GAHP Members Surpass Universal Association Growth Rate

December 3, 2018

GAHP Members Surpass Universal Association Growth Rate

The Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP) was founded in October 2015, bringing together four major association hubs to represent their regions of America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As it marks its third anniversary, its members – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – are experiencing growth in the number of associations located in their cities at a significantly faster rate than global averages. More specifically, in 2018, the number of association headquarters and regional offices located in the four cities grew by 2.5% reaching 3,769, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA), a significantly higher number when compared to worldwide growth of 0.9%.

In this past year, the partnership has continued to get involved in industry meetings and events the world over. This included organising and powering sessions at the inaugural Dubai Association Conference, the European Association Summit in Brussels, the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Chicago, and the ASAE Association Leadership Forum-Asia Pacific in Singapore. GAHP has also provided research to feed into studies by the likes of the Union of International Associations (UIA), International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA), Association Laboratory and AT Kearney.

Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events, said: “Dubai remains committed to facilitating the growth of associations, recognising their importance to developing key industries and sectors and further diversifying the economy. The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) provides a powerful platform for international and regional associations to expand their reach, influence and membership, and at the same time contribute to and tap into Dubai’s growing knowledge economy. In December, DAC will host its first Association Leaders Getaway, offering a unique platform for networking, education and discussions.”

Melissa A. Riley, Vice President, Convention Sales and Services, Destination DC, points out the impact of new investment in the region: “The recent announcement that Amazon will establish HQ2 in the DC metro region exemplifies how the investment in technology, talent and innovation intersect in our region.”

Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau recognises the growth of her country as the regional Asian hub for international associations to anchor their events and offices. She says: “Singapore was again ranked as ICCA’s top international association meetings city in Asia-Pacific for the 16th year in a row. We believe we can continue to contribute meaningfully to the growth of associations both at the regional and global level.”

Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director, Brussels Convention and Association Bureau, said: “In March, visit.brussels will organise the 7th edition of the European Association Summit, confirming its commitment to association professional development. The event gets into a new dimension by linking it closely to the sustainability activities undertaken by the Brussels Capital Region actors allowing to combine education for associations and promoting what the destination may offer them in this important field.”

November 30, 2018

Athens Turns to Innovation

Athens is the winner of this year’s European Capital of Innovation Awards. The contest, which is funded by the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020, took place in Lisbon earlier this month. The City of Athens has placed a lot of importance to innovation and how it can help the local community bring about change and open up to the world. Some of the innovations promoted include projects for renovating old buildings, caring for refugees, creating the Digital Council and the ‘This is Athens’ campaign.

The award criteria, ‘experimenting, engaging, expanding, empowering’, analyse how cities use innovation and new technologies to respond to societal challenges, engage broad local communities in their decision-making processes and improve lives of their citizens.

Coalitions such as This is Athens & Partners, vast opening of brand new hotels and investments on hotels from international firms, confirm that Athens, based on the spirit of cooperation, not only has overcome the recent economic recession, but it has also developed and expanded, taking advantage of innovation. With the backdrop of a unique heritage, the city is now a contemporary hub and a quality destination for congress tourism.

November 29, 2018

Copenhagen Wins Innovation Award for Sustainability

Copenhagen improved to a second place on the GDS-Index and received the innovation award at this year’s ICCA Awards as a recognition for the city’s efforts in making Copenhagen the world’s most sustainable capital in terms of tourism.

The innovation award was given to Copenhagen for Wonderful Copenhagen’s work with the soon to be released sustainability strategy, Tourism for Good. A strategy that will focus on making tourism a driver both locally and globally for sustainable development, just as it will focus on making the Copenhagen CVB more sustainable.

“This is a great appreciation of the efforts being made in Copenhagen, as we continuously look for new ways to become more sustainable. Sustainability is always work-in-progress and we invite all good forces to join us on the journey forward,” says Kit Lykketoft, Director at Conventions and Wonderful Copenhagen.

November 28, 2018

Successful Year for Kuala Lumpur with European-based Associations

11 European-based international association events attracted 11,960 delegates to Malaysia in 2018  and were all held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre), Malaysia’s purpose-built venue. These events were amongst the Centre’s 1,189 held this year to-date (until 31 October 2018), which have been attended by over 1.85 million participants.

Events hosted in 2018 included the World Congress of SIVA-TCI (World Society of Intravenous Anaesthesia Onlus -Target Controlled Infusion) 2018, World Cancer Congress 2018, ISQua (International Society for Quality in Health Care) International Conference 2018, ISWA (International Solid Waste Association) World Congress 2018, International Diabetes Federation Western Pacific Region Congress (IDF-WPR) 2018, International Rubber Conference 2018, and UIA (Union of International Associations) Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific 2018.

