Global Roundup with ILEA Turkey Leader Meltem Bayazit Tepeler
Thursday, February 22, 2018
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is a global organization, representing the voice of creative events professionals worldwide. The ILEA Global Roundup taps into leaders from around the world who lend their knowledge and expertise on a range of different topics impacting the creative events business. ILEA connected with Meltem Bayazit Tepeler, president of the ILEA Turkey chapter and founder of Dubai-based KM Events. Get her take on the Middle East events space below.
ILEA: What are some specific challenges event planners encounter in your area? How do they overcome these challenges?
Tepeler: As an event planner and designer for 23 years, I have realized that the challenges change every single year. In the last few years, some of the biggest challenges that our region faced were more political. Istanbul is one of the most famous wedding and event destinations in the world. With its beautiful historical palaces and unique Bosphorus, Istanbul became a dream destination for most of our clients. We work with many different clients from all around the world including Middle East, America, Russia, İran, Azarbaijan and Greece. Due to the increase in terrorism in the region in the last few years, most of the events and tourism industries have changed their direction to other destinations. This was one of the biggest challenges that we have faced in the hospitality and event industry in the last few years; however, I can easily say that the situation in Turkey has gotten much better since 2017, and it looks like there will be a high increase in the destination events and weddings this year. Turkey is such a unique country in so many ways, and we feel lucky to live in such a historical city like Istanbul. It is very important for us to support each other in the industry and continue to bring tourists and foreign clients from different parts of the world to our beautiful country.
ILEA: What are some trends you’re noticing with live events in your region?
Tepeler: Creating customized themes and events is a new trend in the industry. For example, we are creating a Great Gatsby theme for one of our events, and we are doing a modern Garden of Eden theme for another very special event. Our clients often get their inspirations from Pinterest or Instagram; however, with these inspirational details, they want something unique that has not been published on social media. Trends in the weddings and events industry change, but most importantly, the themes that we create and the decorations that we use for each of our clients differ as they all have different preferences and tastes.
ILEA: For an event planner not from Turkey, what are some things to be aware of/take into account when putting on a live event there?
Tepeler: For a foreign event planner who is creating an event in Turkey, the most important thing is to search, understand and work with the right vendors. A planner can find a lot of vendors or suppliers in Turkey; however, it is very important that they pick the right one with high quality standards. Before creating any kind of a live event, I would suggest that they spend some time doing market research and, most importantly, to check the quality of equipments. The best way to work in Turkey is to find a good partner to deal with many vendors.
ILEA: Are there any specific events in your area we should be aware of? Do you have any photos?
Tepeler: ACE of M.I.C.E. is an important exhibition where one can meet with perfect suppliers, listen to effective speeches and understand how the event business is growing in the region.
ILEA: What are the biggest factors influencing the way events are being planned in your part of the world?
Tepeler: Definitely social media. Today, everything is reachable through phone. On Facebook, we can see the latest pictures or activities that our friends have done, on Pinterest we can find inspirational pictures for our events, and on Instagram we can keep up with the current events, see some great ideas and find details about it. We can even discover new places and new inspirations on social media. Social media has a great impact when it comes to planning an event as it influences the social media users.
ILEA: Do you think artificial intelligence will ever have a role in this industry?
Tepeler: Technology is developing rapidly every single year, and we are learning something new about it. I think that technology will have a big role in the very near future in every single industry, including the events industry. Even though artificial intellegence might have a role, I believe that it won't have the same effect as a real event planner or designer. Our job is to create our clients’ most special days, and this is something that touches their heart and their dreams. In order to succeed, we really need more of a personal touch as well as technology.
Meltem Bayazıt Tepeler is the founder and president of KM EVENTS. KM Events is one of the leading destination luxurious event and wedding companies in Turkey, and it’s celebrating its 23rd anniversary in the event and wedding industry this year. She is also the founder and president of KM EVENTS BEYOND LUXURY in Dubai. Tepeler also founded and ran YEPUD (the Association for Planning and Implementation of Creative Events, Turkey), the only Turkey-based association in the event industry from 2007-2014. Tepeler currently serves as the ILEA Turkey chapter president.