It’s been a couple of days now since Johanna and I came back from Vilnius, where we attended Convene (8-9 February) for the second time in a row. (Johanna even for the third time!)

Just like last year, the organization was perfect. From the information flow prior to the fair, the booking of the flight and the pick-up service at the airport, over the bus transfer to the exhibition site and the evening events, to the whole stay at the fair, everything ran smoothly and there wasn’t a single case to complain about.

Johanna arrived in Vilnius a day later than I did, as she was on a famtrip in Israel (25 degrees in Tel Aviv vs. minus 15 in Vilnius – an ideal start for a few very busy days).

She was there just on time to attend the networking event on Wednesday evening.

The years before, this event had taken place in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, a baroque palace originally constructed in the 15th century. This time, the team around CONVENE decided for something new and modern – the K29. Situated in the heart of Vilnius, K29 is an eye-catching business centre combining distinctive architecture and modern style on the right bank of the Neris River. The decision for this brand new venue was perfectly in line with the dynamic development of CONVENE and the city in general. Also the program was different – two choirs of young people, a DJ, electric violin and a lot of dancing.

CONVENE’s team is dominated by highly efficient and thoroughly engaged ladies! A meeting industry tradeshow organized and operated  by women – that’s not very common in our industry. The special “female touch” gets evident in many ways – and certainly not only by the color scheme of CONVENE, a bright pink and fresh green! Many small details point towards the love and dedication for details – an example: in the hosted buyer lounge the CONVENE team has put vases with fresh flowers on every single table. Everything was warm and friendly. During the fair and at all evening events, the “boss” Jolanta Beniulene was personally welcoming every single guest. Good food and healthy drinks, a lunch for all participants (during which there is a break in work), support for any special requests: the organization was perfect and the team was on the spot!

The effort to make the education program better every year pays off! Visitors could choose from thirteen different education sessions, all showing hot topics! Timo Heinaro (Seikkailu Oy Fincentive) for example spoke about the fundamentals of incentive travel and James Latham (Fred Production Company) shared his experience why business events have become so strategically important to destinations. Quality sessions and speakers throughout!

Johanna as well shared our expertise – as meeting industry content is tmf’s focus, she shows the audience how to bring in a true personal touch and emotions into communication, in order to increase audience.

We had yet another task during our stay in Vilnius! To prepare a knowledge portrait on the city, we both were leading interviews with some very interesting people from Vilnius – I had the pleasure to talk to the president of the Lithuanian Hotel & Restaurant Association, the Director of Vilnius Airport, the Mayor of Vilnius and many more.

On Thursday then, the informal Farewell Dinner was held in the Restaurant GREY, for those buyers and exhibitors staying another night in Vilnius. It was an equally fantastic event with lots of great conversation and lots of laughter. Johanna and I stayed over in Vilnius to continue with meetings and interviews – the series is explained here. Please follow on for the continuos story-line!

But at this point we want to thank the great team of CONVENE for hosting and supporting our work there!

Ulrike Kiesel