Washington, DC, Where Economics, Culture & Academics Unite

March 4, 2019

Washington, DC, Where Economics, Culture & Academics Unite

Home to the most educated population in the U.S., Washington, DC is where great minds gather for meetings in the technologybiotech/pharmaceuticaleducation and medical sectors. As the connected capital continues to expand its knowledge economy, those working in sustainabilitytransportation and government advocacy have also taken notice. Meeting planners will find major sustainability advancements, transformative public transportation initiatives and access to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in DC, which benefit their attendees, sponsors and bottom line.

There are copious reasons why hosting your next meeting in DC will be valuable for your attendees and your organization. Here are just a few ways DC is a leading city:

  • 1st LEED Platinum City in the World (United States Green Building Council, 2017)
  • 2nd largest subway system by ridership in the U.S. (SmartAsset, 2018)
  • Fourth city in which Ford will debut its self-driving vehicles (CNN, 2018)
  • Access to 11,270 lobbyists in industries including pharmaceuticals/health products, insurance, electronics and business associations. Lobbyists spent $2.59 billion in 2018. (Center for Responsive Politics, 2018)

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 18 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center continues renovations that began in fall 2018 with capital improvements such as new seating, enhanced digital signage, a streetscape plan and a “mamava pod” for nursing mothers.

The ease of travel continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers. In 2018, new air service started into Dulles International Airport from Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and seasonal service from Edinburgh on United Airlines. In 2019, new nonstop air service will begin from Rome on Alitalia in May, Tel Aviv on United in May and Lisbon on TAP Air in June.

“Two recent citywides showcased just how connected our city is,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “In December, American Geophysical Union utilized 65 hotels for over 28,000 attendees without the use of a shuttle, pointing to the abundance of hotels near our convention center. And in June, the World Gas Union took advantage of DC’s access to thought leaders when they recruited the Secretary of Energy for the United States as keynote speaker for the opening ceremony.”

To learn more about meetings and conventions succeeding in Washington, DC or submit an RFP, visit washington.org/meetings.



February 26, 2019

Forward Thinking in the Netherlands

In Holland, modernity and tradition intertwine like, maybe, no other place in the world: artistic masterpieces, centuries-old windmills, tulip fields and romantic candlelit cafés seem perfectly at placewith visionary architecture, cutting-edge design and vibrant nightlife. As a conference destination, it may be a small country, but it is this compact environment, coupled together with a strong drive for innovation and knowledge, that make it truly unique.

You might think that the country that gave birth to celebrated Dutch Masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and Piet Mondrian would dwell on its past, but studying Holland’s trailblazing contemporary architecture, as well as its green initiatives, show just how forward-thinking the country is. With scenic landscape found on every last dyke, canal, river and coastal shore, where the Dutch and visitors alike explore by two wheels – one of the greatest pleasures is cycling around Dutch cities – Holland is open to the world, a place where freedom and high trust have flourished.

One of the main reasons Holland is such an appealing conference destination, in addition to this open-minded outlook and great convention infrastructure, is its compact size, offering more attractions, museums and venues per square mile than any other destination. This is not a marketing posture: everything is easily accessible, with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol serving as a hub and a convenient train system making it simple to hop from city to city.

Holland City

Taking all of this into consideration, it makes sense that Holland’s convention bureau wants associations to think of the country as one big integrated city. The country’s size is what makes this possible. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague— Holland’s major financial and industrial centres—all sit inside a 50-km circle, with Schiphol International Airport in the middle. High-speed trains from Schiphol connect to Amsterdam in just 20 minutes and Rotterdam in 30, making the destination an international gateway epicentre and thus driving global trade.

All of these factors contributed to the branding of ‘Holland City,’ which recently launched in full force in the meetings industry. Eric Bakermans, Director Marketing Meetings & Conventions at the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC), explains: ‘Holland City’ is the name of our overarching strategy, which is all about the spread of international arrivals in time and place. This helps to overcome overtourism in some places, some of the time, and to attract future visitors and meeting planners to consider other parts of the Netherlands as a leisure or business destination rather than just the known places.

