A group of senior event professionals will visit Scotland this month as part of the inaugural ISES Global Event Summit. The Summit, a partnership between The International Special Events Society, Visit Scotland Business Events, and the IMEX Group, will bring the event pros to attend IMEX in Frankfurt before heading on to Scotland for three days of high-level debate.
Neil Brownlee, head of business events at VisitScotland, speaks with Special Events to shares insights into the experiences that delegates will enjoy:
Special Events: VisitScotland is making a big investment in bringing so many event professionals to Scotland. What will these visitors learn about conducting event business in Scotland that they did not realize before?
Neil Brownlee: We have only a short bit of time, but the main thing is for attendees to get a see a bit of the spirit of Scotland. We hope they get the flavor of our wonderful hotels and venues.
Scotland already has had success hosting global sporting events, such as the Ryder Cup [Gleneagles, 2014] and Commonwealth Games [Glasgow, 2014].
We have heritage and hospitality in spades, and we want to show off the best of what we have. We have been welcoming people to Scotland for more than 200 years.
SE: The lucky attendees at the 2016 ISES Summit will visit gems such as Gleneagles. But how difficult is it for “non-insiders” to host events at star venues such as these?
NB: While in some areas, planners need to go through a thousand people, here [with VisitScotland], we can speak straight to government and venues such as stately homes. Scotland really is just a short hop from London and most of Europe, and there is now a wide choice of direct flights into our cities from North America and other global hubs.
We want to show our delegates that we have a world-class offering for them.
Our new global campaign stresses the seven characteristic of Scotland: warmth, humor, spark, determination, soul, fun and guts.
SE: Who is attending the Summit?
NB: Attendee titles include CEOs, executive directors, vice presidents and managers. It's a powerful list of people.
And another point: While our attendees will be experiencing Scotland, we want to learn from them, too. We want to let Scotland speak for itself, and have our guests enjoy an educational experience and thought-provoking discussions.
Neil Brownlee is head of business events at VisitScotland, the national tourism body for Scotland. He leads a team of 13 dedicated business event specialists based in Scotland, London and North America, with responsibility for the development, implementation and delivery of the marketing strategy for MICE events at a national level for Scotland.