Drawing Delegates Back On-site

Mike Williams shares how face to face meetings can be made more inclusive, meaningful, engaging and sustainable.


The Unbroken Spirit Runs Deep in Lviv: Together in Peace and Unbroken in War

Jane Vong Holmes relates how Ukraine’s indefatigable spirit among its business events community has keep morale up and the horizon optimistic. Challenges are transformed into solutions amidst war’s impact. Humanitarian hubs, charitable initiatives, and innovation mark their response. See page 20-23, and the UNBROKEN advertisement by Lviv Convention Bureau on page 53 in Meetings International… Continue reading The Unbroken Spirit Runs Deep in Lviv: Together in Peace and Unbroken in War


Video Interview: Rod Kamleshwaran on the China National Convention Center, Phase 2 (CNCC-II)

Located in the Beijing Olympic Green Area, the China National Convention Center, Phase 2 (CNCC-II) – one of the key projects in Beijing’s strategic development plan – is on track to open in 2025. Designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, the venue previously served as the main media centre for the Beijing 2022 Winter… Continue reading Video Interview: Rod Kamleshwaran on the China National Convention Center, Phase 2 (CNCC-II)


GainingEdge’s Pick 5: Five News Items You Need to Know

This is not a Pick 5 bet in horse racing but a selection of five business events news which caught our team’s attention. Paul, Jon and Steve are all based in Vancouver.

This Pick 5 issue focuses on recent news making the rounds with two prominent organizations in North America. Destinations International is based in the U.S. and is a leader in this continent in providing education, advocacy, and business opportunities. Destination Canada Business Events focuses on the strategic value of Canada as a business events destination, while always keeping an eye on global trends. We are also pleased to be working with them on the world’s largest legacy impact project.

The following articles caught our attention as they have relevance both from a domestic and international perspective. Given the global nature of our industry, it is necessary to know what is going on at home as well as abroad. The articles below reflect perspectives from such experts as the AIPC, ICCA, UFI, PCMA, HeadQuarters Magazine, and Digital Edge. Additionally, we recognize the importance of leisure travel and tourism for DMOs and CVBs in the North American market and have included an article below from Expedia on the outlook for 2022.

Happy reading!

Compiled by:

Business Events are the Fast Track to Recovery

The G3 says that Business Events are needed now more than ever for one essential reason – to put economies and societies on a fast track towards recovery post Covid-19.


The International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) launched a new policy White Paper supporting Business Events recovery called: Business Events are the Fast Track to Recovery. Kai Hattendorf, UFI CEO, sums it up succinctly: “Industries need B2B meetings as much as governments need G2G meetings. These aren’t mass events. They’re all about businesspeople gathering to get business done.”


PCMA Convene COVID-19 Survey reveal more deliberate plans for in-person and hybrid events

The February Recovery Dashboard reveals more optimism.
PCMA reported 56 percent of planners described themselves as hopeful in February (link to: February Dashboard compared to 49 percent in the December Dashboard; and 58 percent of suppliers expressed optimism in this survey, up 15 percentage points from December. Nearly half will be holding an in-person-only event in 2022; 35 percent digital only; and 41 percent hybrid, down from 46 percent who selected hybrid in December.

36 percent of planners expect an up-to-50-percent decline in registration numbers at their 2022 events compared to their pre-COVID events and more than one-third said they are unable to estimate registration numbers. One planner said the challenge in this fluid environment is ensuring hard-cost expenses like F&B minimums and AV “without really knowing what attendance turnout will be.”


Social Legacies and Impacts for the Meetings Industry

The time is ripe for a new advocacy of social legacies and impacts for the meetings industry, says HQ Magazine.
In the latest edition of Headquarters, Meeting Media Group explores the legacies of events and the long-term intellectual, social, and economic impact they can have on a destination. “We see a major reversal in the importance that congresses can have for society. Whereas conferences used to be an important source of prestige and income, we are now seeing a shift towards more intrinsic values,” said Marcel A.M. Vissers, Editor-in-Chief. Read more


