Finlandia Hall is a conference and event venue in the heart of Finland’s capital Helsinki. In July 2018, we found ourselves in a spotlight because of the Trump-Putin summit. Finlandia Hall was chosen to serve international media representatives during the summit. An ambitious goal was set: to build Probably the Happiest Media Centre in the World. This goal was communicated to 1,500 reporters during accreditation. The response was overwhelmingly positive. With fully-equipped workspaces, traditional Finnish food, sauna and screens for the FIFA World Cup Final, the Media Centre offered everything the reporters could ask for, and more.
Ready in just five days
Finlandia Hall produces big events and international conferences all the time. What made the Trump-Putin case special was the exceptionally tight schedule: booking was confirmed only five days before the summit. Timing in July added to the suspense: 80% of our staff was on holiday, like most Finns are in July. They were quickly summoned back to work. “Our staff takes pride in handling such great challenges,” states Finlandia Hall’s CEO Johanna Tolonen.
The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs hosted the International Media Centre. This was seen as a great opportunity for positive country branding: how Finnish society functions smoothly and is easily able to set up a meeting of this magnitude at short notice.
Due to the tight schedule, the Ministry needed a venue they knew and trusted. Time and place of the Trump-Putin summit was decided only two weeks in advance. Finlandia Hall had already been verified for security and protocol matters, as it will be the official venue for all meetings during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in autumn 2019.
In the spotlight
The volume of international media attention made the event exceptional for us. The Media Centre hosted 1,500 representatives of the international media for two and half days in July 2018. Some of the journalists are big stars in their own countries and on social media. A bold goal was communicated to this critical crowd: we are going to offer you Probably the Happiest Media Center in the World.
This turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reporters enjoyed their stay so much that they praised Finland, Helsinki and Finlandia Hall in their social media accounts. The articles and stories published about Finland were mostly positive or neutral. They also gave positive feedback directly to our staff for their friendliness and service minded attitude. Some even said they had never been taken such a good care of.