Leading the Tourism Recovery – ITIC 2021 Virtual Conference

Leading the Tourism Recovery – ITIC 2021 Virtual Conference2021-03-24T14:25:37+00:00

Leading the Tourism Recovery – ITIC 2021 Virtual Conference

MC Dearbhail MacDonald talking to Luke O'Neill in studio

The goal of this virtual event to an audience of tourism business professionals was to lead the industry through and out of the current pandemic.

Event Pre-production

We won this event, “Leading the Tourism Recovery” for the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) through a competitive tender process and were appointed event partner on December 8th 2020.  The goal of this live broadcast to a virtual audience of tourism business professionals was to lead the tourism industry through and out of the current pandemic. We executed a launch, rollout, and registration process for the event alongside an extensive social media campaign.  We liaised with the client to advise on content and the agenda.  Large elements of pre-production included brand identity design and also the concept and production of a video of 2020 in review, which included carrying out interviews with tourism providers around the country and interspersing the 20 minute piece with footage from the RTE and Virgin media archives. The resultant video was similar to the “Reeling in the Years” series on RTE and comparable in terms of production quality. Scripting, multiple rehearsals and liaison with all speakers were managed pre-event.

Event Delivery and Execution

We hosted the event in the O’Reilly Hall studio in UCD, and the event consisted of a half-day hybrid conference on Wednesday, 10th February 2021. The set consisted of 6 LED screens displaying the newly designed brand identity and logos of the three sponsors. The MC,  Dearbhail McDonald and some of the speakers were on site.

The agenda included a welcome by Minister Catherine Martin, guest speaker Professor Luke O’Neill, the commissioned year in review piece as well as a panel discussion at Industry leader level. We used short videos from the event sponsors, Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and AIB for breaks and transitions. We broadcast the event live via Vimeo, with 4,000 virtual delegates in attendance.  The event was widely lauded as a great success, eliciting superb comments and feedback from delegates and trending number 1 on Twitter for most of the day.

In October 2020, the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) invited a number of professional conference organisers to tender for a significant virtual tourism conference to be held in the Spring.

The tender was award to Advantage Group who demonstrated, from a very early stage, excellent insights into the objectives of ITIC, contributing original and visionary ideas to widen and enhance the early concept.

Working closely with the ITIC team, Advantage, led by Ronan Flood with Susan Nolan, proved to be a professional and pro-active partner.  Ronan had previously worked closely with our host venue, UCD’S O’Reilly Hall and University Club, and brought with him a knowledge and grasp of practicalities that proved invaluable as we commenced the planning of this inaugural event.  Ronan’s team also had a close working relationship with AVCOM, the production company for the event, and insider knowledge of the event platform and its broadcasting capabilities.

Advantage’s service provision to ITIC included end-to-end handling of the registration process, brand identity and design, set design and staging fulfilment, agenda management, provision of autocues, live links to external panellists, and seamless implementation of health and safety protocols.

From attendee feedback, ITIC has identified a number of conference highlights or ‘talking points’ which required Advantage’s close involvement.  These included the concept development and execution of what proved to be one of the highlights of the event, a specially commissioned ten-minute video reel to open the conference reviewing 2020’s year of tourism decimation, which included the sourcing of archive news footage as well as new interview pieces.  It also included briefing meetings with the event MC, Dearbhail McDonald, whose skilled and informed handling of the live discussions has been widely admired and complimented.  Finally, at a very late hour, ITIC was provided with the opportunity to have an interview with incoming Director General of IATA, Willie Walsh, and within 48 hours, the segment was recorded, edited, and slotted seamlessly into the agenda.

Conscious of the budget, Ronan and Susan were consistent in their communication on costs, and their recommendations in terms of optimising the budget were always helpful, solutions driven, and focussed on the conference objectives.

Over 2,500 delegates pre-registered for the event, and an estimated 5,000 watched the live broadcast which ran on Wednesday 10th February 2021 from 10.00am until 1.00pm.  After the event, Advantage quickly provided us with event video which we have also been able to share on our ITIC YouTube channel and own website, garnering further traction.

As an event partner, I would have no hesitation in recommending Ronan and his team for their positive approach, consistent professionalism, imaginative suggestions, and seamless handling on the day.  Advantage are reliable, easy to work with, solutions-driven, with excellent attention to detail, and it was our pleasure to recognise their valuable contribution to the success of our event.

Catherine Flanagan, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation