Objective: Bring together all those involved in Austria in the Conventions business to bring the conference ecosystem in Austria to a systematically higher level of engagement to serve conference organisers coming to Austria. Held for the first time in 2010, Convention4U was held in Bregenz, Austria
The topic of Meeting Architecture and its application in subsequent conferences was a core topic of the first conference in 2010. In 2011, the team organizing the event systematically applied the learnings of the 2010 event and built the new format around the core principles of Meeting Architecture. 

In 2011, I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to be invited by colleague Project Meeting Architecture and President of the Austrian Convention Bureau Christian Mutschlechner to present the keynote and closing session at the second Convention4U in Villach, Corinthia. 

Petra Bauer-Zwinz and her team of the Austrian Convention Bureau left nothing to chance to architect the diverse set of components of this innovative event attended by some 100 persons. Allow the images included below to tell the story of this innovative event experience which demonstrated how the supply chain worked hand in hand to make this project a reality. 
What I particularly noticed and appreciated at Convention4U:
– Free wifi with a seamless connection in hotel and convention centre
– Multiple seating formats(High tables, coffee table seating and lounge furniture seating that allowed for a very enlightening main meeting space in the main conference room
– A very well designed foyer space with functionalities endorsing Green Meetings and audience engagement (see the photos here)
– Manual paper based evaluation techniques
– Slowfood interactive cooking session connecting to sustainable use and user experience while also incorporating it into other parallel sessions “outside” the room. 
– Consistent moderation by a moderator specialized in Organisational Development techniques. (Thank you to moderator Karin Huber ) 
– A charity outdoor picknick where the content of the sessions was “quizzed” amongst peers and for every right answer 10 Euro was donated to local School for Handicapped kids. 
– Competing venues/destinations collaborate and work towards a better positioning of the industry in the country at large. 

– User adoption of new technologies
– Twitter stream customized per session with login
– An interactive attendee led reflection session at the end of the event ( based on the model of the experiment at #MPi #European Meetings & Events Conference -> Visual Shift – Solution Room
– the use of local traditions (Falcon Show at Burgruine Landskron) combined with ACB Congress Award 2011 presentation 
– Post event event in the local tradition at the Villacher Brauerei was an excellent handson experience allowing particiapnts to experience a taster of the upcoming 68th Villacher Kirchtåg on August 6th 2011. (a reason to come back perhaps?)
– Involvement of the most senior actors of the industry and their very active commitment and participation. Thank you Mr. Hans Peter Schroff, Frau Irene Grünbacher, Directors of the Congress Centre Villach and Holiday Inn. But also the  Braumeister, Burgemaister (Mayor)  who show their commitment to the guest experience in connection to the objectives of Convention4U. 

Ideas/Items to look at for 2012:
– Power plugs for participants under tables / near seats
– Pincode login to backchannel needs to be re-entered and should have a “remember me” function
– Create a Genius bar to enable participants to ask and learn about the application of new media technologies onsite
– Use of “reflection” in between presentations and workshop blocks for participant members 
– Speaker coaching/training to use engagement techniques for the audience
– Make the content of sessions available before the event so you can orient and dialogue before the event
– Pannel discussions are difficult to moderate and after 15 minutes not very engaging or effective.
– Communicate the Hasthag #convention4U of the event consistently and repetitively 
– Activating the connections between the participants using social media (Create a Twitterlist, allow for “bump” technologies to connect on Linkedin or a customized social network)  
– More disruptive participant led innovations and conversations
– An ROI measurement of the business impact of the event
– Give the event more traction “outside the room” a good next step could be to participate in the following training: 


– Storify the experience? (happy to help explain and deliver some of the above services) 

Demonstrating the application of Meeting Architecture and experimenting with formats is the best way to learn and create value in changing behavior. This was one of the first events I have experienced that pro-actively speaks about and applies the principles of Meeting Architecture and it was a distinct pleasure to be able to contribute. A bog thank you and congratulations on this succesful event to Christian Mutschlechner and the full team at ACB under the leadership of Petra Bauer Zwinz. 
For more insights please leave your comments or questions on this post or contact me here:

Links to relevant streams for #Convention4U:

The (translated) twitter stream: http://twubs.com/convention4u

The Lanyrd.com stream: http://t.co/T5kVjEa

See the full photostream here: 
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