Asked if this concept can be applied to associations whose events rotate throughout Europe and beyond, Bakermans acknowledges that “it may be less applicable for conventions and congresses. Association meetings are less flexible in dates but might be open for flexibility in place, depending on volume and other factors, of course. Given the compactness of the Netherlands, I like to think that is always an option to consider.”

Growth through conferences

Holland boasts one of the 20 largest economies in the world and is a leading global knowledge centre with a longstanding history of invention. In times of global, social and economic challenges, the Dutch find ways to continue the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship. One factor that can help drive this growth is conferences. NBTC work on the country’s nine major industry sectors – agriculture, chemical, creative (media/design), energy, high-tech, logistics, justice and security, and water management – and identify and attract those international congresses that make sense for them to host. This sector-specific strategy leverages the country’s industry expertise to engage international planners and provide associations a targeted availability of potential speakers, exhibitors, researchers, audience members, sponsors and other business partners related to a conference’s unique theme.

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the February issue of Boardroom available here.

February 22, 2019

SACEOS, Carving Out a New Future

This year is a landmark one for the Singapore Association for Conventions Exhibitions Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS). It is celebrating its 40th year in operation and has appointed a new president. Aloysius Arlando – a prolific figurehead in the business events industry in Singapore – took over the reigns in February. Arlando has helmed various leadership positions in Singapore’s public sector. He currently serves as the CEO of SingEx Holdings and is on the boards of several associations, institutions and high-level committees around the world, including the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) of which he is also president. He shares his vision for SACEOS and explains why it is imperative associations are ‘future-ready’.

How does SACEOS position itself within the global associations market?

MICE-commerce is a global and borderless business world with distributed networks. In this super-connected global world of associations, SACEOS remains a key and committed player in this sphere of relationships, distinguishing itself as a thought-leader for its focus on sustainable business growth and merits it brings to the community.

How will your personal experience in the industry help advance SACEOS?

I have had the privilege of working in both the public and private sectors of the meetings industry over the past two decades. Through these domains, I will draw on the expertise and experience of my networks in this global industry to forge successful partnerships to make this industry a choice for all, where passion can truly be made possible. 

What is your vision for SACEOS?

To harness the power of communities and establish new levels of collaboration for the growth of the industry. In today’s world of digitally-enabled communities, cross-industry collaborations and global market connectedness, SACEOS will need to forge purpose-driven partnerships near and far to make our meetings industry future-ready and strengthen Singapore’s leading position in the global meetings space. It is therefore imperative for SACEOS to work with key local associations, institutions and global industry associations to address the capability and capacity challenges head on and create new and exciting opportunities for the betterment of the business community, people it serves and the workforce it employs.

What developments can we expect to see?

SACEOS has dedicated its strategy to the educational needs of the meetings industry for many years. The milestones and achievements that have been made provide a prime foundation from which my executive committee will draw strength and confidently enter into the next phase of growth. At the 2018 Singapore MICE Forum, SACEOS created the Asia Pacific Community Building Manifesto, a bold and courageous mandate towards the future meetings industry in 2030. The Manifesto outlined seven key pillars including people, technology, business models and new ecosystem, to promote sustainable business progress in the Asia-Pacific region.

How is SACEOS driving change in the industry?

SACEOS is raising awareness that standing still is not an option. We are driving the transformative change and fostering the collaborative wisdom of relevant stakeholders to create new business models. We believe the meetings industry needs to be generation-ready. The demographics and motivations of the four generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z) are all different and increasingly making an impact in the market. We are gathering understanding to provide a platform for members to prepare for generation readiness, so they can tap into the wave of opportunities this presents.

This interview was conducted by Boardroom editor Chantelle Dietz.


February 14, 2019

What to Expect at the Associations World Congress

It’s not long now until the Associations World Congress which takes place from 7 – 9 April 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden. There’s been a lot of development for this year’s event and the organisers, starting with a newly designed programme. With over four hundred delegates, the Associations World Congress is one of the largest as well as the most established conference for association executives.

The new and progressive programme includes an extension of the popular Association Leaders’ Forum from a half-day to it being integrated into the congress as a two-day Forum.  Greg Tracz, Chief Development Officerat the International Hydropower Association says: “The Association Leader’s Forum is a must-go-to event with world-class speakers, stimulating topics for discussion, and lots of lively debate.” And it’s because of this and many more positive comments, that Damian Hutt, Executive Director at AAE decided to broaden the Leaders’ Forum over the two days.

