Denmark has brought together its four largest meetings cities and recently launched a new report on how to make international conventions more impactful for both associations and destinations. Boardroom met with Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, Deputy Convention Director at Wonderful Copenhagen, and Allan Tambo Christiansen, Head of Conventions at VisitAarhus, to learn more about the MeetDenmark report, the study and the new project.
When asked what inspired the study to begin with, Bettina explained that the Danish team went through 500 publications globally on this topic only to realize that “there was a lot of information out there on what outreach and legacy means to different destinations and associations. We wanted to see what it means for us and how we could collect all the scattered legacy-driving pieces under one guidebook.”
Under the name of MeetDenmark, the four convention bureaus (Wonderful Copenhagen, Visit Aarhus, Visit Aalborg and Inspiring Denmark) together with international consultancy Gaining Edge, 21 associations of diverse fields were interviewed on not only what they expect from their delegates but also what they need from a destination. In the same way, 20 destinations were asked about their expectations from an association and an overlap was sought as to what they both agree on.
Some of the report’s key findings show that while most associations and destinations are aware of meeting legacies, they have differing views and no consistent practices. Also, there is limited ongoing measurement of meeting outcomes and legacy impacts by both. In a world where outreach and legacy are getting a lot more attention, the report comes to paint the global picture of the challenges that should be addressed in order for the desired legacy outcome to be achieved.
In actual practice, outreach activities should lead to short-term meeting outcomes and goals which will then result in long-term legacy impacts. However, Bettina says, “when discussing a legacy program with an association, you need to start at the other end. So we are developing a workshop model not only for Danish stakeholders, but also for international associations, in order to find common ground for the optimal strategic planning of a congress.”
Based on the findings, the report includes different outreach activities grouped by diverse legacy impact goals, local stakeholders to be matched, success drivers and necessary funding options. And it goes even further as it presents select case studies of best practices in outreach from around the world and five business cases in the form of benefits to meeting planners, government funders and sponsors.
Recognizing the importance and potential of the outreach study, the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has decided to support a new MeetDenmark project financially with DKK 2.2 million. Thanks to this grant, MeetDenmark will be able to test different outreach approaches and measure impact for both destinations and associations at nine different congresses held across Denmark in the coming two years. The world’s largest offshore wind energy conference, WindEurope Offshore (Copenhagen 26-28 November 2019) -– is one of these congresses.
The plan is to further strengthen the current legacy programme and the framework for achieving the outcome, impact and legacy goals of the international associations, the delegates and the local stakeholders. Bettina concludes: “Our job is to match the right stakeholders with the associations and the destinations, identify the common ground in the desired short- and long-term outcomes and provide a guided path as to the ways these can be reached through various outreach activities. Through this process we can claim successful socioeconomic change.”
This article was written by Boardroom Digital Editor Vicky Koffa. The right to use it, in parts or fully, has to be granted by the Publisher.