During the 53rd ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey earlier this month, the Wonderful Copenhagen CVB was named the winner of the 2014 ICCA Best PR Award, sponsored by International Meetings Review. At last week’s EIBTM conference and trade show inBarcelona, Spain, IMR caught up with Ulrika Mårtensson, Head of Communications – meetings & conventions at the Convention Bureau to talk about the award and Wonderful Copenhagen’s initiatives.
Wonderful Copenhagen took the award based on three pillars: “We work with storytelling, and we have selected some key narratives that we tie into every possible story,” Mårtensson explained. “Every destination today has, more or less, the same to offer in terms of logistics and hardware—conferences centers, hotels, whatever. So I think you have to find your key selling points, and to us, [those are] sustainability, innovation and high quality of life.
An example of a PR activity where all three key narratives are present is the #BeeSustain-initiative launched by Wonderful Copenhagen (with support from VisitDenmark and the Danish meetings industry) at IMEX Frankfurt this past spring. Through the initiative, the city focuses on its (and its meetings industry’s) sustainable actions. In October, Wonderful Copenhagen CVB hosted a #BeeSustain press trip with three international MICE reporters, who tweeted their way through sustainable and organic food and venues, including a visit to the biodynamic farm Thorshoejgaard just north of Copenhagen.
To represent those pillars, Mårtensson wore bee-like antennae on her head while on the EIBTM trade show floor, and handed out seeded paper that, if planted, would grow bee-attracting flowers. “This is B2B,” she quipped, noting that the initiative is, at once, sustainable, innovative and improves the overall quality of life for everyone.
While Copenhagen celebrated its ICCA win, the city also faced a funding shortfall due to what IMR’s James Latham called “drastic overspending” as the host of Eurovision. “It has been a very important learning process for us in a lot of ways,” Mårtensson said, adding that while Wonderful Copenhagen would continue to provide support for meetings and events professionals, it would no longer organize its own events. “We were asked to take on this task, and we thought, because we had hosted smaller events earlier, that we could manage that. But, to be honest, we are not an event company [that is] responsible for building a venue,” she added.