Blending cutting-edge technology and tradition with impeccable hospitality, stunning landscapes, a sustainable approach to co-existence with nature, Japan is a country that has continued to inspire visitors for generations.
But what is it like to organize an international conference in Japan? What are the critical factors in making it succeed? And — above all — why should organizers choose Japan as their next venue? Mr. Ori Lahav, President of IAPCO, and Mr. Mathias Posch, Chair of IAPCO Training Academy, two professionals who have significant experience and knowledge of organizing conferences in Japan, help us answer those questions — along with several practical tips for future event organizers.Mr. Ori Lahav
President of IAPCOMr. Mathias Posch
Chair of IAPCO Training Academy
Coordinate with key persons and/or people in charge well at all event planning stages and ensure that there is a clear outline for every step from the beginning. Organizers will find that smooth arrangements can easily be made by clearly communicating the conference's intentions and goals to Japan's local suppliers and staff. This way, organizers can also expect various creative ideas and practical suggestions from their Japanese counterparts.
It also makes a big difference if roles are defined at the early planning stages. Communicate closely, have regular meetings, and carry out each task individually, one step at a time while keeping everyone involved in the implementation progress. Use local PCOs and CVBs as liaisons to help you with the necessary information and know-how on various topics, such as program content creation, that consider local transportation schedule arrangements and comply with Japanese laws and regulations.
Participants have traveled long distances to attend the event and are keen to experience Japan as much as they can during their stay. There are many ways to make them feel Japan as soon as they join the event: organize conference set-up design and entertainment that incorporates elements of the Japanese culture and nature or prepare goods unique to the conference with a Japanese flavor. Making use of the local culture will keep guests entertained and help keep the local staff highly motivated throughout the entire event. Most Japanese people are highly keen on presenting their culture in its best light to overseas guests. As an organizer, you may rest assured that they develop many creative ideas to achieve this.
At IASLC 18th in Yokohama, for example, the conference used different means to fully display the spirit of Japanese culture through design, performances, and other creative activities. The conference opened with a powerful taiko drum performance and a traditional sake barrel-breaking toast. All signage carried a Japanese element in the design, while conference rooms and rest areas were decorated in beautiful cherry blossoms, among other Japanese natural elements. Each table at the gala dinner was uniquely decorated with various Japanese souvenirs, which guests could take home with them. The event became IASLC's highest-rated conference in terms of delegate satisfaction.
As we have demonstrated so far, Japan is a country that blends unique culture with modernity and tradition and is safe, clean, and has a well-functioning infrastructure and technology to meet professional travelers' needs. Hosting a conference in Japan can open numerous opportunities for your business. The first step to this is earning a high level of satisfaction from the conference attendees, which can be achieved easier than you think.