Round the world business trip in two months?

C-IN Team | January 11, 2017
Round the world business trip in two months?

Our Aussie colleague Rowen, who belongs to C-IN´s Business Development team spent a good amount of time in several European cities right before Christmas. He kept busy with dealing with potential venues for future events. He summarized his business and travel experiences in the interview below. Does he prefer business partners from Europe or overseas? Why is Brighton closest to his heart? What kind of language difficulties did he experience in Brussels? Read below to find out!

Rowen, you have been travelling a lot recently. Which destinations have you visited during the last 2 months?

Indeed. Over the last 5 to 6 weeks I’ve visited Brno (exciting), Brussels, London, Brighton and Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan. Each of the European destinations was to gather information required to complete a new congress bid for each destination. Japan was in regards to a conference that we are joint organiser next year so we needed to visit venues and suppliers to establish our working agreement. 

Could you point out what is significant for every destination that you visited? For example the quality of services, dealing with suppliers, travelling around the city..?

Brighton......, well for me this was my home town for 7 years so going back for business was an interesting treat. Knowing the city like the back of my hand it was business without all of the normal planning that goes in to visiting new destinations. I’d already attended events in most of the venues so for me it was very quickly into a business discussion with each of the suppliers.

London....., for me I have a love hate relationship with London and I liken it to Las Vegas, it’s amazing to visit for a couple of days but after this I need to run like the wind to save my sanity. However, London truly is one of the capitals of the world and services such the London Underground are very impressive. I struggled a little with the size of conference spaces in hotels but there is ample offering from conference centres around the city. Finally, for me London has a grandeur and sense of occasion about it in many ways and passing places such as the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster as you enter a congress centre, provides a fantastic experience for international delegates.

In Brussels I was most impressed by Visit Brussels, the local convention bureau. Their assistance in creating a most productive schedule with such short notice was sublime. Also the way they supported C-IN in completing our bid and the additional services they provide such as an accommodation reservation service to delegates, for me was of the highest professional quality.

Japan was incredible and a real experience for me. They must have if not the, one of the best and most extensive rail networks in the world. We also used a lift in one venue to travel up 69 floors in just 40 seconds reaching a speed of 45km/ph. So I guess the Japanese technology stands out and that‘s before you even experience a Japanese toilet... However, the highlight for me must of been the Japanese people. They have a politeness and morality unlike any I have experienced internationally. I was really touched by their hospitality and the cultural experience. 

Do you see any difference between doing business in Europe and overseas? Could you specify?

Every culture and destination is different. There is even notable differences between Brighton and London and they are only 1 hour apart within the same country. In general the Brightonians are much more friendly and laid back compared to Londoners. Let’s put it down to the beach. In Brussels I began to quickly notice whether I was speaking with someone from French background or those from Flemish or Dutch origin. It’s a generalisation but I much preferred the Flemish / Dutch, they are more open and friendly to strangers and also more direct in their communication. However, let’s say that in comparing doing business in Japan to that in Europe I would say that business in Japan feels more ritualistic. Among other little traditions such as the formality in the way they greet each other and exchange business cards, it appears to me that establishing trust is very important to the Japanese. With one client we shared a 4 course meal introducing each other and our companies before even starting to discuss specific business matters.

Which particular events have you been promoting abroad and was the mission successful?

Well at this stage I wouldn’t call it promotion but more preparation. The outcome of the 2018 bids for the European Association of Veterinary Diagnosticians (EAVLD) in either Brighton, London or Brussels is still to be decided. However, I’m extremely hopeful that this will lead to further business for C-IN, fingers and toes crossed. In Japan we were working with our local partner for the organisation of the 56th Conference of the Particle Therapy Co-operative Group. Our meetings were extremely productive and we made great progress on our mutual preparations. Amazing what you can achieve when you’re in the same room.

Which destination was closest to your heart and why?

Well that’s a question... I have a lot of history, family and my closest friends in Brighton so visiting was strangely like going home for me. However, visiting Japan was like finding something new, exciting and never seen before. So Brighton is realistically closer to my heart but I was definitely more touched by Japan and will never forget the experience.

Were there any difficulties you dealt with on your travels?

An interesting meeting was to visit a potential venue for a congress dinner in Brussels. The outcome was that the person I was to meet strictly only spoke French so we basically carried out the meeting in sign language. Fortunately it become obvious very quickly that the venue wasn’t a fit for our event.

 

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