AIPC: The Influence of Meetings Beyond the Convention Center
In July, the AIPC Annual Conference and 57th General Assembly ran for three days in Boston, focusing on the long-term value of meetings and events. While on location, IMR caught up with AIPC Executive Director Rod Cameron and President Geoff Donaghy.
"Our members are, inevitably, really important parts of their respective communities and really visible parts of their respective communities," Cameron began. "And that means that, as they are increasingly realizing, they must be much more active in the bigger picture of city planning, of economic strategic planning—even the interface with the business community and the universities and so forth because they are part of that product."
"Every convention center has three broad segments," Donaghy said. "They have their local business—and centers are very important in the host communities for those local events…Then there's the regional and national business, and then there's the genuine international business." The secret, he added, is to strike a balance among those three sectors—but CVBs should definitely focus on attracting "top minds" in any creative field to the destination and introducing them to local professionals. "They're the concentric circles of influence and impact that spreads out from the convention that's just held in the convention center," he said.
Those influencers, Cameron added, are in-demand for cities and destinations overall. "That's a message we need to be more effective at delivering so that cities start to put a priority on the business events visitors and realizing the extra value that they bring and the extra value they'll leave behind."
Cities around the world, Donaghy noted, are promoting their value beyond tourism for the MICE industry. Sydney's new convention center is a good example of that, Cameron said, as the full zone will include a "healthy mix" of academics, business and convention facilities. "In doing that, you're able to make these links very real and very active and very visible."