Conference organizing nowadays is not an easy task especially when taking steps to enforce security and risk management measures (Bowdin et al, 2006). Conferences that observe good health status, low risks and high security measures are the most probable places to get high number of clients. Some centers provide tourism sectors, sports and other leisure activities to its clients and all this services have to be maintained so as to attract a good number of clients (Davidson and Rogers, 2006, pp 48).
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The MICE sector is an organization that is based in the United Kingdom and is geared to generate large capital in the economy. Tourism in the UK is an important sector that boosts its activities and so this calls for large amounts of capital to maintain the facilities. The tourism sector in the UK includes a lot of business travels which entails activities such as attending conferences, incentive travels, trade fairs and exhibitions and also individual preference for leisure travels (Golden, 2007, pp 18).
According to Rogers (2008, pp 255), the top ten conference destinations and conference business within the UK includes London, York, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Harrogate, Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Briton & Hove and lastly Perthshire. Among the top conference centers in the UK, London hosts the most number of meetings and is the top most in performance compared to the other destinations (Lawson, 2000, pp 156). Davidson and Rogers (2006, pp 50), reviewed some of the reasons as to why London is at the top in hosting MICE events. He discovered that London is centrally placed in the country and it has an easy access to travel by air and this gives the travelers an easy time when moving about. It also hosts a good number of finance sectors, banking industry, culture and arts and lastly it provides headquarters of many international companies. Apart from the following advantages, Golden (2007, pp 18), has observed that London is loosing a lot of valuable tourists because it has been overpopulated with no space for further expansion services.
The MICE sector faces a lot of challenges in the industry including the need to improve facilities that are used in collecting data in the sector. MICE have decided to improve its facilities by involving the government in providing it with capital. The support extends to training staffs working in the sector, improving the infrastructural facilities and finally conducting enough researches on its destinations centers so as to maximize the opportunities available in this center (Jago et al, 2003, pp 12).
One of the conference centers that is under the MICE sector is Arena and Convention Center Liverpool (ACC Liverpool). It is situated in river Mersey and it is one of the largest and top class convention centers in the United Kingdom. It is combined in a single venue but has multifunctional sectors in it (Jones, 2005, pp 242). The venue has a committed staff that ensures it meets the daily needs of its monthly and daily clients. According to (Jones, 2005, pp 245), the ACC Liverpool convention has environmentally friendly measures implemented, in that it releases less toxic substances in the air such as carbon dioxide and it also uses less electricity costs compared to the other centers in the United Kingdom. It is a centre that hosts many Europe’s exhibitions, arts and culture shows, conferences and also lives performances by prominent persons. This gives it a credit when competing with the other centers that are located in United Kingdom. Its continuous growth is focused on using more mitigation measures such as recycling its waste materials, conducting a waste management trainings for its immediate staffs in the surrounding and concentrating on utilizing energy efficient services (Jones, 2005, pp 187).
Carlsen, et al (2000, pp 245), stated that the ACC Liverpool center has collaborated with a nearby power station to aid it in attaining the above management measures. The power station (Widness power station, PDM) receives the food wastes from ACC Liverpool and converts it into a homogenous puree which is then injected in boilers. The boilers then create a steam that is used to turn the turbines thereby generating electricity from it. Hilier (2000, pp 440), also noted that the wastes from the exhibitions and conferences are sorted and recycled into a re-use state when they are taken to the Orchid environmental.
Apart from the above measures that aid ACC Liverpool, it is also observed that it has two main parts that are used for live performances. The BT convention center and Echo arena hosted over 450 live events including the Davis cup and other concerts which saw its growth and development (Carlen and Taylor, 2003, pp 18). The parts have very supportive teams that makes sure that the venues are kept clean and in a world class state so as to attract even prominent individuals for their leisure tours and travel. They also contribute a good percentage in the landfill project to aid in environment conservation.
ACC Liverpool also has an advantage over the other centers in that it is centrally located in the country and has an easy access from the European airport. The center has decided to maximize the potentials arrived at by its location and accessibility to Europeans that come in and out of the country. It has also enacted a prestigious communication system called MCI which oversees organization of all events and communications within the center.
The constant increase of international services to the United Kingdom has made the ACC Liverpool to be on toes for better services and involvement in the renowned business forums for international travel and meeting industry, EIBTM, 2009. It has maintained an up to date technology services to ensure that it increases it familiarity within the city as a destination of United Kingdom. It has established links with the research and innovative world by hosting homes to top world class universities, cancer and other infections research centers and finally science parks that keep up with the present technology.
