Convention4u 2021: A Reunion face-to-face

23. September 2021

Assertiveness, creativity, and flexibility – these are traits that you have all showed in the past year. With these words, Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen applauded the event industry for their persistence in his opening speech of the conference Convention4u. This year the conference celebrated its 11th anniversary in Wr. Neustadt, for the first time as a hybrid meeting in-person and virtual.
Organised by the Austrian Convention Bureau the event is an annual industry highlight. According to the motto „welcome back – learning together, creating for each other“ the focus was on the reunion and personal exchange.
Like an obstacle course
In his opening speech, Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen compared the past one and a half years with an extreme obstacle course – a comparison that could not be more literal: Every week there were new restrictions, new obstacles that needed to be overcome. New strategies have been established and tested: from online tools and hybrid solutions to completely new ways and creative ideas. But most importantly, we never gave up hope.
Generally, the topic of the Covid-19 Pandemic was omnipresent at the event. The individual learnings of 1 ½ years of the pandemic became the red thread that led not only through networking opportunities but also lectures and workshops. A lot was talked about competencies and attitudes to be prepared for the future as well as goals, aims, and tasks that we can claim when it comes to education. This was further underlined by the newest results of a study by Christiane Spiel, professor for educational psychology and evaluation at the University of Vienna.
An interesting study that clearly identified the challenges towards the education system and showed direct parallels to the event industry. Then the discourse moved to practical learnings where recent case studies were presented and the participants had the chance to become active and add to the discussion. The very positive atmosphere motivated the participants even further and gave them loads of inspiration for the following workshop.
Where is this journey leading us?
„From meeting to meaning industry – the future of the Austrian Convention Industry“ was not only the title of the interactive workshop but also the starting point for a study by Prof. Lukas Zenk and Prof. Markus Peschl. They conducted in-depth interviews with experts from the field in order to identify the essential potentials for the future of the meeting industry. These insights built the basis for the participants to get active themselves. With this new knowledge, they worked on the challenges and potentials of the convention industry and identified the parameters for tomorrow. In this laboratory situation, they were pondering the question of where the journey is leading us and how the industry will evolve further. The outcome was very positive: Not only interesting discussions were provoked but also the exchange and the interaction between the participants were in focus – new meeting trends as a self-experiment that kindled inspiration and motivation for the future.

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