Dr James Cassar is Managing Director of 242.group, a group of companies offering event services, with offices in various destinations and headquartered in Malta. He holds a PhD from Bournemouth University, focused on making destinations competitive in attracting international events and conferences, and is a visiting lecturer in event management at the University of Malta.

242.group has both driven and benefitted from the growing events sector, and today can be found at expos around the globe. What’s the secret sauce to a successful event?

There are several variables that make an event a success, and the most basic is to have an eye for detail on logistics and loose ends, even on the large-scale events. The details may be taken for granted by guests when executed well, but will stick out immediately when not. On the other hand, what makes an event stand out is what we like to call the ‘wow effect’ – which is something out of the ordinary that would prompt a client or guest to take out their phone. To achieve this, eye for detail is once again important, as well as creativity and event experience to execute anything innovative. The secret to this is having a network and contacts on the ground, with the right equipment and the right knowledge.

As an experienced events organiser, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of hosting an event in Malta?

Even though Malta is small, network and knowledge are essential to organise a successful event here. It is important for anyone choosing Malta as a destination for their event to partner up with, or gain insight from, experts with local knowledge. My suggestion is to always bring on board a local team to organise the event, or at least to assist within it. Not only does this guarantee that they will know what to look for and where, but they will also have the right knowledge and network to ensure the best value for money.

The event experience extends beyond the event itself. What can event organisers expect from Malta when it comes to hospitality, transport and ancillary services?

The event itself is a small part of the whole event experience. The experience needs to be positive from the moment a guest arrives at our destination, to the moment they depart. The success of this depends on what I call the ‘total event/conference product’ at a destination. This is a bundle of components that the destination needs to offer for a successful event experience, and which include most of the factors listed above.

Malta has been perfecting its total event product year on year by gaining insights from all past experiences and improving on them. Malta has managed to achieve an extensive external connectivity network, different certified accommodation options, good internal transport connectivity with ease of use through apps, different event and conference venues with event experience, unique selling points related to history that may also be offered, local event suppliers with good knowledge and equipment supply, and with good networks in case of any larger scale equipment that is required from overseas. The fact that Malta is nowadays a conference, expo and events hub means that it is geared to offer solutions to such events, and that such solutions are a priority to it.

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2024 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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