Impact Publications : MiceBTN_60
Page 6 • MICEBTN - AUGUST 2015 Subventions ‘are not the way forward’ - ICCA debates what wins an association meeting STRATEGIC objectives are crucial in successful association bidding, a recent International Congress and Convention As- sociation (ICCA) workshop was told as part of a discussion on the latest bid trends. An online survey amongst the 20 top ICCA cities showed 100 per cent of convention bureaux respondents felt associations are more concerned about financial bottom-line results than was the case five years ago. The poll showed 75 per cent would choose an argument for achieving the association’s mission or objectives if all other bid parts were equal. Only 14 per cent said they would favour arguments about the delegate experience and destination’s appeal and 12 per cent would respond to offers of financial support. Martin Sirk, chief executive ICCA said a panel of senior industry exec- utives agreed: “In the old days, the bidding process used to be all about the appeal of the destination and win- ning bids by playing to the emotions of the decision makers. In the past 10 years, the decision-making process for choosing association meeting desti- nations has changed from emotional to rational, but the final decision is still heavily influenced by trust and relationships. “It (now) is not enough to fulfil the logistical needs of accessibility, infra- structure and accommodation of an association meeting, you need to have an understanding about the psycholo- gy and strategy of the association in order to be successful in bidding.” Subventions The discussion also touched on the topic of subventions. “We as suppliers have made a big mistake: We have changed our marketing budget to an ‘event support’ budget, meaning subventions,” said Juan Jose Garcia, director of marketing and sales, Barce- lo Congresos and 1st vice president and treasurer on the ICCA Board of directors. “Our industry should not let subven- tions play an important role in deci- sion-making processes. In order to be successful in bidding, we as suppliers need to know our clients. We have to become a strategic partner of the associations: We have to align our bids with the mission and objectives of the association and help to fulfil them. We should help them to boost delegates and help them to identify sponsors. Competing on price is the price you pay for not knowing your clients”. The panel concluded that suppli- ers need to build a relationship with their potential clients by researching the process, mentality and decisive factors in order to be successful in association bidding. Big data plays an important role in this process. Garcia said: “Big Data has changed our business. We know a lot about associations and association execu- tives before we approach them. With ICCA’s new Big Data Search,ICCA member-suppliers can identify key leaders in intellectual areas of exper- tise and by geographical location, using Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic search. This is crucial to identify potential local ambassadors who can join a supplier in setting up a successful bid which meets the strate- gic objectives of the association”. Beyond bidding The future of association meetings lies in creating your own events and creating unusual partnerships, accord- ing to Sirk: “In regions like the Middle East, we see that suppliers are helping the local scientific industry to create new regional events. Also, we see ex- amples of leading destinations setting up new partnerships. For instance, Vienna and Barcelona are making shared bids for medical associations for which they prepare multi-year pro- posals in both destinations. The World Energy Alliance is bidding for ener- gy-related meetings - and destinations are in a friendly competition within this alliance. Other examples of these alliances are BestCities and the World PCO Alliance. These developments go beyond successful bidding.” Vienna and Barcelona are making shared bids for medical associations for which they prepare multi-year proposals in both destinations...