The Bridge to Prague year-long campaign was launched by the Prague Convention Bureau and ICCA (the International Congress and Convention Association) in November, 2016 aiming to introduce Congress Prague to the meetings industry experts who were considering attending the 56th ICCA Congress. It was held in Prague from 12-15 November, 2017.
The central theme of the campaign, which included both online and print media communication and social media, were bridges. These, in the same way as congresses and conferences, perform the functions of connecting and strengthening interactions. Furthermore, in 2017, the year when the ICCA Congress was held, the icon of Prague - Charles Bridge - celebrated the 660th anniversary of its foundation stone laying.
Since the launch of the campaign, a total of 298 articles informing about the 56th ICCA Congress were published in the media, worth more than €475,000. Most of the media coverage was recorded in the US, Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, Australia, Slovenia, India, Singapore and the Czech Republic.
The Congress’s official website recorded almost 31,000 visits from more than 14,000 unique visitors spending an average time of 2.3 minutes on the web in the busiest period between the beginning of August and end of December, 2017. The visit rate of the website of Prague Convention Bureau, the organiser of the 56th ICCA Congress, rose by 24 percent year-on-year in October and November.
When distributing the content covering the 56th ICCA Congress and Bridge to Prague Campaign, the Prague Convention Bureau focused mainly on social networks (57 percent of all communications) and on online media (34 percent), while the rest of the articles were published in print media (nine percent). As for social network communication, Twitter dominated with an average engagement rate of two percent.
“Under the #BridgetoPrague hashtag, a total of 2,663 posts occurred on social networks since the campaign had been launched, especially on Twitter and Instagram. A third of all the contributions were published in the week of the 56th ICCA Congress itself. From 9-16 November, the #BridgetoPrague hashtag reached 674,000 people on social networks with a total of more than 3.1 million impressions," adds Roman Muška, Director of the Prague Convention Bureau.
ICCA’s Director Marketing Mathijs Vleeming said: “A major challenge for each ICCA Congress destination is to utilise ICCA’s global brand and community to increase its PR profile. Since our 2014 ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey, ICCA has used a “Roadto…” hashtag to build momentum amongst our members and promote our upcoming Congress on social media.
“The #BridgetoPrague hashtag was a very nice twist on this. Moreover, the Bridge to Prague campaign took this tradition to another level as “building bridges” developed into the theme of the Congress. It was a joint campaign: Prague CVB used it to refer to the over 677 bridges in Prague, and ICCA linked it to the international meetings industry as a bridge and relationship builder. Prague also successfully used the theme in interactions with their local stakeholders, “crossing the bridge” between the global meetings industry and Prague’s local community. I think Prague CVB did a great job leveraging the opportunity the ICCA Congress provided!”