Additionally, AAE has created a new forum specially for event strategists.  The Association Events Strategy Forum is also integrated into the congress programme. During the Forum you’ll hear thought-provoking opinions on the purpose of events, their value, and the place of association events in the association’s offering and contribute to the discussion and ideas.

Excitement is also building around the keynote speakers. Sweden and indeed Gothenburg, are home to two world-renowned organisations who are delighted to take part in the congress:  The Nobel Organisation with their head Laura Sprechmann; and Volvo with their Senior Vice President Paul Welander.  There are more than fifty speakers from associations and specialist organisations, and this year, they’re not simply presenting…. There are many different formats including the new ‘Crash Course’ and ‘Camp Fire’.  AAE has created an environment that stimulates interaction and learning.  The new programme enables delegates to move to different sessions – essential, as many association executives are responsible for multiple functions.

Another new initiative is that AAE are issuing Certificates of Education in Association Management for verified attendees for up to 12 hours education.  This came about after receiving feedback from AAE members who wanted formal recognition and record of the time they spend learning at AAE seminars, conferences, masterclasses and congresses.

In conclusion, it’s going to be a busy time at this years’ congress …the two-day Forums, Crash Courses, Camp Fires, Success Story case studies, Breakfast Brains, Expert Briefings, Workshops, and the Solution and Services Providers in the Expo!  Not to mention the social side, with two drinks receptions, two dinners, the International & European Association Awards Ceremony, Gothenburg and its amazing archipelago, and more…

Find out more at www.associationsworldcongress.com





February 8, 2019

Ottawa: Canada’s Test Track for AV Innovation

Ottawa isn’t afraid to take trials out of the lab and on to a real-life test ground. Canada’s capital became the country’s first city to test on-street autonomous vehicles (AV) back in 2017, advancing testing on active public streets on a spin through Kanata North Technology Park. Imagine the look on the faces of people passing by when the driverless car came to a halt at a traffic light, allowing pedestrians to cross the street. The smart city is receiving the same reaction from industry leaders across the world as it showcases home-grown connected car and AV technologies, applications and services on the global market. 

Calling Ottawa Canada’s smartest city isn’t hyperbole. Located in the province of Ontario, with an international airport offering daily direct connections to over 30 major North American and European cities, Ottawa is the most technology-intensive region in Canada. The city boasts more PhDs per capita than anywhere else in Canada and excels in the areas of next generation networks and 5G, smart city initiatives, communications technology, and autonomous vehicles.

Ottawa is home to the top five mobile backhaul equipment market vendors (think Nokia and Ericsson), the top 10 optical network hardware vendors and 90% of telecommunications research, resources that have helped the city’s connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) cluster become a leader in sensors and LIDARS, key components of CAVs. Ottawa is a tech hub with decades of internationally-recognized strengths in fields that make up the core of CAV technology,” explains Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa. “Ottawa’s CAV cluster, comprised of leading companies, post-secondary institutions, government and non-profits, established a vision early on, and committed to build the city’s capabilities, investment and global opportunity in CAV development, testing and validation.”

Innovation Centre

The AV testing on Ontario’s roads, led by the expertise of BlackBerry QNX (a leading developer of mission-critical software that serves as the foundation for connected and autonomous vehicles) and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC), is one example of the development taking place in Canada’s AV capital—home to over 70 companies and other organizations working in the field. According toMichael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards: “Our region has the expertise and capabilities required to develop, commercialize, and adopt new vehicle to everything (V2X) solutions. These technologies can be integrated into global supply chains and sold around the world. This new testbed adds critical capability to our ecosystem, enabling innovators to test and commercialize these AV technologies.”

