A wholehearted venture, a bespoke offer for the organiser

The Palau de Congressos de Catalunya: an integrated project for successful events

In April 2011, HUSA and GLOBAL EXHIBITION CENTERS reached an agreement for GEC to take over the management of the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya. Behind this organisational change lies a project designed to enhance the effectiveness and assist the organisation of events held at this emblematic venue in Barcelona.

GEC was founded based on multidisciplinary collaboration between different kinds of companies and professionals to offer comprehensive solutions to venue management and the organisation of all kinds of events, committed to a line of business based on bringing both the spaces managed and the services provided under the same corporate umbrella.

5-Nacho-1_lowNacho Soler, Managing Director of Global Exhibition Centers

“Our approach is to help our clients do good business”

What initial results have you had after just over a year of being in business?

The results are very encouraging. We realise that 2012 is a complicated year, with two very important sports events being held in Europe, namely the Olympics in London and the European Football Championships in Poland and the Ukraine. But the foundations we’ve been laying for the last year have provided us with very good prospects for 2013. If we look at the reservations made at the end of April for the coming year, these have already grown by 40% compared with the same date last year.

Apart from the services you provide directly from GEC, the creation of an in-house team of suppliers also seems to be fundamental to GEC’s approach. Is that the case?

Yes, and more besides: they’re not suppliers; they’re partners, people we’ve totally involved in our venture, which means we can secure special prices that make us more competitive. We’re talking about Fluge, Eikonos, Marc Mart√≠, BcnCongres, Shef, Nova… with whom we form a unique team, a single brand.

Don’t organisers value highly being able to work freely with their own suppliers?

Perhaps, but we have to work well. It’s not a case of “anything goes”. If we take the example of occupational hazards we can see that, at a complex venue such as ours, it’s very complex for an external supplier to respect all the rules and standards. What we offer is a team of people and technical equipment that are perfectly primed to work at our venue. This guarantees there won’t be any problems, delays or faults. At the Palau, we don’t just rent out square metres for events: we sell a successful event.

What role do agencies play in your business?

A vital role: they’re our number one client and we want to look after them accordingly. We’ll do so particularly via economic agreements, applying commissions and discounts that help them improve their bottom line… We have to help them, to be at their side. Our approach is to help our clients do good business.

We’re even open to more innovative and aggressive financial set-ups that can sometimes result in us sharing the risk with the client. At times such as the present, we have to think outside the box, to be open to new ways of working that benefit everyone. If our clients gain, so do we; the aim is to establish win-win agreements.