Behind the scenes of the record-breaking EAACI Congress
The practical arrangements of the congress were coordinated by EAACI’s central office and its experienced partner network. It took care of everything from registration, accommodation, exhibition and connections with the event location and innumerable details. This enabled the Finnish hosts to focus on the scientific content.
Science, latest developments and meeting people
Professionals get a lot out of science congresses. The latest research findings were offered in the EAACI Congress in a number of ways at the same time – seminar rooms, workshops, panel discussions, the exhibition area and by meeting colleagues. This took up all the meeting rooms and seminar halls. At best, we had some 3,000 in the same space.
The exhibition formed a key part of the science congress, with companies meeting their core target groups. The exhibition area was fully booked well before the congress started. Congresses are also excellent places for networking. During the EAACI welcome event in the first evening, people had a chance to meet old acquaintances and learn to know new people in a relaxed atmosphere.
Messukeskus has expertise for all needs
Project Manager Päivi Tikkinen was in charge of the congress arrangements at Messukeskus.
“Overall coordination was in the hands of EAACI’s central office,” says Tikkinen. “They were assisted by Interplan, specialising in exhibition arrangements. The registration and posters were done by K.I.T. Security, cleaning and some of the reservations were handled by VOBE. The AV technology partner was MiceMedia assisted by the AV specialists of Messukeskus SVV for video communication and Schenker for logistics.”
The network connections of the congress require special attention. SVV brought in their expertise. The connections had to work at all times, as thousands of participants logged into the network simultaneously. The visitors were thrilled of free Wi-Fi which worked.
Fazer Food Services played a big role, too, offering several lunch options, while the fixed restaurants of Messukeskus were also open throughout the congress. Catering services received a lot of positive feedback from tasty food to flexible and fast service – 500 extra lunch bags was arranged for the next day!
The Messukeskus construction and furnishing services did a fantastic job. During the nights, things were taken down and new things were built. Come the following morning, some of the areas looked quite different than they did the previous day. Messukeskus designers and construction experts also took part. For example, EAACI’s own information desk and the design of certain exhibition areas were done by them.
The Messukeskus graphics services took care of the signs. Moving from one area to the next had to be quick and easy. This is where signs played a major role.
Security was taken care of by Messukeskus partner Securitas. Cooperation with EAACI’s security experts was close.
“Implementing a huge congress requires particularly close and detailed cooperation between all parties,” says Tikkinen. “When this was successful, so was the end result, and the participants had a memorable experience.”
Helsinki attracts congress visitors
A record-breaking congress summer 2017 attracted thousands of international visitors to Helsinki and Messukeskus. All congress organizers exceeded the expected number of visitors. In addition to EAACI there was two other congresses who had the all time high number of delegates.
International congresses have also a major financial impact on Helsinki. The 6 big summer congresses brought more than 25,000 visitors and EUR 50 million to the Helsinki metropolitan area in which EAACI had a share of EUR 12 million.
Messukeskus maintains close contacts with Finnish universities and organisations in order to support their efforts in bringing international scientific and organisational congresses to Finland. We do a significant part of this work in close cooperation with Finpro, Visit Finland, Helsinki Marketing and various convention bureaus. We also hand over the Scientific Conference Power Player prize sponsored by the Finnish Fair Foundation each year. The prize goes to a person who has put significant efforts to promote the organisation of international scientific conferences in Finland.
“When we work together we get good results. Success stories are the best PR for us”, says Anni Vepsäläinen, the CEO of Messukeskus.
Original text: Juha Kontu
Illustration: Pekka Hannila
Helsinki – The Science of a great congress
Science is about expanding human understanding. So is travelling. Combine the two and bring it to the northern capital of cool, Helsinki. That’s a recipe for a meaningful and enlightening experience. Helsinki wants scientists to come over and together to have a good time and work for the good of all of us.
Howy Jacobs, Professor in molecular biology stars in the new Congress marketing film for Messukeskus and in the shoot he is fresh back from a United States work trip but his boyish punk rock charm doesn’t show a sign of exhaustion. “I do travel a lot – but for a scientist, it’s the best way to keep abreast of the field. It allows us to develop new concepts based on personal chemistry, by meeting people face to face“.
Travel is a mix of comfort and discomfort. Helsinki wants to get rid of the “dis”. Easy to travel to, immediate access to and from the airport, stunning and booming culinary scene from street food to fine dining and, needless to say, spot on congress facilities combined with an ultra clean urban environment close to the nature is what Helsinki is about. “Scientists often try to cram too much into congress visits: the key to a successful meeting is to operate at one’s usual pace, combining intense scientific discussions with relaxation and getting to know people properly”, says Howy.
Finland invests in science and education. Helsinki is arranging more and more international scientific events. Academics want accessibility, top-notch arrangements but also a cool place to bring people to work together. Messukeskus does a lot of research how to serve science conference guests in an outstanding manner. Head of Congresses in Messukeskus, Paula Blomster explains how extraordinary service is what Helsinki wants to be known for: “We are not happy with just ordinary. We aim to be the leading congress venue in the Nordic countries and have for example, as the first large venue implemented fixed Augmented Reality services within our premises. But the secret of our success is our devoted staff who always take an additional yard to meet the expectations of the client.”
Digital, cool, a bit exotic and culturally rich – take a couple of minutes to learn about Helsinki by viewing this film.
Howy’s Helsinki tips
- Restaurant – Silvoplee in Kallio, fresh and delicious vegetarian buffet food
- Entertainment – Lepakkomies, also in Kallio, a mainstay of Helsinki’s alternative music scene
- Science – the Institute of Biotechnology, Finland’s flagship institute of life sciences (and my own home institute)
- Personal bonus – (1) Haltia, the Finnish Nature Centre, on the edge of the city, a must for any visitor with a half-day to spare, AND
- (2) Lapland – it’s maybe cheating a bit to list here, but one of the great attractions of Helsinki is how close it is to the arctic, just an hour’s domestic flight away from Europe’s most splendid wilderness
Paula’s Helsinki tips
- Restaurant Olo is pricy, but truly creative culinary experience, where you might even end up eating the table decorations
- Entertainment: after a long day of sitting I recommend to explore the beauty of Helsinki; rent a bike and stroll along beaches, dip into an outdoors Olympic swimming pool, a green oasis in the city center or go native and try one of the public saunas from a traditional wood-heated sauna in Harju to a more modern versions like Löyly
- Science: Tiedekulma / Think Corner Space where academics and brilliant students share their research topics with common walkers
- Personal bonus: Helsinki Design District and the wide music scene from classical music concerts to Finnish heavy metal bands
Welcome to Helsinki and Messukeskus!
Did you know? We were awarded as an energy-smart event venue
The Energy Authority and Motiva have awarded Messukeskus for its distinguished energy efficiency efforts.
Messukeskus has an energy efficiency programme extending to 2018. As a result of the programme, the amount of energy saved is 33,000 MWh, which would suffice for heating 1,300 single-family houses with electricity for one year. We aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,300 tonnes. This is comparable to driving around the world 1,440 times by car.
We utilize effectice housing technology
“What is good for the environment is also good for us as a company. In addition to environmental friendliness, investments in energy efficiency lead to concrete financial savings. In the extensive energy efficiency project of Messukeskus, this is already evident,” says Patrik Kuhlman, head of the Facility Unit at Messukeskus.
“We are very happy to receive the award. A high-quality event venue is always also an event venue that takes its environmental responsibility with genuine seriousness. Energy smartness is part of the corporate responsibility of Messukeskus and an integral part of the transparency and quality of our operations. We encourage our customers to pay attention to practical energy actions when selecting a venue for their event or conference,” says Anni Vepsäläinen, Managing Director of Messukeskus.
Our latest steps
The premises of Messukeskus correspond to eight full-scale football fields. In this scale, energy efficiency is achieved mainly by the use of the latest building technology.
When we renovated Galleria at Messukeskus, we built a completely new heat recovery system for the ventilation machines and switched the lighting to LED technology. To tackle water consumption, we equipped all faucets at our facilities with bubble spray aerators.
Messukeskus is visited each year by more than one million trade fair and conference guests, and during large public events, there may be up to tens of thousands of visitors on the premises at the same time. We have improved the ventilation machine control systems of the halls in such a manner that the indoor air conditions can be adapted to the number of people and to the uses of the halls. In the office renovation in summer 2016, we also replaced the lighting and ventilation of the personnel’s workspaces with energy-efficient solutions. We have our own competent facilities maintenance team to ensure that our premises are in good condition, and of course, it is also the duty of every Messukeskus employee to promote environmental responsibility.
Finnish tastes and landscapes
The year 2017 marks 100 years of Finnish independence. As an official Finland 100 partner, we are bringing the centenary year to our Messukeskus events, premises and restaurants. We offer centenary benefits to our customers, a Finland-themed programme, special exhibitions, competitions, Finnish delicacies and the white and blue colours of Finland througout our event house. We have also new products and services for you to to offer your guests and let them drive into Finnish ambiance.
