‘Priority gaps between associations and host cities

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There is a ‘significant gap’ between what associations think destination marketing organisations should be focusing on and what the destinations think themselves, a survey has found.

Most associations think convention bureaux should make ‘working with associations to achieve their legacy objectives’ a number one priority, according to ICCA’s Global Association Meetings Protocol.

But the research showed legacy ranked much lower in the priorities of the bureaux, with meeting-specific bureaux (CBs) ranking it 22nd out of 80 possible business strategies, and those with a broader ‘visitor’ remit (CVBs) ranking it near the bottom of their priorities in 70th place.

ICCA said the gaps it discovered in its research – carried out by MMGY NextFactor – would help destinations ‘adjust their strategic planning to align more closely with their customers’ needs’.

Some 80 associations from 31 countries took part in the research in the final quarter of 2021, building on the ICCA Kaohsiung Protocol released in 2020 during the heat of the pandemic.

Other major discrepancies found in the research were around sustainability

Whereas associations put ‘balancing the need for growth with responsible and sustainable development’ as the fourth most important strategy for host cities, CBs only thought that was the 15th most important strategy to focus on, while CVBs once again put it lower at 24th.

At the same time, associations thought ‘developing a sustainable framework for tourism and business events’ should be fourth on a destination’s priority list, while CBs only thought that was the 17th most important strategy and CVBs placed it in 25th spot on their ‘to do’ list.

Crisis management was another area where there was a yawning chasm between the services associations would like to receive from bureaux and what the bureaux thought was important.

Associations thought ‘Develop a much more comprehensive crisis management strategy with new protocols’ was the sixth most important area of focus for bureaux. The bureaux disagreed, with CBs placing it at a lowly 45 and CVBs an even lowlier 55.

Senthil Gopinath CEO, ICCA, said: “The Global Association Meetings Protocol is intended to serve the worldwide industry with a roadmap to keep the industry moving forward. It’s a document that can shed light on opportunities for collaboration and innovation.”

Paul Ouimet, president MMGY NextFactor, noted: “There is clearly more conversation needed to bring association clients and destinations closer together around long-term shared goals for the future.”

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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