The first of a series of talks was delivered at Confex’s International Pavilion by Martin Boyle, director – Europe at Business Events Sydney.
Boyle opened by talking about how difficult it can be sometimes be to measure the value of meetings, showing a Google search of “how to measure ROI” which returned over 440 million results.
But the meetings industry as a whole, he said, shouldn’t have anything to prove: research has valued the global sector at over $1 trillion.
The economic impacts are clear, then, but Boyle says: “We need to measure the social legacy of events.”
He went on to highlight some examples of good causes BESydney and the meetings industry have contributed towards.
One was the 2014 Rotary Convention in Sydey, which raised AUD$240,000 for children with Polio, after asking delegates to fundraise for a record-breaking photograph, which saw more people gathered on the Sydney Harbour Bridge than ever before.
He also gave an outline of a report which BESydney created a handful of years ago, titled ‘Conferences: catalysts for thriving economies’.
The report demonstrated a number of social benefits brought about by recent meetings in Sydney, including a survey that found 145 people had said they wanted to emigrate to the city following a conference.
More recently, BESydney has put together a book titled ‘The Power of Conferences’ – a collection of stories about the real, human benefits conferences can bring.
One told of how immunologist Ian Frazer has met his future colleague Jian Zhou through a networking contact at a conference – and they went on to create the HVP vaccine which treated over 400 million patients.
Finally, Boyle highlighted the importance of collaboration between cities and between sectors, in order to bring these kinds of positive social change to light, and drive the meetings industry even further forward.