Villa il Garofalo
M.I.C.E.-in-the-bag organized another of its invitation-only “MICE of Cards” events at Villa il Garofalo in Florence on February 9th. The tailored B2B gathering saw 23 buyers and 14 suppliers coming from everywhere in Europe and matching each other in informal “walking meetings” – a new twist on M.I.C.E.-in-the-bag’s successful B2B workshops.
Florence.– Villa il Garofalo, is a historical dwelling overlooking the city of Florence, formerly belonging to Dante Alighieri and now property of the noble Rimbotti family. Its classic halls and grounds formed the backdrop for MICE-in-the-bag’s latest popup event.
The event, as with the previous ones held in London and Stockholm used the unique formula of MICE-in-the-bag: a one-stop meeting environment for delivery-ready suppliers and budget-ready buyers of MICE.
The formula is to match pre-selected suppliers and buyers, providing savings in prospecting costs to suppliers, enabling them to offer buyers more attractively priced packages. This was the most geographically diverse event to date, with attendees from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, the UK, Denmark, Portugal, Turkey, Malta, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Russia and Israel.
Initial matches were arranged between Buyers and Suppliers, according to their needs, then meetings took place throughout the evening in a relaxed, walking and cocktail-style environment. This latest event delivered a new twist – walking meetings. Recent research finds that the act of walking leads to increases in creative thinking. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that walking meetings lead to more honest exchanges and are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings.
The huge rooms of villa, its big halls and its enormous grounds with stunning views of Florence, proved to be perfect canvas for the concept. Delegates expressed considerable satisfaction with the meeting, commending the effectiveness and friendly atmosphere, which proved to work better than more formal environments.
Prior to the meetings, a workshop was organized both in the courtyard and in one of the villa’s halls to “break the ice” and let buyers and suppliers know each other in the most informal and friendly way. Then Howard Hunter, Business Travel Management Specialist at Uniglobe, provided the suppliers with unique tips on how to successfully hit the market.
The icing on the cake was the after-dinner speech given by Justin Roux, Communications advisor to M.I.C.E. in the bag, and Managing Director of business-transformation company Shift Actions UK.
Justin, who studied medieval construction at University, related anecdotes about Brunelleschi’s exceptional achievements in constructing the dome on Florence’s famous Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral.
Razvan Balint, CEO, Ways Travel (Romania): “I have taken part in so many B2B events in my career, but admittedly this was very well organized and segmented. The two partners, Ayse and Rosy, brought in the whole of their experience as buyers and suppliers, and one felt it”.
Roberta Pompeo, Event Planner, The different twins (Italy): “It’s a real out-of-the-box formula, very innovative and well structured. I feel it might represent the future of this kind of events because more than a chat, one needs an experience with the buyers – to freely talk to them even beyond the job, and with no timing schedule. I’m positive this is the only way to lead to consistent outcomes”.
Rita Bains, Executive Assistant, Finastra (UK): “Lovely venue and excellent opportunity to give all the questions and get dedicated answers. The environment was very relaxed, not rushed at all, differently from any other show, and I appreciated it so much”.
Frederico Nogueira, CEO, Dynamize (Portugal): “Intimacy made this a great event. The way it was built – no pressure as in other events, no speed dating, freedom to develop the relationships – let us all go straight to the people without wasting time”.