To build on its reputation as Canada’s AV capital, Ottawa and BlackBerry QNX have teamed up with organizations like Invest Ottawa (the city’s economic development agency) and the Kanata North Business Association, in addition to researchers at the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College. The Kanata North Business Association, for example, represents over 500 ICT companies that contribute $13billion to Canada’s GDP in what is Canada’s largest technology park

Portland-based Allied Market Research predicts the global market for autonomous vehicles will be worth $54.23 billion in 2019 and increase to $556.67 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 39.47% during that period. “CAV is playing a key role in driving economic growth and in shifting the way in which we live and work around the world,” Shorey explains. Invest Ottawa has seen “keen interests from international firms in leveraging Ottawa’s CAV capabilities in V2X testing and our true four-season climate,” according to Shorey.

This article, whose full version is available in the February issue of Boardroom, was written by Lane Nieset. Your contact in Ottawa: mpalladino@ottawatourism.ca/ www.ottawatourism.ca

Picture: Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, during his tour of the BlackBerry QNX AVIC in Ottawa (copyright: BlackBerry QNX)








February 4, 2019

Relationship between Association Culture and Performance

To conclude her Executive Master in International Association Management at Solvay Brussels School, Boardroom Advisory Board Member Silke Schlinnertz wrote her final paper on the different ways of dealing with culture in the association world. Here are her findings.

Like cultures in general, organisational culture especially in associations is complex and unique. Culture is based on the individual history, leadership and team members. Hence, in order to improve performance and let an organisational culture have the appropriate effect on all parties involved, it is important to understand how organisational culture actually affects an association and its board members, leadership and employees alike. Understanding organisational culture is key to get the things done and not damaging any relations.

The rationale of the paper was to examine the different ways of dealing with culture in the association world, as well as to provide case studies for effective culture and performance management in views of various International federations / trade associations. By looking at how other associations are doing, the reader shall (hopefully) be shown samples of how to build a performing organisational culture for an association. An online survey and interviews revealed the following:

  • Culture and performance in associations is nuanced:
    It is important to create and understand each organisational culture as its own and define the link between performance and culture. There is no one fits all!
  • Associations are on a journey:
    Every individual needs to understand his/her role in shaping the association culture and as a result the increase in the chosen performance.
  • Accountability is the responsibility of the community:
    In associations, accountability cannot simply lie with individuals or solely with the secretariat (staff), it needs to be applicable to all stakeholders involved.

Outcome: Culture drives performance as long as performance is defined!

  • Create a strong yet flexible culture to deal with upcoming challenges
  • Learn how to cope with the dual problem of constantly adapting to the ever changing environment and needs while sharing a sense of responsibility, ownership and commitment with all parties involved.

Interested in reading the full paper, follow this link: http://bit.ly/EMIAM18-Silke

January 29, 2019

Livestock Scientists Flocked to Auckland

Auckland is growing in popularity as a destination for international conferences. One recent highlight was the 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP), which attracted more than 1,400 leading scientists and researchers at the Aotea Centre. Auckland Advocate Alliance member and Massey University Professor of Animal Science Hugh Blair was the local committee chair and integral to winning the conference.

Why did you want to bring WCGALP to New Zealand?

Since the time of Professor Al Rae, one of the founders of modern animal breeding, New Zealand and Massey have been considered world leaders in the implementation of genetics. The congress provided an exciting opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s strengths in using genetics to improve the production and health of animals and plants.

Additionally, international leaders in this field came to New Zealand to share their latest developments. There are benefits in terms of these experts meeting and presenting to a new generation of our young scientists. The conference saw the presentation of 873 papers, which included seven Massey University PhD students presenting their research results in front of this prestigious international audience.

Hosting the conference may yet yield more benefits, with visiting specialists collaborating with local experts on their research.

Why was Auckland a good host for this event?

Everyone was really excited when we won the conference. People were saying ‘We have always wanted to go to New Zealand and now we have a reason’. A lot of people stayed on to take holidays. In the post-conference survey 83% rated Auckland as very good or excellent.

Auckland is where the majority of international visitors fly in – we had attendees from 70 countries. Also, it has the venues with the capacity to host such a large event. We went with Aotea Centre, because it was a bit quirky, and it has lots of room for networking. Best of all, you can step right out onto Aotea Square. We wanted to have a BBQ to finish the event so we needed an outdoor venue. It was the most beautiful evening, it had such a nice feeling. There was a band and food stations and nearly 1,000 people dancing and enjoying themselves right in the middle of the city. It really showed our Kiwi hospitality. The opening social function at the waterfront Viaduct Events Centre, with New Zealand food and a Maori cultural experience, also really set the scene.

