Hosting European or World Congress

Hosting and organizing a small event is sometimes overwhelming, isn't it? How about European or World Congress?

There’s no denying that it comes with its responsibilities, but let’s first take a look at what hosting such an event in our country would bring to you. Then we’ll introduce, or perhaps remind you, of the application steps to make sure the process is far from complicated and the realization is entirely possible and most importantly – it’s worth it.

Short-term and long-term advantages

Regardless of location and size, conferences and conventions are places where people with similar interests and career paths come together. Professionals meet to enrich their knowledge, share experiences with colleagues and maintain community. With this in mind, it would be good for each country to have as many representatives at the event as possible, which is the first advantage of “hosting” a conference in Bulgaria. Transport costs are limited and it is possible to provide access to more Bulgarian participants.

With a large number of people in one place, the chance to attract new talent locally, and thus contribute to the development of the sector in the country, is many times greater if the conference is held on your territory and more or less under your control.

As the host of the event you have the opportunity to choose the program and especially the speakers, which is an advantage because this way you can present Bulgarian research much easier, increasing the chances of future investments in them. In addition, you have the freedom to present the pressing issues in the field through your prism and at your discretion.

Looking at the initial stage of organizing, the process of preparing the program already helps you to form new or deepen already existing relationships with experts in the field and consequently expand the scope of your activities, knowledge and partners.

Last but not least come the financial benefits that hosting an international conference can bring you. When you do well with such a task, the other member countries and the governing body of the organisation increase their level of trust in the Bulgarian member organisation, and with that your chances for grants for future studies and projects also increase. In addition, ideally after the conference you have generated income that you can put towards team development at national level.

We should also not ignore the fact that the flow of foreigners attending a conference also benefits the country in which it is held.  For a country like Bulgaria, still on its way to establishing itself as a preferred venue for scientific events, every opportunity should be taken. Positioning us higher up the list of potential hosts will bring long-term economic benefits, more employment and tourist interest.

Bid Evaluation Criteria

Applying for hosting is easy, but if you want to win it you have to cover, or find subcontractors that cover, some criteria to a large extent.

               First and foremost, you need to understand the process of organising a multi-stakeholder event and be able to make optimal financial decisions at every stage.

Having previous professional experience in the field is a huge advantage because it provides more certainty for the contracting authorities and therefore increases the chances of the congress being held in your country and under the control of your organisation. In addition, expertise in event management, reputation, technical knowledge of the available facilities and the confidence of the regional partners in the organizing team bring your candidacy forward.

Of course one of the main things that are taken into consideration when choosing a venue are the infrastructure, available accommodation and meeting rooms, so it is important to present the best possible base without embellishing the reality.

The communication skills and the established channels of communication, the marketing strategy that you will use to promote the event in order to recruit participants are also an essential part to pay attention to, and lately it is more and more essential the attitude towards the environment, both of the venue and yourself as an organization.

Now that you know more about the key factors, let’s take a look at the application stages and which ones you have influence over.

Application process and implementation

When an international organization decides to hold a congress, each of its members in the different countries that wants to host the event has the opportunity to submit an itemized so-called “Bid” to present to those responsible for choosing the venue. There are three main types of bidding procedures, but we will focus on the open tender stages as the most common in intra-organisational relationships.

The procedure starts with informing the requirements and criteria for the congress host, and with the formation of a regional team that will potentially work on the project, either entirely internal to the organisation or in partnership with a subcontractor.

The first main stage, the ‘bidding process’, aims to prepare a document that demonstrates the capabilities and resources to host the event in the specific country and should most often include:

● details of how the event will be conducted;

● the facilities and resources available;

● sources of financial support;

● details of key partners;

● cost and revenue estimates;

● level of financial risk for the project;

● feasibility assessment and previous experience of those responsible.

The second stage consists of the submission of the document to the governing body of the initiating organisation, which is informed of the applicant’s capabilities, assesses whether they meet the requirements and whether it will take the application forward to the next stage. When they have read the proposal it is possible for the initiators to visit the location in person to get a better idea of the destination, which is very important for their final impression.

The next and final step that bidders can use to influence the decision is the bid presentation. Once the necessary information has been sent in advance and the informative data is in place, this stage is the point at which a good presentation can tip the scales in your favour. During this lobbying stage, you also have the opportunity to present the less formal advantages of the location, your organisational team and the additional added value that holding the event right in your country will bring.

With the end of stage three, all your initial work is done and all that remains is to wait for the positive response.

Good luck!

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