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ACL 2013 – Enticing Sponsorship Stories

How Meeting ROI Can Be Improved Through Collaboration

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Sofia, Bulgaria

Conference Management (PCO) / DMC Services / Meetings and Corporate Events


The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences undertook the challenge to organize the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
(ACL 2013) and to present, for the first time, Sofia

as a host destination. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, having limited experience in the organization of international congresses, quickly realized that the task was overwhelming and, with high expectations
for thousands of delegates, would be a difficult goal to meet on their own. Entrusting AIM Group with the task was the right move. 





AIM Group carried out a thorough project analysis and looked at the progress of the client at 9 months before the congress. The analysis showcased that there were obvious mismatch between the requirement of the conference, the delegate needs, and the current contracts signed with some suppliers. AIM Group’s Sofia Office used its position in the market to regain control over the event. 


Analysing the situation, it became apparent that there was a mismatch between the requirements of ACL and the capacity of the venue’s internet infrastructure. The venue, being the largest in Sofia, with 15 halls, was spread over 8 floors and would be fully occupied by the 6 day event.
The audience – IT’s with a minimum of 2 devices and with a need for strong Wi-Fi – had very high expectations from the previous editions
of the congress. This proved to be an issue with the potential to ruin the whole experience of the event. AIM Group approached, for the second time, the biggest mobile operator in Bulgaria, proposing a new sponsorship idea. The revisited proposal again promised recognition as a Platinum Sponsor, but instead of asking for the monetary equivalent, the mobile operator was invited to provide one of its services – wireless internet for the entire building. The negotiation process was tough and was conducted under the pressure of the limited time available before the congress, at that point, only 4 months prior to the event. Yet, because of the established position of AIM Group locally and with the assistance of local partners, the mobile operator agreed to sponsor the event and become the only Bulgarian Platinum Sponsor – one of only two for the event. The sponsorship highlighted their strong market position as a leader in providing mobile services and the audience of the event was in their target market. Lining them up next to the world renowned companies on the sponsorship list was a win-win for all parties.

Without the support of an established PCO such as AIM Group, this congress would not have been the great success it was. 



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