Auckland is also a great launch pad for the rest of the country, and was a hub for our field trip programme, allowing us to tap into local expertise.

Fast facts

  • Number of delegates and accompanying people – 1423, including 550 from Europe
  • Visitor origins – 70 countries
  • Number of presentations/papers – 873
  • Number of scientific field trips – 10
  • Economic contribution – $3,711,511

What was the most successful aspect of the event?

We sent delegates on 10 field trips to showcase New Zealand’s sheep, beef cattle, deer, equine, dairy sheep, aquaculture, forestry and kiwifruit industries. Every one of those trips had a bit of ‘tourism’ associated with it. The Hobbiton movie set is actually on a ram breeding farm, so we visited the farm, then had a fantastic dinner put on at the venue. The group who went to discuss kauri in Northland ended up visiting a marae; the aquaculture field trip to Waiheke Island incorporated a wine tasting at a vineyard; the Hamilton trip included a visit to Waitomo Caves. Everybody came back buzzing. They had a great time enjoying the country and got to see how New Zealand applies the science in the primary production sector. It enabled us to puff our chests out and say ‘we’re pretty good at this’ on the world stage.

How was the rest of the programme received?

The quality of the technical programme was rated 80% very good or excellent. AL Rae Centre’s Chief Scientist Dorian Garrick, and consultant Brian Wickham played a big part in arranging the knowledge programme. They are both very well known internationally and I have no doubt the success of the content was down to their expertise.

What support did you get in hosting the event?

When it was suggested I bid for the conference, I reached out to Auckland Convention Bureau. Their assistance eased the burden of bidding, including creating a compelling bid document and supporting us in making the right connections. Because the conference attracts more than 200 international delegates, it was eligible for Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme (CAP). This meant the preparation of the bid document was fully funded out of CAP, as was my airfare and accommodation to travel to Vancouver to deliver the bid, plus additional marketing support. That outlay was a huge help. Having the right people on our team was very important and that support was invaluable


January 18, 2019

What’s in Store at IMEX Association Day 2019

“I’m always looking for support with innovation and Association Day provides the perfect opportunity to get new ideas.” Danielle Michel, Director of Corporate Programme at the Airports Council International European Region in Belgium, who visited Association Day at IMEX in Frankfurt explains why it delivers a real business boost to association event planners around the world.

Three streams – tailor the day

Association Day takes place on Monday 20 May 2019, the day before IMEX in Frankfurt. This top class event is split into three streams – all aimed at senior association professionals and chaired by key organisations in the sector. Each stream has been re-branded as a ‘Lab’ to reflect the highly interactive programme that is being developed in conjunction with the association industry. The programme’s three different streams allow attendees to tailor the day to suit their individual requirements with each session expertly curated and designed to get to the ‘nuts and bolts’ of each topic using case studies and open discussions. The aim is – as always – for attendees to leave armed with new ideas to put into action.

The ASAE Leadership Lab stream will aim to help professionals build their people management skills – focusing on staff recruitment and retention, managing global teams and establishing effective board governance. The ICCA Imagination Lab sessions take a creative look at event planning and partnering, responding to the pressure many event professionals are under to deliver exciting, engaging – and profitable – events time and time again. The MCI Knowledge Lab will showcase strategies for building long term commercial partnerships as well as exploring the festivalisation of events and how planners can employ immersive tactics to create an experience that’s unforgettable yet still hits their objectives.

Latest innovations and trends

Association Day is part of EduMonday, an afternoon of immersive, inspiring and free professional development, which takes place the day before the show.  The 2019 edition of IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place 21- 23 May, will incorporate many of the content ideas and feedback received from attendees and exhibitors. Reflecting current trends within the events industry and the world at large, topics such as diversity and inclusion, collaboration and co-creation plus the circular economy will all be explored. There will also be a substantial focus on all things experiential with an entire hall dedicated to experiential and immersive activities and event ideas, giving attendees time and space to experiment on behalf of their clients, members or delegates.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “The show evolves every year in response to attendee feedback. Each year we set new targets and new standards for our shows and for all our attendees, buyers and exhibitors alike, and this May in Frankfurt will be no different.  We know that this is what the industry needs – and expects – from an IMEX show. We’re especially pleased that as the show has grown we’ve been able to increase representation from both mature and emerging destinations; as well as being able to showcase growing market sectors in the industry such as technology. This is important as it allows association professionals to achieve a very productive week at the show – not only researching and selecting destinations and venues, but truly being able to meet every supplier they need to in order to develop an innovative and relevant event for their members.”

