris Wells, Business Development Manager at MD Events, who discusses some of the recent changes the company has gone through and what visitors and hosted buyers can learn from one of the best kept secrets in the industry when they visit their stand.
Tell us about MD Events?
MD Events is a leading international meetings and events management agency. One client commented recently that we were the “best kept secret” in the industry. But we have been around for 13 years, specialising in end-to-end meeting services, travel and logistics, experiential marketing campaigns, incentive travel and corporate events on all continents, including venue search and local language support.
All of this is built on our strategic 360-degree approach for seamless global collaboration across our seven locations worldwide, drawing on our wealth of experience in a number of markets. Our customers and delegates often comment on our white-glove service and this all adds to our reputation for excellence.
Many of our clients, especially in the highly-regulated pharmaceutical healthcare sector, as well as financial and insurance, feel comfortable working with MD Events because of our proven compliance capabilities. This encompasses customer-specific ethics policies as well as international regulatory guidelines and laws, and is possibly the reason why we have worked with so many FTSE250 businesses as well as smaller companies.
What changes has MD Events been through in recent months?
As a growing, creative agency, MD Events always strives to meet our clients’ needs, and unprecedented levels of new business has meant that we have experienced substantial organic growth.
This expansion has included two new offices in the past six months, in Singapore and Sacramento, California, to add to our locations in London, Philadelphia, St Petersburg, Russia, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro.
We have also launched two new divisions to coincide with our global corporate rebrand. It’s well known that MD Events started as a pharmaceutical meetings agency. But success breeds success and over a number of years our non-healthcare client base has grown as such to warrant the launch of MD Events Corporate and MD Events Destination Management. Our healthcare clients are looked after by MD Events Life Sciences, and the full internal restructure has seen numerous new faces join the company since the turn of the year.
How have client needs changed in recent years?
We have found that our business has grown based on our reputation, and this has led to fantastic levels of repeat bookings as well as more and more new enquiries from organisations looking for more than just another events agency.
Organisations nowadays work with agencies not just to run events, but to offer consultative expertise on how to get the best return from them. Whether that’s through increasing attendance, advising on location and venue, driving sales or ensuring industry regulations and compliance are adhered to, we have to show that we are adding value.
Event briefs must be ever more creative to maximise the delegate experience, while technology, rather than being something ‘futuristic’, is now part of everything we do. Remember that the use of smart phones, tablets, and now wearables has changed the way that we interact with each other in the past five or six years. It’s only eight years since Apple launched the original iPhone, and a mere five since the first iPad, and it has taken industry – including the events sector – time to catch up.
In the modern-day "always-connected global social community", reliance on technology to aid with event marketing, delivery, audience engagement and interactivity, as well as post-event evaluation, has really been a game-changer.
At the same time, procurement processes familiar to certain industries have moved across to other sectors, while the global financial squeeze has meant budgets and financial transparency have been under the microscope.
Organisations have had to consolidate and redefine their relationships with customers, as well as vendors, to gain better awareness of expenditure, identify savings, and get a better return on investment. We have found that, in terms of the enquiries and briefs we receive from both existing clients and prospective customers, there has been a shift to more specific requests. Buyers need to know that the solutions proposed are tailored to their needs, and this is one of the reasons we have restructured and rebranded.
How will the rebrand address these changes?
The rebrand has been about making it easier for our clients to work with us, not only from a marketing perspective but from a delivery point of view too. We wanted to make sure that our existing clients felt looked after in terms of continuity and quality, while opening up the ingredients of our success to new areas.
In real terms, it really is nothing different to what we have already been doing for some time, especially regarding corporate events and DMC services. The new divisions are there as a response to the changing client needs we have already mentioned.
What the rebrand does is freshen up and diversify MD Events’ offering to meet demand. It allows us to crystallise our approach and be more flexible with the solutions we offer, maximising event potential no matter what the customer’s market and objectives. A refresh of back-end technology also means that we can truly incorporate the use of industry-leading systems, reporting tools and infrastructure to deliver a state-of-the-art solution.
What industry challenges are you facing as an organisation and how are you meeting these?
Particularly in the congress sector, some of the events which you see marketed nowadays seem to point to the fact that the industry is becoming saturated in this area. Conferences addressing any variation on theme seem to spring up out of nowhere, and this has led to a change in which both companies and individuals approach their attendance to events.
Delegates are much more choosey: any event needs to be researched, marketed, and supported more than five years ago. With such a breadth of choice available, as well as some of the factors mentioned previously like focus on budgets, financial transparency, anti-bribery and compliance, events agencies are finding we need to be ever more dynamic, creative and responsive.
With shorter lead times, greater pressure on travel infrastructure and subject matter saturation, organisations are looking to agencies like MD Events to give them the edge.
By the nature of our industry we face challenges on a daily basis, whether at home or abroad. Whether it’s new regulations, awareness and impact of economic or political developments, it’s all about how we respond to each challenge. I think clients respond to that, too.
Why did you decide to sign up for The Meetings Show?
The UK is in many ways the driving force in the events industry right now. The Meetings Show has an energy we as an organisation find resonates with us, our staff and our clients. MD Events’ success has really come from meeting demand, so we want to ensure awareness of MD Events and our capabilities. The Meetings Show seems to grow every year and has definitely created a buzz in the industry – hopefully it’s the place to be seen and we are really looking forward to meeting all of the attendees over the programme.
What will you be showcasing to hosted buyers and visitors in July & what can they expect when they book an appointment with you?
Our aim is merely to demonstrate our strategic 360-degree approach and seamless global collaboration across the service divisions.
What buyers can expect is an open and engaging environment where discussing event objectives and unearthing potential for improvement is paramount. As a forward-thinking organisation – yes international, but with a local-market mentality – we share a genuine intent for those we partner with to maximise the fruits of growth and success from our involvement.
To symbolise our strategic approach and celebrate our new offering we’ll also be running a great little competition with shall we say, some ‘timely’ fruits of technology to give away!