Associations must decide what
they want an event to achieve in terms of legacy and host cities should act as
nothing more than facilitating partners, according to a new white paper by Hague
& Partners Convention Bureau.
Further, cities who actively
push a legacy agenda, to reap long-term local benefits, risked being seen as ‘selfish’
and ought instead to ‘see legacy from the point of view of their association
The white paper was based on a roundtable
discussion with 11 international associations and a survey of 70 meeting professionals from
around the world.
The research found that for
event legacy to be achieved, it must lie at the heart of an association’s
strategy, rather than be limited to a specific event. It also suggested that,
although destinations facilitate conferences and events, providing relevant
local support, they cannot drive legacy. Instead, it is up to the associations
and not-for-profits coming to a destination to define their own goals, needs,
Bas Schot, head of Hague Convention Bureau, said: "Associations and
not-for-profits are legacy organisations. They exist to provide long-term value
to their members and the communities they serve. As such, legacy activities
must relate back to the goals of the association, rather than being focused on
the destination itself. These organisations exist to drive
the cure for diseases, resolve global social issues, improve education for
millions and far more.
“The achievement of those goals
and incremental progress towards them are how associations and not-for-profits
measure their legacy. Delegates taking part in activities such as painting walls in a local scout hut or tidying a city are
admirable and positive ways to help an event achieve its corporate social
responsibility goals. However, despite how often it is suggested that
such activities are a legacy, it simply is not the case.”
While the research found that
56 per cent of association meeting professional were working on event legacy, 31 per
cent were only ‘considering it’, and 13 per cent didn’t consider it at all.
A lack of budget and ‘not knowing
where to start’ were cited as typical barriers to associations pursuing event
Schot added: “Legacy is a term that is often discussed in the context of
trade shows, conferences, and other events. However, it means different things
to different people and organisations. We wanted to explore the meaning of
legacy and how we can support clients in achieving their long-term
impact. It was clear from the outset that legacy driven by a destination
risk being selfish. If we are to support our association and not-for-profit
clients, we must instead see legacy from their point of view and support their
goals – not our own.”
research concluded by demonstrating that the destination's role is to
facilitate the event legacy process by providing the necessary tools,
resources, and even financial support.
our industry should be focused on supporting legacy discussions within
associations and providing them with the tools to make their own
decisions. It is up to the organisers to define their own goals and
aspirations and to create a legacy program that aligns with their mission and
strategy. And we look forward to helping them achieve that,” said Bas Schot.
full white paper and research results can be downloaded here.
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.