— Who are we? — Regulars at В2В events! — What do we want? — To meet potential business partners! — How many meetings would we like to have? – As many as possible!

This year, organizers of MICE FORUM SOCHI, a closed event for MICE industry professionals, decided to take a technology-based approach to networking and try a new format, Meeting Planners: 15-minute one-to-one meetings. The experiment was quite a success.

MFS organizers offered a very efficient format for networking. The goal of the forum is to connect various players of the business tourism market: agencies, venues, catering and transportation services on the one side, and representatives of corporations, government offices and professional associations on the other.Undoubtedly, the lively resort atmosphere, the hot southern sun, and unforgettable sightseeing tours all contribute to that goal. However, before providers and consumers can start informal communication, first they need to meet each other.

“We have been to so many events of this type, and the overall picture was always the same”, - says Anton Zhuk, MICE FORUM SOCHI organizers’ representative. - “Those looking to buy would be attending sessions and workshops, looking around, but they would not advertise themselves or initiate any meetings. So, those looking to sell have to use their instincts and experience to identify potential customers and then try to get hold of them during coffee breaks to show what they have to offer.”

But what if there was a special time and place reserved for presentations, and attendees had a convenient tool for planning and coordinating meetings?  

This was the task the MICE FORUM SOCHI team set before Eventicious. And a solution was found: an application for selected forum participants: corporate clients, partners, and those attendees who purchased the PRO package. Mobile technologies were used to automate networking and thus dramatically increase its efficiency.

The application was released two months before the event. Organizers sent the information out to attendees and encouraged them to schedule one-to-one meetings with potential partners beforehand. The event schedule included twelve 15-minute slots specifically reserved for such meetings. As a result, by April 6 most attendees already had their Meeting Planners meetings scheduled and coordinated in the application.

Meeting Planners session took place in the afternoon of the first working day. Those were three hours of a very intense networking, and for many participants these hours produced the most tangible and measurable results of the forum.

Meeting Planners format is just beginning to gain popularity in Russia. In Moscow, similar sessions of pre-arranged meetings usually cost 3-4 times more. Businesses are prepared to pay that kind of money for VIP networking because personal meetings are still the best way to present your products and services in B2B marketing. For us, this was the first request for that specific format, and we are certainly going to use it again at our next forum. We’ll take into account all feedback and suggestions to make Meeting Planners even more convenient and productive.

Ellina AkinshynaGeneral producer of MICE FORUM SOCHI

The results are as follows:

– 786 meeting invitations were sent

– 407 meetings were confirmed

– 112 e-business cards were exchanged