Key Trends Affecting the Meetings Industry

The writing is on the wall – Change, Sustainability and Collaboration.
This content was presented at the Destinations International Convention Sales and Services Summit which focused on the trends and changes affecting the meetings industry and destination sales. The key trends are:
• The Only Constant is Change
• Sustainability is Getting Stronger
• Collaboration Fosters Innovation

Read more


Trends and Best Practices to Inform Your Destination Marketing Strategy

After living in the pandemic for two years, relaxation and decompression will be top of mind.
With borders reopening and people eager to travel again, Expedia Marketing Group conducted a survey of 5500 people and provided the following summary of their findings on the outlook for tourism in 2022. The results reveal potential for ongoing recovery driven by strong interest in leisure travel. A few interesting best practices are included. Read more


Where to Meet GainingEdge (May – July 2022):

IT&CM China (virtual)

IMEX Frankfurt

Gary Grimmer, Jane Vong Holmes, Bruce Redor, Milos Milovanovic, Alessandra Delmonte, Stevie Carey, Chloe Menhinick
For Guadalajara CVB: Helen Crompton, Molly Doheny
For BestCities Global Alliance: Lesley Williams, Tia Daniels
For China National Convention Centre phase 2 (CNCC-II): Rod Kamleshwaran

This is not a Pick 5 bet in horse racing but a selection of five business events news which caught our team’s attention. Paul, Jon and Steve are all based in Vancouver.


GainingEdge Advisory Issue

What Meeting Planners Are Looking For Meeting and event planners, like much of the business events industry, are facing many challenges during the ongoing pandemic that does not seem to have an immediate end. Challenges According to the PCMA APAC COVID_19 Survey 2021 the two key areas of concern relate to safety and local support.… Continue reading GainingEdge Advisory Issue


GainingEdge Advisory Issue

Building a Better Business Case

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The ongoing impacts of COVID have really shown everyone, including governments, the importance of business events, and their direct and more long-term, indirect benefits to our communities, our cities and our countries.  COVID has also left many of us competing for funding with other competing priorities, be they health spend, income assistance programs, infrastructure programs, amongst others.  So, for us to compete in these tough times, we need to be better able to articulate the total benefits of business events to our stakeholders…including our funders.

Traditionally, the business case has been, at best, a calculation of the near-term economic impact benefits of an event.  Usually calculated by determining the spend of visitors and organisers via survey and interviews.  In many, but not all, countries there are then economic multipliers that can be used to estimate the near-term financial and employment benefit of a business event, usually via an input-output model. And these impacts can be estimated at the direct level (so changes that occur in the “front-end” businesses), indirect level (so changes in activity for suppliers of the “front-end” businesses) and the induced level (so spending on goods and services resulting from increases to the payroll of the directly and indirectly affected businesses).  Sounds simple right?  There are even various websites and calculators that will give you a supposed near-term impact calculation.

However, we find even this relatively simple part of the calculation is often done wrong.  Many economic impact calculators, and even many firms that do this, make simple mistakes that your stakeholders could see and then call into question your analysis.  Starting with the data capture: 1) it’s a common error to double count the spend of the organising Association with the registration fees paid by attendees; 2) another is the total event attendee and the  accompanying person spend is not captured properly, or only includes the spend during the event and not the spend pre and post event, which reduces the actual calculated event impact (not good!); 3) Airfares are often miscounted, with international airfares included when it should only be domestic flights – just a few examples.

Assuming we have the data captured correctly, there are still many other areas we see done incorrectly, especially in those destinations without agreed economic multipliers.  This impact analysis is not a one-size fits all. It needs to take account of local economic realities and if we don’t have robust multipliers then we need to look for similar markets as comparison and adjust those based on our local market understanding.  Without all of this, our analysis is, at best, inaccurate and, at worst, wrong.  And our ever more sophisticated stakeholders and funders will see right through this.

So that was the easy part, right? And that may have been all that was needed before.  But more and more we’re seeing destinations need a more robust, and convincing, business case that will also look at the long-term economic impacts, and the legacy impacts, of an event.  These types of impacts may only be realised years in the future.

