#Madridneverstops! How The City Has Adapted to a Post-Covid World

Madrid has been named the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination at the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row.  That said, Madrid has consolidated its position as the leading destination for meetings tourism worldwide.  The Tourism Department, through the Madrid Convention Bureau, is working on a re-positioning plan to revive meetings & tourism in the city in the wake of the pandemic.  That said, the Spanish capital has just taken first place in the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination category at the 27th World Travel Awards, the tourism industry’s premier awards ceremony. This year, it took place during a virtual gala broadcast from Moscow.  Having won this recognition before, the city has now been called the “go-to” hub for professional meetings, beating out cities like Paris, Dubai, Singapore, and Las Vegas.  In addition, Madrid received the award for Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination at the regional edition of the World Travel Awards and was also voted Best MICE Destination in Europe at the first edition of the World MICE Awards.

Need we say more? As we are all aware, this past year has been one of challenge, change and ultimately triumph from the hospitality world’s perspective.   These awards are a tremendous boost for the capital which, through the Tourism Department and Madrid Convention Bureau (MCB), continues to strive to regain the trust of meeting planners and professionals with all the latest protocols to ensure Madrid is one of the world’s safest destinations.  The capital is also working tirelessly to guarantee the excellence of aspects that have become Madrid’s hallmarks: outstanding service, innovative proposals and the dedication of its professionals. The main lines of action that will soon be implemented have been defined in a strategic plan designed to position and promote the city, which will reactivate and strengthen various sectors of business in response to the crisis caused by the pandemic (with focus on the domestic and local market, as well as on the association market). Another significant line of action will be training activities for the members of the Madrid Convention Bureau.  The MCB (Madrid Convention Bureau) is focused on bringing people “back to life” within this great industry of ours.  Their working premise and call to action now has been to maintain human contact, and exchange information on with members continuously.  This includes calling for follow up meetings, training webinars and events (firstly online, then hybrid, and ultimately face-to-face).  Secondly, they will continue to promote and maintain face-to-face events (everyone’s main goal!) which included their annual event Recognition Night and two annual general meetings of company members.  Lastly, they always look to reinvent themselves, taking advantage of the time spent away to learn about new ways to adapt to this new work environment.  This circled around learning how to cope with new demands of meeting planners, while establishing new alliances with various professional associations.

Given safety and adaptation are quite poignant words that describe the great city of Madrid post Covid, let’s talk a bit about how these ideals are relevant to meetings today.  From the very beginning of the crisis, the Spanish Tourism Ministry as well as the government, generated all the recommendations and orders to create “safe events.” The goal is to maintain the activity pre-Covid, but with restrictions of capacities, recommendations of health security, and an emphasis of duty of care.  With this, comes the hope that the market increases (slowly but surely) and reasonably sized events are adapted.  With these safety measures and adaptions in place comes the hashtag – #MadridNeverStops.  A movement that wants our industry to know they are committed to making events happen again (safely & professionally) at one of the world’s top meeting destinations.    Madrid promises to offer all the sanitary guarantees so that events can continue to take place at their amazing venues.  Covid protocols and certifications have been voluntarily implemented in hotels, restaurants, transport, museums and all the tourism services.

Among those health guarantees, it is important to mention the antigen tests that all the participants in Iberian MICE Forums (which are professional 1-1 events) carried out before starting these workdays. Destinations and suppliers have met with some 40 event planners of companies based in Spain in a forum that combined one-to-one appointments, training sessions and motivational talks, that included its director’s viewpoint on the transformation of corporate events.  Madrid has held face-to-face Iberian MICE Forums Especial Destinos – which encompassed 70-80 event planners from agencies and corporations with the Spanish CVBs. This was designed to value everything that a Convention Bureau can contribute to the organizers in the development and support of their meetings.  It opened with a round table on best practices for the reactivation of the MICE sector, in which the CVB director also took part in.  Not only this, but Madrid is also reinventing how major shows are held – getting creative in various ways – to host only the best events.  MBFW Madrid (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid), was the first and only face-to-face hybrid walkway held on the international circuit in 2021.  This offered multiple perspectives to each of the shows that can be seen on the catwalk and through its digital platform, which hosted content and live broadcasts for all.

Speaking of high fashion, Madrid is also expanding its luxury market.  The city is a great choice should groups want a unique, upscale experience in this amazing historical city. For this reason, Madrid is delighted to welcome the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, which opened in the Fall of 2020, and also the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, which recently opened in April 2021.  With the great collection Madrid hotels, events are starting to return to the city.  These include sporting events, fairs/congresses and award ceremonies (all done with safety and duty of care to adapt to our “new normal”).  Madrid has ever stopped – but is now focused on getting planners back to business in our new post-Covid world.  For more information – please contact the Madrid Convention Bureau.  Their professional and friendly specialists can help you with all things Madrid – as an ideal destination for holding all types of meetings, from conferences to congresses to incentive trips.  We can’t wait to see what the future of Madrid has in store!

 

Samantha

Samantha Meloni is a senior meeting specialist and a 20+ year veteran in the meeting & events industry who contributes to industry-specific pieces for i-Meet. She currently also holds a 3 star Meeting Professional Badge. Feel free to connect with Samantha on LinkedIn, i-Meet and Ive-Been-There.

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