For many businesses, annual conferences are big events. They’re not only used to get everyone on the same page, but they also have a way of “rallying the troops” and increasing exposure in the marketplace.
But instead of hosting your next conference at the convention center down the street, why not splurge a little and travel abroad? There’s a growing body of research to suggest that benefits far outweigh the costs.
The Benefits of Hosting a Conference Abroad
At first, the thought of hosting a conference abroad might seem a little challenging. Logistically, it’s much more complicated to coordinate an event that’s halfway around the world than one that’s a five-minute drive away. But the following benefits should put you in the right frame of mind.
- Exposes Your Team to New Experiences
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at home. Your employees have the same routines. They wake up at the same time, drive the same streets to work, eat lunch at the same places, etc. When you throw them into the middle of a new city with a unique culture, they’re forced to experience the world in a new way for a few days.
Exposure to new cultures fuels creativity and should leave your employees feeling more inspired when they return home. If nothing else, they’ll be able to use their experiences abroad to become better-rounded individuals.
- Encourages Team Building
There’s no better way to encourage team building than by throwing a group of people into an unfamiliar situation. Interpersonal connections will be strengthened, leaders will emerge, and trust will be fostered. For best results, you should group certain people together as a way of building strategic relationships.
- Allows for Unique Networking Opportunities
Even if your conference is strictly internal – meaning all attendees are part of the organization – having a conference in a foreign city increases your brand exposure and puts you in front of other people and groups.
For example, let’s say your business is located in Chicago and you decide to host a conference in Athens, Greece. Just the fact that your company is present in Athens for a few days gives you the opportunity to meet new people and gain international exposure in a region you’ve never touched with formal advertising.
- Provides a Much Needed Break
A lot of employees just need a break from the stress and monotony of their daily lives. A trip abroad gives them something to look forward to for a few months and provides some much needed rest. The hope is that your team will come back feeling refreshed.
Consider These Destinations
Where do you want to travel? Cities like Toronto, London, Paris, and Tokyo are all classic destinations, but there are other options. If you’re looking for something affordable and unique, consider these three.
Reykjavik, Iceland. Iceland is one of the hottest travel destinations of the year – and for good reason. There’s so much to do in Reykjavik; it’s the country’s capital, and you’ll be absolutely amazed by how different it is from anywhere you’ve ever been before.
If you decide to go, late-summer and early-fall are the best times of year in regards to weather.
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Arguably the most cultural city in South America, Buenos Aires is a hub for politics, economics, science, and business. There are lots of conference centers and hotels available, as well, which makes this an easy place to find accommodations.
Beijing, China. Few cities in the world have as much to offer as Beijing. There are bright lights, world-class conference centers, incredible food and live entertainment, and new cultural experiences at every street corner. Definitely add Beijing to your “must visit” list.
Iceland, Argentina, and China, oh my! Hosting a conference in one of these cities can become a selling point for your business. Employees will begin to look forward to these events and the experiences will prove invaluable in the years to come.
Start Planning Your Next Conference
Again, it’s important that we stress the fact that planning a conference abroad is stressful, time-consuming, and challenging from a logistical point of view. But once you get the conference planned, the benefits begin to emerge. This might not be an annual tradition, but an occasional conference abroad can prove to be valuable.
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Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur, Social Media Week, CEOWORLD Magazine and the HuffingtonPost among others.