We speak to Chema Gómez (CEO and Founder of the Evento.es group) about creativity and innovation in events, the situation that Spain finds itself in within the MICE segment with regards to other markets and some of the keys to continued growth as a main destination. Chema is also the former President of MPI Spain Chapter and regularly participates as author, lecturer, judge, professor and moderator in varying subjects and at events related to the Meetings, Incentives, Congresses and Fairs industry.
Discover everything he told us during the interview.
– During the more than 20 years that you have spent dedicated to the events industry, what are the most important changes that have happened?
Chema: The changes have been many, I still remember the fax and the mountains of printed documents that surrounded us. There are two types of essential changes, those that are perceived by the attendees and those that we the professionals of the sector perceive. For the attendees, I believe that it has moved from the era of uncontrolled spending and “everything goes” to moderation and the effective measurement of the return on every investment. On the professional side, the main change has been globalization of the market and the insertion of professionals trained specifically for the sector.
Globalization of the market and specialization through training are the most important changes that have occurred in the MICE segment in the last few years.
– Could you tell us about the objectives you have set at Evento.es for the next couple of years?
Chema: Very simple, to stay in the breach, we have been working for over 20 years on themes very much linked to logistics and at present we are offering specialised services for advice and Meeting Design. We cannot compete with the large operators, but I know we can provide a magnificent specifically personalised service. On the other hand, we are collaborating more often with other companies in the sector, we believe in that and the results prove that we are right.
– Do you think that innovation in the sector has to necessarily come from technology?
Chema: No, definitely not, but technology is obviously a tool that accelerates change. The next step in innovation is linked to a phrase that I heard at the last Davos forum: “The fourth industrial revolution should be a revolution of values”.
Chema: I think the result is still limited and that we can interact with and work harder at it. I am not sure if we should treat social networks all as one or whether we should do something different for each network. My favourite at the moment is LinkedIn, but that can change in a very short time. I love this pace of life.
– Spain is the third destination where more Meetings are organised. Why do you think this is?
Chema: The geographical location, social stability, the climate, the level of professionalization within the industry, competitive pricing and I hope that soon it will be the high level of innovation in matters related to the content of the meetings and the experiences that the attendees take away with them.
– Above Spain we have Germany and the United Status as MICE destinations. What do you think we need to do to be at the top?
Chema: I would fight to be the best, not to be the biggest. As far as volume is concerned, reaching the level of the United States is practically impossible, but if we concentrate our efforts on the experience that our country can give to our clients through our culture and we also apply innovation when presenting proposals with attractive content, always putting people (clients and professionals) at the centre of operations, I believe we have a differentiating advantage over these two markets.
– With regards to the level of quality and creativity in event organisation, how do you see the Spanish companies compared to other markets?
Chema: We have first class creative businesses if you are talking about traditional creative concepts, ideas, solutions and attractive designs. Many of our businesses receive international awards for their work.
I see a field of improvement in the theme of contents and how these have to be presented with different solutions to the ready-packaged. There are no solutions tailor-made for the meetings programmes that we work on.
Chema: Natural light, versatility, ease of access and transport connections, and of course the professionalism of the staff at the venue who can help you to provide creative solutions for clients.
Aside from the characteristics of a venue, the professionalism of the staff working there is fundamental to ensure the success of an event.
– Creativity or execution, which is more important?
Chema: With the greatest creativity in the world if the execution is mediocre, the final result will not be optimal. However, with perfect execution, but lacking in creativity, the result is even worse. You can be intelligent and attractive, but it is the combination of the two factors that makes you successful.
– Which are the sources or channels that you use for inspiration?
Chema: Never those related to the sector, creativity is outside your comfort zone. You have to leave the MICE World and search outside. I love to travel and work with people from different nationalities and professions, I think it is the best way to inspire yourself, when you discover different ways of thinking.