Copenhagen Wants to Help You Better Understand Event Risks

Skift Take

New research examines the core risks that are part and parcel of business events. Key trends, contractual dilemmas, and risk scenarios are all explored in detail.

Planning and hosting in-person events has always involved risk. However, the Covid pandemic exposed the challenging scenarios faced by many in the business events industry.

Copenhagen Convention Bureau‘s new white paper identifies and examines key risks for planners, suppliers, and other players with the aim of fostering better collaboration. It focuses on three risk pillars – strategic, financial, and operational – which are key parts of the business events industry. The research also explores key trends, contractual dilemmas, and scenarios in order to create greater understanding and awareness for all involved.

Born Out of the Covid Pandemic

The white paper emerged as a result of the impact of the Covid pandemic. The Copenhagen Convention Bureau and its parent organization, Wonderful Copenhagen, played an arbitration and consultative role in helping planners and suppliers work through unprecedented postponements and cancelations. They did their best to manage a tense situation.

“There was an enormous pain in the ecosystem that we are part of because obviously associations and corporates had to either move or cancel their meetings and the supplier chain was equally suffering because obviously they were losing all the business,” said Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, deputy-director of conventions at Wonderful Copenhagen.

Even without a global pandemic, managing risk continues to play a crucial in the process of planning, bidding for, and hosting international meetings. It is with this in mind that the Copenhagen Convention Bureau has invested in this research. “It’s evident to all of us that risk is here to stay and perhaps, even to a larger extent than before, and we all have to deal with it,” said Reventlow-Mourier.

Gaps in Understanding of Risk

In conducting the surveys and interviews that led to the white paper, it became clear that there is a pressing need to increase the awareness and knowledge of risk management and risk sharing management. “Apart from the corporate segment, very few have proper risk management frameworks in place,” said Reventlow-Mourier. The shortcomings are not only around the overall understanding of risk but also the complexity around who is dealing with it within any given organization.

The survey results demonstrate the major role of risk in planners’ and suppliers’ organizational decisions. Not surprisingly, 98% of planners and 100% of suppliers reported that it influences destination and vendor selections. The primary risks identified by planners include travel restrictions, destination technology infrastructure, inflexible contracts, and regional/global instability. Suppliers noted risks such as client demands for flexible contracts, delegate numbers, workforce retention/acquisition, and budget management.

As planners look to secure access to the boardroom or the C-suite, a greater understanding of risk can be helpful. This must go beyond operational risks but also strategic and particularly financial risks.

Looking Ahead

All sides of the industry have well received the research. The Copenhagen Convention Bureau expects to continue researching these topics and provide first resources to benefit all stakeholders. It may even change the way the destination markets itself in the future. “We can’t turn our back on risk. So we have to keep having this discussion,” said Reventlow-Mourier.

Sister organization MeetDenmark has just released a report singling out robust collaboration as the key ingredient for event legacy success. The demonstrated connection between successful event legacy and collaboration reinforces the need for a collaborative approach when managing risk.