Welcome to the birch forest
Our conference facilities as well as our meeting services have been touched by Finnish nature and flavours. Characteristic and calming landscapes from Finnish nature welcome the congress guests to our renovated Conference Centre. These autumn-toned scenes lead to our newly renovated SUOMI (FINLAND) meeting room where you can invite up to 100 guests. This seminar room got its inspiration from the heather forest in the hands of our own designer, Nanna Ihamäki. Carpets and table linens reflect a burgundy tone for the whole room, creating a feeling of being in the middle of a heather meadow. Real birch wall elements rim the meadow and send the mind into the forest. What a calming effect. Add some birdsong to the background during the breaks for total relaxation.
Heather forest welcomes the seminar guests
Complete the experience with Finnish flavors
The more senses you stimulate the stronger the memory of the experience. In addition to colours, pictures, furniture and fabrics, another visual element is food. Food coloured and flavoured to match the theme stimulates not only the tastebuds but also the eyesight. Choose a tailored meeting menu and serve it exclusively to your seminar guests to boost the remembrance of your event. Our Finland 100 meeting menus finish off the whole meeting experience. Start your morning with a colourful berry smoothie, lingonberry porridge and apple juice.
Finland 100 morning
- Finland smoothie (bilberry, raspberry, natural yoghurt, muesli blended)
- Rice pasty with a rye crust, egg butter with flat-leaf parsley and rye granola, L
- Whipped lingonberry porridge served with organic milk and sugar, L
- Glasses of freshly squeezed Ompputarha apple juice, L, M, G
- Tea and locally roasted coffee
Finland 100 afternoon
- Apple slices, L, G
- Cinnamon cookies, L
- Zebra bundt cake
- Tea and locally roasted coffee
2017 is all about celebration
We are especially treating our gala and cocktail party guests with exquisite tastes during this festive year. You can continue the conference day by celebrating successful encounters and ideas around a dinner table. The Finland 100 menu is especially tailored to honor Finland’s centenary and highlight the flavours of our food culture. Our catering partner, Fazer, who just celebrated its 125th birthday, has made this menu to suit both the Finns and the friends of Finland. Serve your guests this delicious Finland 100 menu by the Fazer Culinary Team Finland, the winner of the Olympic gold medal.
A feast of Finland €52.00
Perch from Pielinen lake, baked cauliflower, marinated red onion and malted bread
Fresh salted whitefish
Grandma’s pickled cucumbers and forest chanterelles
Swede and rye grain salad
Autumnal cheese salad
Fresh bread from the Fazer bakery, carrot spread and Finnish dairy butter
Slow-cooked beef in red wine sauce
Herbed family farm potatoes
Spelt risotto with kale and goat cheese
Black currant mousse cake
Dinner with Mannerheim €43.00
Honey-roast swede and goat Cheddar cheese
Forest mushroom salad
“Glazier’s salmon” (marinated salmon)
Herring and Baltic herring in a variety of sauces
Lappish reindeer salad seasoned with horseradish
Fresh bread from the Fazer bakery, pea and cream cheese spread, and Finnish butter
Vorschmack, mini-blinis, beetroot, cucumber and sour cream
Bilberry pie with a rye crust
The minimum group size for the menus is 10 people. Prices include 14% VAT.
Eventful and tasty year 2017!
Messukeskus and Fazer are official partners of the Finland 100 centenary year.
We will open the best event hotel in northern Europe in 2019
The Messukeskus Helsinki hotel will be revamped in a renovation during 2018. The premises and service concept of the hotel will be completely revamped to allow the hotel to better meet the needs of customers participating in different events.
“The hotel is an important part of our customers’ event experience. In cooperation with hotel operator Restel, we will revamp the Holiday Inn Helsinki – Messukeskus, aiming to make it the best event hotel in Northern Europe,” says Anni Vepsäläinen, Managing Director of Messukeskus.
The hotel renovation and the overall positive trend in the hotel capacity in the Helsinki metropolitan area support extremely well tourism in the area and international congress marketing, which is important to Messukeskus.
“We have a unique environment. More than a hundred different fairs and exhibitions and 2,200 meetings and congresses are held annually at Messukeskus. We want to make events and meetings part of our hotel guests’ service experience,” says Vepsäläinen.
The hotel will continue to be part of the Holiday Inn chain. The service design can make use of the development team of the InterContinental Hotels Group and the Holiday Inn brand.
The Holiday Inn Helsinki – Messukeskus hotel was built in 1997. The hotel is directly connected to the exhibition halls and conference rooms of Messukeskus and has flexible connections to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the railway station and the city centre. The revamped hotel will be opened at the beginning of 2019. The hotel will be closed during the renovation from 20 February 2018 to 2 January 2019.