Collaboration is better than Competition
Tony Anagor, Managing Director of LifestyleDMC writes…After exhibiting at the EIBTM for 3 years in a row, we decided to sit this one out and go as spectators this year. We attending as trade visitors and the mandate was very clear; study, watch and learn. I wanted to really evaluate the usefulness of exhibiting for a growing company like ours keen to stay ahead of the curve and remain innovative. Did we achieve our aim? Well yes of course it’s good to go and see what the competition is doing, but there is something that seems morally wrong with walking up to a stand and pretending to be a potential client as an unsuspecting competitor unleashes their latest new ideas onto you in the hope that they can gain a return on their stand investment.
We prefer to focus on the market and the rapid changes taking place that impact us all directly. So on our rounds we happily engaged with competitors and exchanged views on how we are adapting to the market. The first thing that occurred to me in discussions was that it is about time DMCs and Event Companies in Barcelona stopped calling each other competitors, the market seems to be demanding that we collaborate more than compete if we are to win the more of the larger bids for events. It is becoming clearer to me that other destinations pose more of a competition to us that another local company.
Typically when we receive an RFI we like to find out what other options are being considered in this bidding process ( if you don’t ask this question you never know!) and the answer is usually at least another 3 destinations. If you think that on average there will be 3 companies working on a proposal in each destination that gives a total of 12 agencies vying for one deal!
My reasoning is that it would make more sense to collaborate and increase the chances of winning the “destination bid” than to try and eat the whole cake. I am confident Barcelona will continue to be the home to some major international fairs and exhibitions, but for incentive trips, I am not so sure that will be the case forever.
This year we did an analysis of the deals that were lost and why, 68% of the deals were lost to other destinations such as Malta, Prague, Athens, Marrakesh, Slovenia, and Istanbul. On deeper inspection a big reason was cost of hotels, however, a small but significant number of deals were lost because they felt that others destinations offered more of a “wow” factor. This is somewhere where we know continue to add real value. For this reason the EIBTM was of real use to us, although many countries were missing, it was interesting to see how other agencies in other countries were dealing with the “wow” element.
I had many engaging conversations with our “collaborators” in other cities and it has left me very optimistic for Barcelona in 2012. To other DMCs and agencies operating in Barcelona the case for collaborating on the big RFI´s in Barcelona has finally defeated the case for competing.