The road to IFOMPT : the journey continues

So here we go with the second instalment of the road to IFOMPT2016. To recap-we tried and we failed to win the race to host IFOMPT2012! Lessons learned? Well, to be honest, quite a few, but there was one clear message that came out of the failed bid-that was the importance of getting a good team together and engaging people in the process. This was a huge positive and one we were determined to take forward with our bid for 2016.

So where to start? Get a great team together.

A call went out to all MACP members to ask if anyone was game enough or daft enough to want to put in a huge amount of work for potentially no return! Bearing in mind that all these folk were volunteers, we had a great response. We needed somewhere to host the conference-a city and a venue in that city. Now that the Olympics had left town, we were free to explore other UK venues.

We approached 5 UK cities and venues and asked them to pitch for the privilege of potentially hosting IFOMPT. The city representatives presented to the newly formed bid committee and we were unanimous in wanting to work with Glasgow. Why?-well they presented their city and venue fantastically and with obvious love and enthusiasm which was infectious. What really won us over though was the fact that they had really understood the MACP, IFOMPT and the ethos of the conference. Talk about doing your homework-they were super professional and slick without being oily. It felt like a good fit and looking back I have no doubt that we made the perfect choice.
The Glasgow City marketing Bureau and their front man Campbell Arnott as well as from the venue, the SECC (or Armadillo as it is known locally) were fantastic at then hosting us in Glasgow for a site visit ( not a euphemism for a jolly, honest). We were all wowed by the City and the venue, and the possibilities for a great conference-we just needed to put in a successful bid.

So- the need for a bid book –the bid committee worked tirelessly to produce exciting themes and programme ideas, and to get these into a workable format for the bid document which looked amazing thanks to the GCMB folk.
So then to the bid video-how hard could it be to stand in front of a camera and say-“come to Glasgow, it’ll be great”-as it turns out, virtually impossible for me. I have a twin brother who is a BBC correspondent and spends his life in front of camera. It looks so easy-what could possibly go wrong? Almost everything- I reckon, but after 36 takes I nailed my 20 second piece to camera and we wrapped the days filming of the promo-woohoo!I’d persuaded Professor Ann Moore and Helen Welch to fly up with me to do the filming in a day. Ann has only just started talking to me again after a marathon 20 hour day- but it was worth it.

Then to our PCO-what the blazes is a PCO I hear you cry-my sentiments entirely at the time, but it is a Professional Conference Organisers-aah I see –someone who knows how to do this thing-what a great idea! Helen Welch and I interviewed 5 companies and again went for the company who really knew what we were about. Lynn Sampson from MCI sat down and told us how MCI could fit in with our objectives and help steer us through the challenges ahead. Man she was super good at her pitch, and again made our decision easy. We haven’t looked back since and have had amazing support from MCI throughout, but more of the fantastic spreadsheet loving statto Ollie Brook in the next installment!

So- time to submit our bid and cross our fingers. We were up against great bids from Zaragoza and Melbourne but were confident-what could possibly go wrong?

Chris Mercer

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