In this line of work you often find yourself in far-flung destinations. In fact, it was that exact phrase in a job description that made me apply for my current job all those years ago.
A wanderlust unites almost everyone in the business meetings and events industry. After all, who doesn’t love traversing the globe to meet, network, do good business and if we’re lucky enough, grab a few hours to explore the destination we’re in?
The likes of Google Maps and City Mapper have made the exploration of new and beloved destinations easier than ever before. Whether you’re on foot, in the saddle, or a passenger on a bus, train, tram or tube, routes from the hotel to the meeting venue have never been more ample or direct.
But I’ve found that going form A to B in the most direct route can often be double-edged sword when in a new destination because there is so much more to explore!
Knowing where to go, what to see and where to eat in an unfamiliar destination can sometimes be tricky, especially if you’re time-poor. TripAdvisor, Yodel and Google Reviews inspire to a degree, but if relied on to heavily, the recommended ‘hidden gem’ becomes a ‘tourist hotspot’.
I think an insider’s knowledge is the best way to see a destination in its most authentic state. Whether it’s a coffee from a barista tucked away at the back of a corner shop or a spot on a riverside to catch the best sunset – it’s the residents that seem to know best. Convention bureaux count as local knowledge and they have a part to play in shaping the delegate experience outside of a conference venue.
But when convention bureaux are off call and your phone battery is depleting, a static map is your best bet.
These can be found in tourist information centres and are usually dotted around towns and citys with the useful ‘You are here’ circle to help you get your bearings and gain perspective.
“Something like a static map can help increase our empathetic connection with people and places,” explains HipMaps founder, Rachel LeRoy.
“In this age of digital maps, where we can virtually travel anywhere in the world via the small computer in the palm of our hand, and we can zoom closer or farther with a mere pinch of our fingers, it is hard to maintain perspective. Without perspective there can be disconnect to others.”
It was perspective and experience that IMEX Group had in mind in 2022 when it used HipMaps' services to create a bespoke delegate map for its 2022 IMEX America event. The map guided delegates to either scheduled-events or desirable locations, such as attractions, cafes and bars, that had been recommended by the host.
LeRoy added: “IMEX America is an enormous event in a city filled with an overwhelming number of attractions surrounding the convention. HipMaps was created to make events fun, easy and less overwhelming.”
Next time you’re in a new destination, grab those spare minutes and explore what else is on offer besides the undoubtedly brilliant meeting venue. Whether it's an interactive map, a static map or your inbuilt compass - be sure to explore!
A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.