Events have enormous value

Innovation, knowledge sharing and matchmaking serve as the core foundations of any worthwhile event. And if you think further, the ultimate point of events is the value of face-to-face encounters. This is why the RAI has placed such meetings at the core of our strategy and innovation focus. How much do events actually contribute to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area? And what can events and the RAI mean to businesses, research institutes and other innovators in the city? I have written this blog upon request of the Amsterdam Economic Board, to highlight the value of events for the city of Amsterdam.

The city as an innovation hub
For many visitors, the reason to go to an event is to see all the latest innovations within a given discipline in one place, in a city that is the hub of the industry at the given time. This is about discovering and trying out innovations, being stimulated and challenged. Bringing together innovations gives a great deal of new inspiration and generates fresh momentum. Visitors like to hear real stories and news, and to talk to creators, designers and CEOs.

Events – and therefore the city – have considerable appeal. Next to the business potential that events represent for companies, they are a showcase for the industry, a living lab for innovators and a powerful way to bring innovations to market. The RAI facilitates this via initiatives such as our InnovationLAB. For example, we create a platform for innovations during exhibitions in worlds of experience, robot arenas and start-up lanes. We also challenge research institutes, start-ups, partners and clients to develop new products and services together with us so as to increase the value of encounters.

Expand your network even faster
Your entire network is just a handshake away. We feel that physical encounters remain the most intensive and valuable form of communication. They can be enriched with online tools, however. Everything revolves around the community and around the best way to bring people into contact with each other – throughout the year, with the event itself as the highlight. By connecting your city or company with the event, you quickly gain access to the entire network: new customers and partners, often from around the world, all within walking distance of your office.

A well thought-through design and format increase the impact of an event for visitors, exhibitors and partners. There is certainly room here to also have some fun. For example, we are seeing more and more business events organised in the form of a festival, where the whole city is a stage and where visitors and residents can both be inspired. TNW, Amsterdam Dance Event, Shoptalk in Copenhagen and SXSW in Austin are fine examples of this approach.

Connected knowledge 
Wherever and whenever events are held they open up a potential gold mine of knowledge. Physical and virtual connections within a given field always produce a wealth of new insights. There is an enormous value to bringing together knowledge, both for the city and the country where the event takes place. This includes local access to information, subsidies that can be activated and lobby possibilities at your fingertips. It also has a clear impact on the sector and science. For instance, the fact that we will host the international AIDS conference in 2018 means that a lot of smart people busy in the battle against AIDS will come together in Amsterdam during that period, which can mean a lot in the overall process of finding a cure for the disease.

The objectives of events are often linked to issues that matter in the world today. Medical conferences contribute to curing diseases, sustainability events look at the health of the planet, and exhibitions often focus on a relevant central theme or subject, from lifestyle to water management. Exhibition and conference organisers search the city for opportunities to inspire residents and businesses and make an impact with their event. For instance, during the ERS lung congress the ‘lungs for life’ health ambition was made visible in the city through healthy cycling paths and possibilities for visitors on Dam Square to have their lungs tested.

Events that strengthen Amsterdam
At the RAI, we actively search for global events which we would like to host in Amsterdam. These are events which we feel fit well with the country and the metropolitan region, which would strengthen us and vice versa. We focus on areas in which the country and region have a global edge.

For the Netherlands that is the nine ‘top sectors’ identified by the Dutch government. In Amsterdam they are the Economic Board challenges of the circular economy, digital connectivity, health, mobility and talent for the future. The RAI works closely with Holland Marketing, Amsterdam Marketing, the City of Amsterdam and partners such as Schiphol, KLM and various hotels. We often also consider the requests of industry, research institutes and associations.

Having a global event flourish in our beautiful city makes us proud. And if the event can help the Netherlands and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area make a step forward then all the better. Events can have enormous value. If you still have doubts, challenge us: how can we help take your ambition or subject areas to the next level with an event?

We look forward to hearing from you!

RAI Amsterdam organises events in the Netherlands and abroad and operates the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam. RAI welcomes around 1.5 million visitors and 18,000 exhibitors at approximately 500 events every year. An Ecorys study has shown that RAI Amsterdam annually contributes half a billion euros to the local economy – for every euro spent in the RAI, seven are spent in the city. In addition, the RAI generates 7,000 jobs in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Yvonne Nassar

Yvonne Nassar

Yvonne Nassar | @yvonnenassar | Head of Marketing & Innovation RAI Amsterdam | International | Travelling | Running | Great food

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