Association Day takes place on Monday 20 May, the day before IMEX in Frankfurt 2019. For more details and to register click here / IMEX in Frankfurt takes place at Messe Frankfurt from 21 -23 May 2019. Registration is free. www.imex-frankfurt.com

January 11, 2019

Trade Associations’ Internal Advocacy Challenges

In recent years, global and international trade associations have transformed into effective advocacy and lobbying tools. Internal advocacy toward membership is often neglected—but it’s one of the most crucial factors to consider.

The last decade has seen a drastic shift in terms of management and the repositioning of trade associations toward stakeholders and members. External advocacy and lobbying have become more of the core focus for trade associations, but there’s another aspect that’s just as important: internal lobbying toward members.

Trade associations today are comprised of a diverse membership, from stock market-listed, globally operating companies to smaller SMEs and regional or national associations. Structures within companies do often differ, but it’s important that associations coordinate on different priorities and structures when it comes to crucial policy development.

Increasingly challenging

In an increasingly challenging political environment, policy statements often have an immediate and direct impact on entire industry sectors—especially in terms of trade dispute and development. Member companies need information for planning security and to adjust internal human and financial resources. Therefore, concise internal communication and advocacy toward the membership—as well as quick information on policy discussions—are crucial if associations want to stay ahead of development and offer quick responses.

Trade association management often believes their membership is aware of day-to-day operations and challenges, but this is a general misconception. Due to time constraints, members may lack detailed understanding of internal association structures. Trade association secretariats often fail to communicate or place their work in an economic or political context, especially when it comes to complex technical and regulatory achievements.

Legislative proposals that could have a direct impact on an industry—or would result in higher costs for entire sectors—are sometimes not highlighted enough. In the long run, actions that result in the prevention (or partial prevention) of any extra burden for companies creates high-cost savings for the industry. This is even more important in budget discussions, which are often seen as cost centres. The value of association work is most easily expressed in numerical fashion, and avoiding costs creates indirect value, providing association board members with the right tools to express the trade association’s value during company budget planning processes and discussions.

More internal

The question now becomes “how?”How can associations focus more on internal lobbying? In addition to membership publications and newsletters, general assemblies, board and committee meetings are the most common forums of communication to open discussion on challenges and achievements. However, these traditional tools also have their limitations. Restricted, online member networks that limit access to information and internal libraries (but allow for secretariats and members to edit position papers) are helping speed up coordination processes and enhance transparency. In my experience, policy makers who offer quick, unified and internally coordinated responses are what stakeholders and members value most.

In our association, the European Flavour industry association, which consists of global companies and smaller SMEs, we wanted to increase our visibility to stakeholders, so we needed to rethink our collaboration strategies. We did this, for instance, through joint internal publications or external information letters. Quotes and statements from our stakeholders which we published in our newsletters were, in this context, a visible sign of endorsement. Our general assemblies were also a great opportunity to invite stakeholders and partners of the industry to exchange further and to identify possible future fields of collaboration.

Basic standard office software allows today’s associations to work in a collaborative manner on joint documents and statements. This allows for faster, coordinated input on public consultations of institutions, while also increasing their profile and visibility toward related partner trade associations—especially in the b2b realm. By increasing dissemination of information through social internal and external networks (such as restricted LinkedIn groups), members and external stakeholders will be directly involved—and kept informed.

For companies engaged in trade associations, increased internal information and enhanced collaboration offer a clear benefit: first-hand information from in-house policy experts familiar with all aspects of the business. By bringing external lobbying efforts in line with internal advocacy, associations can ensure long-term success and continue propelling position industry interests forward.

This article was contributed by Brussels-based Alexander Mohr, PhD, Executive Director of the European Flavour industry association, EFFA. He writes in his own capacity.