Recent feedback from an event held at the venue highlighting this compelling value proposition was the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) World Library and Information Congress 2018. Elaborating on what made it such a success, Organiser – Roberta Odebrecht, Account Director at K.I.T Group shared, “Due to its strategic location in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the Centre provides a great delegate experience because of its proximity to hotels of all categories, shopping malls and numerous entertainment options. We are most impressed by the team’s professionalism, enthusiasm and proactivity. The venue perfectly understood our client’s requirements and the importance of aligning each other’s business perspectives and objectives.”

November 27, 2018

Lausanne Climbs the Rankings

Lausanne Montreux Congress (LMC), the recently formed partnership on the shores of Lake Geneva, aimed at attracting and supporting the congress market, has announced it has been ranked among the top 20 destinations worldwide in the Global Destination Sustainability Index.

The announcement, which took place at the ICCA conference in Dubai, is an annual index recognising the responsible practices and sustainable growth of international meeting destinations in the business tourism and events industry. Destinations are measured in four key areas: performance, industry supplier-support from entities such as hotels and convention centres, social and environmental sustainability strategies and by sharing the best practices from around the world.

When announcing their partnership last year, LMC set out clear goals to integrate the GDS-Index into their strategy, focusing largely on sustainable development to limit their impact on their exceptional surroundings. The partnership was designed with a vision to transcend political boarders in order to bring together two strong business regions and increase the destinations ability to cater for large associations and congresses with a more diverse venue portfolio and combined MICE expertise.

November 26, 2018

The Changing Meeting Landscape

As more and more associations create event departments some appear to see less and less value in the work of professional congress organizers (PCOs). Why should associations hire professional organizers if, as they grow, they have the staff and the resources to do things themselves? Are the event departments of associations taking over what a PCO or a destination management company (DMC) can bring to the table, and if so, what does that mean? Aigars Smiltans, director of MEET RĪGA, shares his view.

 With the abundance of information out there, available everywhere and all the time, some association event planners find it easy — or think it’s easy — to get what they need to stage a meeting. Industry experts say they see planners going directly to suppliers, whether a hotel, a technology company, or an off-site venue, to book conference space or audio-visual services for their next event. “This is an obvious trend at the moment,” says Aigars Smiltans, director of convention bureau MEET RĪGA. “What used to be organized thanks to the expertise of PCOs or DMCs is now handled in-house, without the assistance of third parties. Planners, like anybody else, are looking to save money: Everyone now has a good understanding of the supply chain from client to end service and is trying to cut someone out.”

Convention bureaus can still add value, experts say, especially if a destination is totally new to a planer. He/she may need people who can give input on, say, unusual venues and new, exciting activities. “But, as convention bureaus, we can’t add value over the whole supply chain either,” Smiltans says.“Hotels, just like Radisson Blu Latvija for instance, now offer a full range of in-house AV solutions to planners, shortcutting intermediaries. That was typically the work done by a PCO not so long ago. And there is also that big buzz about hotels cutting (or at least reducing) commissions now and going the extra mile for their clients. All this stimulates direct collaboration between conference organizers and suppliers.”

Does this change the situation for destinations? “It doesn’t really,” Smiltans argues. “The workload is pretty much just shifting. What used to be done by a PCO is now done by a hotel; whatever advice could come from a DMC is now coming from a convention bureau. I really think DMCs and PCOs should change their mindset and maybe rethink their business models so that associations see where their added values lie.”  That value, experts say, includes extensive local knowledge and connections.

“More and more associations choose Riga without the support of a local branch — and even without the possibility of getting a subvention — because our stakeholders over the whole supply chain do a good job showcasing what they’re good at,” Smiltans says.

Events in Riga that are testament to this include conferences organized by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the International Airlines Technical Pool (IATP), or the European Association of Adhesives & Sealants Industry and its FEICA event.

This article, whose unedited version is available in the November issue of Boardroom, was written by Rémi Dévé.

November 26, 2018

Glasgow’s Plans for Expansion

The Scottish Event Campus(SEC) has applied for planning permission in principle (PPIP) for a major expansion of its facilities with a vision to create a unique global event campus, building on its long standing success of attracting global conferences, exhibitions and events. The project focuses on developing the west end of the campus and includes a dedicated entrance, additional highly flexible meeting, exhibition and networking spaces, and panoramic views of the city and River Clyde.

Billy McFadyen, Finance & Development Director, SEC said: “The SEC currently offers Glasgow and Scotland a solution to stage events of varying sizes.  However, competition worldwide is robust and constantly evolving.  In order to maintain this level of success we need to invest in our product to ensure we have the best facilities. The plans for this expansion will fulfil this and create a truly unique UK Event Campus which will be world class.”

