Corportate events and green philosophy

November 18, 2016

Interview with Enrico de Luca

In the world of corporate events, the issue of sustainability and smart content in incentive services is undoubtedly a hot topic: more and more companies ask dmc to package tailor made events with green features.
With the contribution of Enrico de Luca, head of marketing and projects of ViaggieMiraggi, among the major Italian companies of sustainable tourism, we propose you an in-depth about what it means to create today a green event in Italy, and potentialities of our territory within this paradigm.

Considering your long and deep experience as operators in the area of sustainable and responsible tourism with many different destinations all over the world, have you ever tried to think about Italy as a “green” destination for meetings, incentives and events?

Italy as a brand is attractive everywhere, we know, but associating quality and skill with a niche product cannot be taken for granted to the same extent. In a sector such as meetings and incentives, very careful study of the clientele and the suppliers is required, and an ability to give precise and detailed responses based on good understanding of the types of services to be offered and client needs. But in a destination like Italy, which is still virgin territory with great potential in which opportunities can be born, it is very likely that the northern European incentives market is indeed interested in considering how the new green approach could apply, as a way of giving their employees that type of experience.

In fact as you may know, more and more events are being planned in a sustainable manner: the question is whether you consider Italy is sufficiently prepared to host sustainable events of this kind?

I think there’s a great deal of work to do on training. Undoubtedly the potential does exist, but for now the only well organised high-quality sustainable service is limited to small groups, where the margin for error is smaller. Larger-scale events could be more complicated and would require the supply of local food, high-quality interaction with local initiatives, and small craft-based industries and gadgets, on a much larger scale. The challenge is to achieve quality but at larger scales, and to succeed in achieving continuity as a way to create the word-of-mouth effect, and provide an economic driver for the economic solidarity districts where these events actually take place.

Green certification has the significant advantage of adding to an already strong reputation: on the one hand, companies that entrust corporate events to destination management companies are increasingly aware of the sustainability component. On the other hand sustainable services have to maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience for the participants whilst raising their awareness of sustainability. How do you think these components can be successfully combined when planning an event in Italy?

As always, the secret lies in also conditioning the client to a certain extent. For example: making a dawn appointment with a sheep farmer, helping him to milk the sheep and transform the fresh milk into cheese in the space of a few hours is an ancestral, natural thing, but is obviously very far away from the reality of corporate life. So the appeal would lie in combining the impeccability of a service, the times at which it is provided, and its hygiene and professionalism with a gesture or an experience that lies outside the normality of everyday life. Since these are two worlds that have to shape each other reciprocally, clearly it’s of fundamental importance that the professionalism of an operator who engages in a dialogue with these two worlds must be aware of the critical aspects and the potential of both, understanding the points at which they meet and their shared interests. Italy’s particular characteristics, its food, its landscapes, and its relational abilities, mean that it can be positioned as a world leader, but that is something in which everyone would need to believe, and in which all the actors would need to play their part.

If we were to ask you to identify a particular time of year and a region in Italy in which to organise a “smart” event, where would you suggest?

Springtime comes to mind, in a region that is not yet very well known: Abruzzo, where the biodiversity is very extensive and the rural traditions are still very much alive, with breathtaking mountain and hillside landscapes, and monasteries and villages that are still intact. In a setting of that kind, a sustainable service is easily contextualised and the authentic experience emerges in all its strength and solidity.