January 4, 2019

The Power of the BestCities Alliance in Bogotá

In December, BestCities Alliance participants gathered in Bogotá, Colombia – the only Latin American city in the Alliance – for the annual Global Forum. Now in its third year, the Forum has continued to gain strength, offering a wealth of content and wonderful hosts who can capture and engage an audience – traits that certainly befit this year’s ‘Power of the People’ theme.

Following Dubai in 2016 and Tokyo in 2017, the members of the BestCities Alliance invited a delegation of international associations to Bogotá at the end of 2018 as a way to enhance the skills and knowledge of association executives based globally. Held in collaboration with the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau (GBCB), the Forum honed in on the concept of creating change regardless of your surroundings – a perspective that made all the more sense in the Colombian capital, a city recovering from a complicated past.

What is the BestCities Global Alliance ?

The BestCities Global Alliance is a worldwide partnership of convention bureaux whose objective is to deliver the world’s best convention bureau practices for the meetings industry. The Alliance comprises members in Vancouver, Bogotá, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo, Madrid and Berlin. The members exchange business leads, organize sales missions and client workshops, and share best practices and knowledge on the international meetings industry. Together with ICCA, BestCities initiated the Incredible Impacts Programme, which celebrates the “beyond tourism” lasting impacts made by associations; gives inspiring legacy examples; and awards much-deserved grants to internationally-based organizations.

Local elements weaved their way into the Forum in the form of personal stories. Neyder Culchac, a young leader from Putumayo, a region in southwest Colombia, shared some of the conflicts he faced growing up that later inspired an initiative that transformed the lives of 480 families in his community. Lina Tangarife, Director of Social Responsibility at the Social Alliance of Uniandinos, meanwhile, has strengthened volunteering among public and private sector companies, making her a prime example of “The Power of People.” While her story is impressive enough, Tangarifealso offered attendees sound advice on how to activate networks.

Besides traditional lectures – Rick Antonson and his cathedral thinking made a popular comeback – the Forum included hands-on, workshop-like sessions, which participants greatly appreciated. “I rarely attend these events, but BestCities provided the ideal platform for me not only to network with my peers, share my issues, and discuss my challenges, but also to participate in engaging discussions and find concrete solutions through innovative formats,” explained Diane Kovats, Executive Director of the International Society for Computational Biology.

The Power of Bogotá

At a time when geopolitical issues and religious boundaries can create barriers for knowledge sharing and collaboration, Bogotá set the ideal backdrop for inspirational thinking. Despite itsown set of challenges, the Colombian capital is a very appealing city. The friendliness, enthusiasm and warmth of its residents quickly twist the perception visitors may have of the destination, undermining flaws such as mobility (which the government is currently working on). Case in point: Bogotá is known as the bike capital of the continent, with a network of more than 350km of bike paths and “Ciclovías” cycling routes, used by approximately 2.5 million people every day.

As Colombia’s economic epicentre and business hub, Bogotá is an emerging conference destination with plenty of assets. Connectivity is just one highlight, with over 700 air routes from 44 destinations. Bogotá has also been voted the fifth best city for business in Latin America, and, with over 60 universities, knowledge and innovation are continuously on the rise.

With a strong portfolio of association wins – The World Summit of Peace Laureates and One Young World, the most important summit of young leaders, took place there in 2017; the International Conference on Production Research in 2018 – Bogotá has caught plenty of global attention lately — and the city is ready for more. In recent years, Bogotá’s diverse economy and favourable business environment have attracted large amounts of foreign investments, as well as business activities and events from organizations based all around the globe, securing the city’s position internationally as a business and conference hub in Latin America.

For some participants, this dynamism was an eye-opener. As Iain Bitran, Executive Director of the International Society for Professional Innovation Management, explained: “I was not sure what to expect when I came to Bogotá. But with its wide range of infrastructure for events and its wonderful people eager to make a positive change, the city is really inspiring; now I’m really considering organizing something here.”

The Forum’s goal was to show the power conferences and meetings have on communities, creating change and leaving legacies for and by the communities involved – a goal that was certainly achieved this year.

More information on BestCities: www.bestcities.net / on Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau: bogotacb.com

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. Picture: the whole delegation of partners and associations in Bogotá.