Monastery of the Augustinian Fathers

Why physical meetings will continue to be important

This may sound like a sweeping statement but I do think that it is appropriate in this context. During the pandemic, our industry experienced what is perhaps one of the greatest catastrophes in its existence. Nevertheless I am convinced that physical conferences will survive this crisis – just like it will survive any other earth-shaking events that will hopefully never follow. Why? Because the conference as we know it has two exceptional assets. Like a double guarantee to lasting relevance.

The power of encounters

The conferences of the future will be more digital and hybrid. In the past few months, these formats demonstrated their added value. Zoom, laptops and video screens have become a fixture in our industry, and rightfully so.

At the same time, this evolution made it blatantly clear that encounters are at the heart of a successful conference. Getting to know colleagues and exchanging ideas is much easier and more pleasant when done face to face. A physical conference is also the best way to explore the conference venue, meet the locals, entrepreneurs and governments, and visit local heritage. To broaden your horizon and return home enriched.

Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp
ICC inside

An irreplaceable source of legacy

But these encounters are not just enriching for the delegates. The venue also reaps the fruit of your conference, in the form of a lasting legacy that you leave behind. Your association or PCO does this in an irreplaceable way: thanks to the cross-pollination of economic development and an intellectual legacy. That is how you create the legacy of the future, as we like to say in Flanders.

Flanders is a good example of this. Our key economic sectors are rooted in phenomenal heritage. There is a direct link, for instance, between the cutting-edge technology in geographic imaging and Gerard Mercator, the Flemish pioneer of cartography. Isn’t it amazing that the worldwide GPS system is based on his Mercator projection from 1569?

This offers conference organisers a fantastic opportunity to increase the relevance of their physical conference even more: by choosing a natural habitat as a venue, where local experts, locals and businesses offer strong support. It is the most fertile breeding ground you could wish for to plant the seeds of your legacy.

Free inspiration for your next conference

A successful conference is one that inspires. That’s why we offer you here tons of inspiration. For a conference in your domain, for your conference in Flanders.