Floriane Chanalet-Quercy, Sales & Marketing Director of BEAM for the last two years, has contributed to the reinvention of business tourism, marked by a period of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She shares her view of the sector, in an interview replete with resilience and optimism.

Where was business tourism at when you took up your present position?

In late February 2022, COVID had not disappeared completely but the events sector was slowly coming back to life. Events gathering more than 5,000 people had just been reauthorised. I arrived at this in-between stage, as the sector was undergoing a period of deep questioning. Were all events now going to be organised in a hybrid format? No! In fact, this pandemic highlighted above all just how useful events are in triggering encounters. Hybrid and remote formats, which are rapidly losing ground, do not allow for the same quality of exchange between our customers and participants. This moment of doubt finally led to new impetus, driven by the importance of contact, a key factor in the creation of social ties and knowledge sharing. The current success of business tourism is truly based on face-to-face meetings. Medical sector congresses are a perfect example. Participants tell us that they learn as much in the auditorium as over a buffet or during dinner!

Where does BEAM’s offer have the edge over competitors?

We are fortunate enough to operate 5 complementary venues, with an offer that fully meets the current demands of business tourism. These venues are a crucial factor of our strategy. I’m thinking of Hangar 14 in particular, and its magnificent patio overlooking the Garonne. With the Pont de Pierre bridge to the right and the Chaban-Delmas bridge to the left, it is an ideal venue for general public events or corporate evenings and galas! The Cité Mondiale Convention Centre is also a very appealing venue. Its human scale and auditorium correspond fully to the needs of companies, who avail of exclusive access to the site, just next door to a hotel. Located in the heart of Bordeaux in the renowned Chartrons district, opposite the tram line and a short ride from the train station, these venues are perfectly suited to events on a local, national or international scale, and benefit from the solid, comprehensive expertise and support of BEAM’s teams (welcoming of participants, logistics, accommodation and catering, etc.).

What prospects do you see for business tourism in the years to come?

I believe business tourism will continue to grow, with a gradual concentration of the sector’s players (PCOs, events agencies and fair organisers), which includes us. In this regard, the complementarity of our sales offer is a key advantage. Some customers are won over by the vast spaces of the historical and emblematic Bordeaux Exhibition Centre, now linked to the architecturally innovative Palais 2 l’Atlantique venue, inaugurated in 2019. Others prefer the contemporary architecture and natural light of the Bordeaux Congress Centre.

I also believe that sustainability will become a growing challenge for event venues. As part of our eco-responsible strategy, we train our teams in sustainable events and we are very proud to have obtained ISO 20121 certification for BEAM. Lastly, greater importance will be given to the experience factor and added value of the destination. How do we place our region at the heart of our facilities? From Amsterdam to Oslo, all auditoriums look alike, but the Hangar 14 patio is an unforgettable experience! In short, when a participant arrives in the centre of Bordeaux, they should be able to say: ‘I’m going to learn something, enjoy this appealing destination and leave refreshed and enriched…’ Meetings have a bright future ahead!

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