november 2011 | Intro
Regard me as a human being and I will listen
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is a global advocacy organisation for the 250 million diabetics worldwide. It represents over 200 diabetes societies in more than 160 countries. The IDF is a voluntary organisation with official ties with the World Health Organisation and is a non-governmental member of the UN Department of Public Information. The IDF leads The World Diabetes Day campaign and organises The World Diabetes Congress.
Luc Hendrickx is responsible for the Diabetes Congress. At the Frankfurt IMEX fair in May, he was rewarded for his work when he received the Global Vision Award from the Canadian Tourism Commission for his significant contribution to congress work. In his thank you speech he addressed several intriguing aspects on how he is received as a purchaser of large international medical congresses.
What Luc Hendrickx considers as most significant in his dealings with destinations and congress venues, PCOs and DMCs, is that they mainly see him as a human being, not just a person they have to sell something to. “If they don’t understand who I am and the needs that I have then how do they know what to sell me?”
It is thus not particularly important to show him the complete offering of rooms at four and five star hotels. He does not need to see all the nooks and crannies of every congress venue. The supplier only needs to do some basic research before the meeting to understand the needs of Luc and his organisation, because the International Diabetes Federation will not visit a town at all if the destination lacks the hardware that the organisation needs.
Luc Hendrickx says that they strive to get to know the people behind the hardware. If they can form a relationship that holds throughout the project and perhaps become lifelong friends then we have achieved the same goal as he has. The meetings industry is all about people and relationships between people, long-term and enjoyable relationships or, as Luc says: “Once a customer, always a customer, even if the organisation never returns to that particular congress venue or destination.”