In the competition market, ACC Liverpool has gained a lot of popularity among the destinations of United Kingdom comparing itself to other conferences held in America, Australia and Canada. Golden (2007, pp 150), reports that it is said that it will host for the first time, international society for the scholarships of teaching and learning (ISSOTL) which is a large conference event that have been held in other international centers for the past years. Being the first time for United Kingdom hosting such a big event in its working years, it has made super preparations in the BT convention so that the event will be at its best and in the same time taking the economy at a higher level in the economy.
The management team has made efforts to increase the services it offers to its client’s thereby looking forward to be top most destination in United Kingdom. According to Jago et al (2003, pp 12), the management has also ensured that it safeguards its clients by thoroughly maintaining health and security services at the right time. It has also enacted a better communication system that is client sensitive including providing earpieces designed to give total comfort to the crowd in conferences. It has enhanced its audio clarity in that speech can be audible and clear to the audiences attending the conferences.
Liverpool has the largest number of buildings which are notably said to be important than even the cities like London in the United Kingdom. Its ware front area is in a prestigious location because it places it near famous world sites such as the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal and Stonehenge. It is also hosts the famous football club , Liverpool FC, apart from other sporting activities which includes golf courses and horse racing at Haydock park (Golden (2007, pp 19). The transportation sector is well defined and it includes the air transport, road and rail transport. It has accessible road transport and a very fast rail transport which are easily available to the clients who want to travel through the region.
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Jones (2005, pp 242), notably stated that Liverpool has incorporated other international agencies in its operations which are responsible I conducting researches on matters such as radioactive waste management and environmental mitigation measures. The international atomic energy agency has been supporting Liverpool preparing technical programs, presentation and promotion of the conference to other member countries in the world and finally providing financial assistance when they in a crisis.
Liverpool has incorporated the system of incentive travel to its clients which is, defined by Golden (2007, pp 18), a tool that is used to motivate participants to continue increasing support to accomplishing an organizational goal or statement mission. Carlen and Taylor (2003, pp 18), further noticed that the figure obtained from the above system was used by the conference center to calculate the impact it had on its immediate environment as a destination center. The management was in a position to calculate the total amount that was invested in the conference centers and also calculate the number of employments it created in each city where the conference centers were located.
Some of the negative impacts a convention has on its destination include diverse effects on the environment through emitting harmful carbon dioxide in the air, depositing high level of wastes from exhibitions and food just alongside the conferences creating an unhealthy environment to the clients. Another impact created on the environment includes loud noise from the aircrafts which pollutes the environment by noise pollution or depleting the ozone layer thereby threatening the lives of those living and working along those areas (Jones, 2005, pp 245)
All the above impacts have been looked unto by the management of Liverpool and safer steps taken to ensure that the environment is conducive. They have developed use of quieter aircrafts to reduce noise pollution, enrolled themselves in the international hotel environment initiatives, have adopted waste management and recycling strategies to ensure that all wastes are taken care of and do not have an effect on the clients. They have also initiated the use of more energy efficient systems, the use of better and advanced technological services such as use of emails and electronic use to reduce the waste of exhibition papers.
The conventions also affect the society and community socially when the conferences are held in town and there is need for security to the clients. This will mean that the local residents near the conventions will not be in a position to move about freely as some of the areas will be branded as a ‘no go zone’ for them. According to Golden (2007, pp 18), such impacts may also reduce business activities in the area including lack of shopping activities and carrying out of trade within the area vicinity.
Such impacts in the community are not usually paid attention to by those in the management because they view such conferences in terms of economic contribution to the area in which the conference is being held from. Those living there also benefit from such conventions when they get employed to work in the organization thus improving their living standards.
Carlen and Taylor (2003, pp 19), observed that Liverpool took the initiative to promote a positive influence to those living within the vicinity of the company. It has led to improvement of living standards to the residents there by creating job opportunities that enables them to appreciate their services in the area. It also supports its staff members by incorporating them in making the organizational decision so that their needs can also be catered for besides the needs of the clients.
The need to create a good decision when selecting a location of a conference center as a destination has led to Liverpool working alongside the marketing organizations which conducts researches on it to asses an area that generate an increased conference business. It has also taken initiatives in using marketing strategies and principles with the aim of fulfilling the customer’s needs. All these measures are undertaken by ACC Liverpool to ensure its business flourishes in the world as it competes with other destinations in United Kingdom.
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