GainingEdge Ranks Intellectual Capital of Conference Destinations


Global convention industry consulting firm, GainingEdge, has launched the first annual report on Leveraging Intellectual Capital of convention destinations, based on an analysis of international association leadership.

The research underpinning the report identifies the relative strengths of 350 destinations via the presence of their local intellectual leaders in the governing bodies of international associations that organize large conventions. Intellectual Capital is described as a destination’s strength of representation in international association leadership. Key findings of the report include:

  • 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 4 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 (GEAR), said, “Our Intellectual Capital research was conducted over the last half of 2020 and included reviewing over 3,500 international associations and their governing bodies, which organize large meetings for over 500 participants. Using the ICCA database, as well as international associations’ web sites, we obtained data for 350 cities and 145 countries around the world.”  This analysis looked at:

  • Total number of governing bodies of international associations with active presence of local leaders from each destination (city/country).
  • Total number of presidents/chairpersons of international associations from each destination (city/country).
  • Total number of large (city-wide) international association meetings organized or booked in the last four years.

Milovanovic continued, “this research enabled us to develop key analysis ratios, such as our Harnessing Ratio and the market intelligence we gained can be applied in any of the 350 destinations.” 

The report found a very high level of correlation between GainingEdge’s intellectual capital rankings and their International Convention Destination Competitive Index 2020 global rankings. The top 20 cities in terms of intellectual capital are all among the top 30 most competitive destinations in the Competitiveness Index.

“Our research shows London at the top, followed by Paris, Tokyo, New York and, Beijing, indicating these cities are true global knowledge hubs with strong influence in international associations,” Milovanovic said.

Image 1: Top 50 Cities – Available Intellectual Capital

Image 2: Top 50 Countries – Available Intellectual Capital

The report found that among the top 20 cities, three European destinations had high Harnessing Ratios: Berlin, Barcelona and Vienna.  Among destinations with fewer local leaders on international association boards, high Harnessing Ratios are seen with Prague (highest in the world), Dublin, Lisbon and Copenhagen. In the Asia-Pacific region, cities with high Harnessing Ratios are Bangkok and Singapore, while North America has two Canadian cities, Montreal and Vancouver.

Image 3: Top 50 Cities – Harnessing Ratio

The Harnessing Ratio for the top 50 countries shows the United Arab Emirates have a high level of intellectual capital engagement. Among European countries with a relatively high Harnessing Ratio are Czech Republic, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. Asia-Pacific countries with a high Ratio are Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. Among the top 10 countries with very high Harnessing Ratios are Canada and the USA. The USA has the greatest amount of intellectual capital in the world and is clearly benefitting as a result.  

Image 4: Top 50 Countries – Harnessing Ratio

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

Sivertson continued, “Our GEAR unit continually tracks intellectual capital data to ensure that it’s complete and up to date, and as part of our analysis it can be provided to any destination on demand. This is the first report on Leveraging Intellectual Capital and we will be publishing updated reports annually going forward.”

Image 5: Destination Intellectual Capital Study

Download the press release here.

– ENDS –       

For further information contact: 
Milos Milovanovic, Head of GainingEdge Analysis and Research Unit
Phone: +381 63 54 53 44  


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