London is ‘intellectual capital’ for association board members

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London is the ‘intellectual capital’ of the world, according to a report, which ranks cities by the number of international association board members who live there.

But it could attract a lot more international meetings if, like Prague, it was better at 'harnessing' its volunteer leaders to help win international conferences.

GainingEdge, the meetings industry consulting firm, concentrated on associations that hold conferences for more than 500 people when ranking the Top 50 cities in the world.

Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Beijing follow London in descending order, followed by Seoul, Sydney, Singapore, Madrid and Washington who make up the Top 10.

GainingEdge says its report  - Leveraging Intellectual Capital of Convention Destinations – will give destinations a better understanding of their sector strengths, help them to build ambassador programmes, and to pursue a more targeted approach to bidding for events.

The firm reviewed 3,500 international associations, trawling data from the International Congress and Convention Association and websites, to build a picture of where volunteer leaders live – by noting which universities they were affiliated to, for example.

Cities with high ‘harnessing ratios’ – those where there was a strong correlation between number of international meetings hosted and local leaders – included Prague (89.7%), Vancouver (74.1%), Dublin (70.4%), Montreal (68.7%) Berlin, (60.2%) and Lisbon (64.6%).

A high ratio suggests convention bureaux in these cities might be doing something right by engaging with local board members when bidding for events. Interestingly, London has a low ratio of just 16.6% and New York even lower at 7.6%. With the exception of Singapore (47.3%), most of the top 20 cities have relatively poor harnessing ratios.

Key findings of the report include:

  • A Top 50 ranking of destinations (cities/countries) with the greatest influence in international associations
  • How well destinations leverage their local leaders by engaging them to bring conventions to the city (their “Harnessing Ratio” - the correlation between number of international association meetings hosted or booked over the last four years and number of local intellectual leaders on boards of international associations)
  • The key industry sectors and scientific fields where destinations are best represented in international association leadership.
Milos Milovanovic, head of GainingEdge Analysis and Research, said the research showed London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Beijing, were, 'true global knowledge hubs with strong influence in international associations'.

The analysis looked at the number of governing bodies of international associations with active presence of local leaders from each destination (city/country); the number of presidents/chairpersons of international associations from each destination (city/country); and the number of large international association meetings organized or booked in the last four years.

Jon Sivertson, GainingEdge’s CEO, said: “We see our Leveraging Intellectual Capital report as the foundation for building advanced convention development programmes for destinations. We can now see the absolute, and relative, strengths of destinations with regards to their harnessing of their resident intellectual capital."

He added: "Drawing on this analysis, we can now provide a Destination Intellectual Capital Study to convention destinations, eager to improve both their business development as well as destination marketing activities. This service will help them to identify associations where they have influence they may not have known about. It also allows a destination to understand which of its actual key business sectors and scientific fields are best connected in global association leadership, and provides them with a focused, deliverable and measurable, approach to securing large meetings.”

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

A journalist for more than 22 years, 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. Page proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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