The identification and quantification of long-term economic impacts is much more complicated and involves two types of economic factors:

  • The first type of factor consists of broad economic activities that occur because of the event. These activities may be wide in scope and may be tangible or intangible in nature, such as follow up meetings, new investment opportunities, new export routes opened, or new business partnerships. These activities are not economic impacts but are intermediaries that lead to the creation of long-term economic impacts. So, we need to identify and measure them to allow us to quantify the long-term economic impacts.
  • The second type of factor is the long-term economic impacts themselves. The most common measures used in quantifying long-term economic impacts are: 1) output (the total gross value of goods and services produced); 2) GDP, or value added, the additional value of a good or service over the cost of producing it; and 3) employment, the number of additional jobs created.

These are the factors that are going to get the attention of other parts of government, those looking at economic development, job creation, generally those areas of government with ultimate control of the purse strings and with bigger budgets…but as I’ve alluded to, estimating the long-term economic impact requires us to understand exactly WHICH economic activities will create the economic impact and be able to measure them.  And this has seldom been done for events.

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And this brings us to what a Better Business Case can be, which is much more than only the Near-Term economic impacts. A Better Business Case will also look at, the long-term economic impacts…which are in fact part of what makes up the Legacy Impact(s) of an event. And a Better Business Case will also be further justifying the event via also looking at what are the desired meeting outcomes (which are Legacy Drivers), from which we are now able (through GE’s work on Legacy Impacts) to build a narrative around the additional long-term Legacy benefits, or impacts, of an event. Some of these are provided on this slide, and they can range from improved exports, to improved health outcomes, to improved social outcomes, to increased investment or talent attraction…. amongst many others. These are outcomes and legacy impacts that are far beyond the traditional for tourism and business events.  And these Legacies can be powerful motivators across a myriad of stakeholders and, importantly, open up new funding sources.

Please click on the graphic to view enlarged version

Unlike the economic impact assessment where we have generally accepted models and principles, the approach to Legacy is much more varied because there are more variables around event types and sectors.  But there is now an accepted framework for how to categorise and measure. Each type of event can have environmental, political, obviously economic, sectoral and social legacies.  And these legacies can occur at four levels: 1) The more personal, around knowledge sharing; 2) the Professional Community; 3) at the Sectoral Level; and 4) what we call world changing legacies, such as of the type described by the UN SDGs.  The type of legacies, and the levels they attain, are bespoke to each event and so can be their measurement.  But if the work is done upfront in the business case, these can be identified, measured, and via this process their impact can even be increased.

Additionally, if the business case also provides for a system and means of measurement of economic and legacy impacts – we will then have additional retrospective data and justification for the event. And so therefore the next event proposed will then have an even stronger, better business case. So, this Better Business Case will not only serve as a rational justification of the event before it occurs, it will put in place a system and process to justify the event after the event has happened….and further the business cases of future events. And that, is a Better Business Case!



Jon Sivertson is GainingEdge’s CEO and oversees GainingEdge’s consultancies.

Jon has his roots deep in infrastructure development and financing, and project feasibility of convention and exhibition centres.

Prior to joining GainingEdge and bringing over 20 years of experience to our team, Jon has worked with PwC in Canada, New Zealand and Singapore and was instrumental in PwC’s infrastructure group achieving its status as a Centre of Excellence for the PwC network in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China.

He is a specialist in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

Email Jon

For more articles/news, please visit News & Resources.

Advice: COVID-19 for destinations and convention bureaus Issue #8.


Bulletin: COVID-19



Busan extends support to include virtual and hybrid events
Source: Edited excerpt from TTG MICE
Date:1 November 2021
Busan, a large port city in South Korea, has adopted the tagline “Busan MICE Must Go On”. The Busan Tourism Organization (BTO), initially had a support fund that went towards hosting international conferences, but this has since been expanded to include virtual and hybrid meetings. For instance, for events where 10 per cent of the participants attend in-person, the event will still obtain 100 per cent support.

Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme
Source: Edited excerpt from Travel and Tour World
Date: 5 November 2021
The expanded Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme has given the business events sector in Singapore a boost, with industry players noting growing interest among their clients. Mr Mathias Posch, President of International Conference Services, said that several large-scale conferences are now considering Singapore as a destination, including discussions about relocating conferences from other Asian destinations to the Republic.

