Destinations & Associations:
A Different Perspective About Legacy?

1st July 2019

MeetDenmark has published a study suggesting that association and destination perspectives on outreach and legacy have key differences. Awareness about each other’s goals can be fundamental in finding synergies and creating greater meeting impacts and legacies together, while Both associations and destinations can benefit by looking at the world from each other’s perspective.

Perceptions of association benefits

The study showed that associations tend to think about strengthening the association brand, building membership and addressing organisational issues when asked about benefits and meeting legacies for the association. Destinations on the other hand focus more on the host community’s ability to deliver new insights, innovation and technologies to the convention and its attendees, when asked about the benefits they are seeking to deliver to associations.

According to Rasmus Jerver, Chairman of MeetDenmark and CEO of VisitAalborg the legacy research is providing Danish bureaus with new insights in at least two important ways: “First, the results are telling us what matters most to meeting organisers, what they are seeking to accomplish with their meetings. Second, it’s telling us that if we want to achieve a broader collaboration on legacies it’s not just about being creative. It means we must connect the dots on what is possible and how it’s going to help associations advance their mission.”

But the study also shows that there is common ground to build on. The perceptions align around association benefits like knowledge exchange, building audience and networks, influencing public policy and generally accomplishing the association’s mission.

Perceptions of destination benefits

When asked about benefits and meeting legacies for destinations, the associations tend to think in terms of promotional value, the destination’s ability to showcase its expertise and to enhance its regional standing. Destinations on the other hand often focus on immediate results like tourism ROI and CSR activities. As for the longer-term legacies, the destinations want to develop local industry clusters and improved practices and outcomes – for instance local public health improvements that could result from hosting a medical meeting. 

The common ground regarding benefits and legacies of meetings for the destinations revolves around strengthening local knowledge, policy improvements and public awareness as well as place branding and talent attraction.

The study was commissioned by MeetDenmark and conducted by Gaining­ Edge. According to Gary Grimmer, GainingEdge CEO, the results show that associations and destinations could both benefit by looking at the world from each other’s perspective: “The association respondents to our interviews were thinking global legacies more than they were thinking local ones, but if your mission is to improve certain types of health outcomes then your meeting destination could become your laboratory.The associations have an opportunity to gauge over time how their meetings leave legacies in a given community. It is a chance to better engage, to see what works and to transfer that knowledge over to future meetings and host communities. Every destination and convention means another case study and though they entail local ramifications, they will ultimately lead to global applications.” 

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