How have the traces of the pandemic affected the human view of encounters and what needs have arisen or intensified? Carin Sjöberg, CEO of Stockholm’s inner city’s largest meeting and event facility, gives her view on future meetings.
We at Norra Latin and Stockholm City Conference Center have great faith in the future and already in the autumn, when the easing of the restrictions was introduced, the meeting volcano that we in the industry predicted and talked about started. The inflow of business more than doubled and we saw volumes that corresponded to the record year 2019. The desire to conduct physical meetings has never been greater.
We can clearly see that our customers’ views on meetings have changed. The need to be able to make individual adjustments has grown in combination with the possibilities of the digital meeting tools and the content of the meeting itself has given the meetings a completely different meaning and a much higher value. In ongoing discussions and evaluations with our customers, we have been able to state that meetings were valued higher, which also means that the requirements for quality have been raised. The pandemic has forced us to think and we have had to choose “how” we should be able to conduct meetings in the best way where as many as possible could participate. The combination of the digital and the physical thus took on a deeper meaning. New meeting forms were launched and the concept of hybrid meeting became everyday where the customer mixed both physical participants and participants on a link.
At the end of August 2021, we launched at Norra Latin Sweden’s first Boutique House, which can also be translated into a “Boutique strategy” where the personal and qualitative meeting is put in focus. We have invested in and will continue to invest in our wonderful Renaissance palace. The investment includes not only creating the best conditions for our meeting rooms and event arenas, but also the important ingredient, the human being. It is about the fact that the interaction between our employees and guests can never be valued highly enough, that is, the value of the physical meeting between us humans. The personal meeting is constantly in focus and increases in relevance and also plays an increasingly important role in society.
It will be obvious to be able to book meetings online and do your basic planning digitally – just as you can book hotels and flights today. At Norra Latin, we launched meeting booking and the opportunity to pay directly online already in the spring of 2021 and we see that it is the channel that is growing. It is the opportunity to search and book meeting rooms digitally and send an inquiry online that most customers want today. Our analysis shows that the customer decides on either a digital or physical meeting depending on the content and purpose of the meeting. When it comes to content planning, the customer still wants a personal contact where we at Norra Latin become and act as advisors. The digital solution is what the customer wants today as a backup / hygiene factor to be able to carry out their meeting because everyone participates on a link via a digital channel, despite absence for various reasons.
The situation always comes high in surveys regarding the choice of meeting and event facility. With regard to sustainability issues and various environmental aspects, the situation will thus continue to be an important factor in the decision-making process when larger meetings, events and congresses are planned and where they are located. Stockholm as a destination has a lot to offer and I think that Stockholm will be very interesting as a meeting and congress destination in the future.
Carin Sjöberg, CEO Norra Latin & Stockholm City Conference CenterDISCOVER OUR VENUES