Photo : SEC Glasgow

 

November 23, 2018

Glasgow Receives Recognition for World Down Syndrome Congress

The World Down Syndrome Congress which was held in Glasgow in July 2018 has been recognised as a leading example of excellence within the global meetings industry thanks to the success of its Commissioner Programme which placed three local young people with Down syndrome at the forefront of the conference.

The associations responsible for the congress, Down Syndrome International (DSI) and Down Syndrome Scotland (DSS), were selected by an independent panel of industry experts as winners of this year’s ICCA Incredible Impacts Awards and have received a grant towards future work of this kind in subsequent World Down Syndrome Congresses.

In March 2018, to coincide with Down Syndrome Awareness Week, DSS in partnership with Glasgow Convention Bureau, VisitScotland and Glasgow Welcomes hosted People Make Glasgow Welcome workshops aiming to educate customer facing staff about Down syndrome, remove some of the stigma surrounding the condition and ensure that all delegates received a warm and appropriate welcome when the Congress took place.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “This is a perfect example of how conferences have a much greater impact than just the economic benefit from delegate spend and we wish DSi the very best for the continued success of the commissioner programme as they take the Congress to new host cities around the world.”

November 20, 2018

Legacy is Always All About Value Capture

Politician, diplomat and educator Baroness Amos has given the keynote at a Sydney Speaker Series luncheon in London. The event was organised by both Business Events Sydney and ICC Sydney, and was hosted by the High Commission of Australia. The Iceberg itself was invited to attend, and was even able there to interview BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith.

You can read the whole article here.

November 19, 2018

Transforming Associations with Agility

The world is evolving very quickly, from changing economies to blending industries, resulting in tremendous competitive pressure from all angles. In the current environment, association leaders need to disrupt their organisations to survive, rethinking their products, technology, organisational talent and partnerships. They are required to promote an organisational culture that assumes changes, is comfortable with chaos and customer driven. They are expected to break the rules while bringing operational consistency. There is simply no room for rigidity!

I come at this topic from two directions in my role at Scrum Alliance®, the largest professional association of Agile practitioners worldwide. Our mission is to help others transform the world of work through improved organisational practice. At the same time, Scrum Alliance®itself is in the midst of a multi-year process of renewal and revitalisation to better align our work with the needs and desires of our members.

People over processes

We have attacked that challenge through a greater organisational commitment to Agile – an approach and mindset that values people over processes, iterative solutions with constant customer feedback, deeper cross-functional collaboration, and responsiveness to change over following a set plan.

Although Agile has gone more mainstream, it remains an idea that is easier to grasp than to practice. Scrum Alliance®just collaborated with Forbes Insights on a global survey of more than 1,000 C-level executives. Just 16 percent of these leaders said their organisations were “Agile in both strategy and execution,”although 81 percent of respondents agree on the critical importance of agility when it comes to leading a successful organisation.

So, if your organisation seems to be stuck in a time machine of pre-2000 efficiency, know that you’re not alone. The question is how do you change it?

The findings from our survey suggested a structured approach with three key elements to increase organizational agility: (1) Create a C-suite with an Agile mindset;  (2) Hire and develop the right mix of talent, and (3) Foster an Agile-friendly culture and organisational structure.

Executive-level support for Agile change is a must. Active senior management sponsorship and support is the number one motivator for undertaking a broader transformation.C-level executives can increase organisational agility by challenging ideas, sponsoring the right supporting structure and inspiring an Agile mindset across the organisation.

All about the staff

The next group responsible for supporting successful disruption is the staff. True Agile practice requires everyone in an organisation to work differently. It is important to have changing agents on board and surround those employees with a supporting culture. Many CEOs are good with developing strategies but aren’t as good with communicating across organisational layers. HR professionals become key Agile enablers as the heads of hiring and training. They evolve into a more strategic role becoming strategic business partners. They also help bring culture and communication down from the C-suite, acting as a cross-functional facilitator.

It is fine to start small; in fact, that is how most successful transformations begin. Some departments may be able to handle a total process overhaul quickly, eliminating unnecessary process and protocol, while others, like accounting, may hold on longer to older ways that are still working.

Many organisations mistakenly think that “going Agile” just means eliminating hierarchy. However, Agile is about creating the right team mindset and dynamics through practices such as Scrum and Kanban to support execution. Both Agile frameworks help organisations create empowered teams, bottom-up decision making, accountability, transparency and customer centricity.

The full version, written by Renata Lerch, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications at Scrum Alliance, is available in the November issue of Boardroom