Business Events Sarawak Legacy (BESLegacy) Initiative
Source: Edited excerpt from New Sarawak Tribune
Date: 9 November 2021
Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) has launched Sarawak’s legacy planning guideline called Business Events Sarawak Legacy (BESLegacy) Initiative, where business event planners can strategically design their convention activities to achieve their legacy outcomes. The Sarawak government is in full support of convention legacies as it is one of the key strategies to help achieve the Post Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 goals.

Sarawak’s Tribespirit Teambuilding app
Source: Business Events Sarawak website
Date: 15 November 2021
Business events in Sarawak are preparing for the return of international business events and incentives with the launch of a new treasure-hunt inspired teambuilding product. Participants can test their team leadership skills through a series of physical challenges throughout Kuching city and trivia quizzes on Sarawak’s culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals. Developed by teambuilding provider Asia Ability, the Go Team app enables organisers to manage and monitor on-ground activities remotely with updates, feedback, and scores kept in real-time to give the programme a more tailored and future-forward experience.


New Zealand’s Event Transition Support Scheme
Source: Edited excerpt from CIM
Date: 9 November 2021
The New Zealand government has announced new financial support to give event organisers greater certainty to proceed, with the government to shoulder the lion’s share of risk during planning stages. The Events Transition Support Scheme will cover 90 per cent of unrecoverable costs for paid, ticketed events with audiences of more than 5,000 vaccinated people, if organisers are forced to cancel or postpone due to Covid-19 public health measures.

Victoria’s COVID-19 event cancellation insurance scheme
Source: Edited excerpt from Special Events and CIM
Date: 16 November 2021
The Victorian Government has announced an AUD 230 million (USD 164.2 million) Covid-19 event cancellation insurance scheme through the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. The 12-month scheme will insure events against cancellation due to public health measures, or where events have reduced capacity due to restrictions.

Melbourne’s Knowledge Partnership Program
Source: Edited excerpt from MICENET
Date: 19 November 2021
Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has launched a new Knowledge Partnership Program aimed at attracting international conferences to Melbourne, placing world-leading research on the global stage, developing connections to academics to facilitate strong education programs, powerful knowledge sharing and fostering world-leading innovations. MCB’s launch of the new Knowledge Partnership Program is designed to aid recovery by building Victoria’s profile and competitiveness.


State of meeting subventions report
Source: Edited excerpt from Boadroom Magazine and Meetings HQ
Date: 11 November 2021
Conferli has released a market study on the status of subventions in a post-pandemic world, with a focus on European destinations.

Read it here.

#KrakówTheHostCity social media campaign
Source: Edited excerpt from Kongres Magazine
Date: 9 November 2021
Kraków Convention Bureau has implemented a new social media communication strategy that leverages the city’s strongest assets, leading sectors and resources. The focus is on the city’s strengths and areas that were not severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight main areas are presented on social media: Science & Research, Industry, Business & Technology, Culture & Art, The Host City, Heritage & Identity, Smart City and International Relations.

Northern Ireland’s Ambassador Circle
Source: Edited excerpt from Meetings HQ
Date: 24 November 2021
In partnership with Invest Northern Ireland, Visit Belfast and Visit Derry, Tourism Northern Ireland has launched a new initiative, the Ambassador Circle. The Ambassador Circle will bring together business and academic leaders in advanced manufacturing, technology, life and health sciences, food and drink and financial, professional & business services to help identify, target and attract key business events and conferences to the region.


Canada’s Unicorn Event Initiative
Source: Edited excerpt from KONGRES
Date: 13 November 2021
Destination Canada has launched the Unicorn Event Initiative, to help raise awareness among government organizations of large-scale, renowned events that correlate with the country’s centres of excellence—with the ultimate goal of highlighting the meaningful difference they make in driving economic growth and destination development. A “unicorn event”—a term coined by Destination Canada—belongs to a class of large-scale conferences that have achieved a world-renowned status and produce well-documented, tangible, economic and social benefits for host countries.

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For more articles/news, please visit News & Resources.

Our summary of how destinations are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope this bulletin will help you in planning your own mitigation and recovery strategies.