On Wednesday, November 21, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi – HTSI (Ramon Llull University) organized the first edition of the Events Forum, a gathering designed to put students of the Executive Master Degree in Business Tourism and Events Management and students in their final year of the Bachelor Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management in touch with active professionals from the event planning sector.
In addition to promoting new job contacts and discussing the sector, the event involved two roundtable discussions. The first, entitled “Posicionamiento, perspectivas y tendencias del futuro del sector de los eventos” (Positions, perspectives and trends in the future of the events sector), was moderated by Antonio Hermosilla, director of HTSI’s Executive Master Programs, and included Àngels Puigpey, Catering & Conference director at Hotel Arts; Carolina García, Commercial, Marketing and Communications director at CCIB; Josep Plana, owner of La Puta Suegra; Marta Gilabert, co-owner of La Puta Suegra and Germán Inostroza, director of Global Marketing – Meetings & Events at MCI.
“Los retos profesionales del sector de los eventos” (Professional challenges in the events sector) was the title of the second roundtable discussion, moderated by Jordi Ficapal, HTSI’s academic director. It included Miguel Abadías, commercial director of 21deMarzo Catering; Andrea Cladella, head of Communication and Marketing at 21deMarzo Catering; Ángela Inglés, Barcelona director of Cititravel; Mirja Kallies, manager of Operations at Marbet and Laura Palomino, director of Marketing and Communication at Shoko.
The event was inaugurated by HTSI dean Ricard Santomà, who noted that “there is an increasing demand for specialized professionals in the event planning and MICE sector, especially in a city like Barcelona that houses all manner of conventions, congresses and events.” The dean added: “At HTSI, we respond to this demand for professionals not only through training, but also by encouraging debate, sharing knowledge and networking.”
Principal trends in event planning
The professionals attending the Events Forum agreed that the events industry is a growing sector. Josep Plana, owner of La Puta Suegra, told those present that “whenever planning an event, you need to be one or two steps ahead”, adding: “you’re studying at the right time, because right now it isn’t easy to find really well-trained people in this sector.”
Germán Inostroza, director of Global Marketing – Meetings & Events at MCI, noted the importance of digitalization and investing in creativity teams and young talent: “incresingly, we can better connect with our customers and personalize communication through segmentation in order to ensure more immediate, efficient synergy.”
Carolina García, Commercial, Marketing and Communications director at CCIB, noted that the hotel industry is helping to make large events possible and to ensure they meet expectations: “expectations are high, and we always need to be alert. What is most highly valued right now is excitement and interaction between individuals.” Àngels Puigpey, Catering & Conference director at Hotel Arts, also noted that in addition to seeking excitement, “we need to break with routine and surprise our customers when planning events.”
Professional challenges when when planning events
During the second part of the gathering, participants debated on the skills needed by event professionals. They all agreed on the need for the following:
- A good attitude.
- An open mind.
- A calling to service.
- Knowing how to communicate.
“We really value creativity and the ability to adapt and keep up-to-date. You shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes, you should just be eager to learn”, suggested Andrea Cladellas, head of Communication and Marketing at 21deMarzo. Migel Abadías, the commercial director of the same company, agreed about the importance of being willing to make mistakes: “in the end, that’s the best way to learn. That’s why we like to trust you from square one.”
Ángela Inglés, Barcelona director of Cititravel, noted that “the events sector really is interesting. You need plenty of skills, sure, but you really need to feel it in order to enjoy it.” According to Mirja Kallies, manager of Operations at Marbet, the most important thing is “to know how to listen, and to fit well with your working team.”
Finally, students were able to take part in interviews with professionals from different companies. The school’s Events Forum is one of many activities organized by HTSI to guide students in their professional development. Companies’ recruitment and talent-search processes are a fundamental part of HTSI’s university training experience.
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