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April 14, 2015

Convene 2015: Specialized Agencies And ICCA Offer Pathway to Ambassador Programs

As reported last week, South Africa's National Convention Bureau has begun developing an "Ambassador Program" in an effort to stimulate and support bids for international association congresses, inward investment, and talent from within sectors identified by government for growth. This is not a new approach, although it is becoming more commonplace as convention bureaux increasingly target events within sectors that are aligned to the development frameworks of the destinations they serve.
Indeed, at the Convene 2015 Networking Evening held recently in Vilnius, IMR noticed host Jolanta Beniuliene of the Vilnius Convention Bureau welcoming hosted buyers and encouraging them to connect with ambassadors resulting from the establishment her own program just last year.
So how can a bureau fast-track the creation, or development, of such a program?
Amid the ambient excitement of the evening's activities, IMR met with Convene keynote speaker, Sarah Fleming of Sarah Fleming Associates, a 'Lead Generation Expert' whose organization specializes in assisting destinations to identify relevant congresses as well as local ambassadors who are capable of supporting the bids for them.

Asked about the role that ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) has played, and will play, in the construct of lead-generation, Fleming confirmed that the organizations' database to date has been the lifeblood of her activities but that in order to maintain its relevance going forwards, ICCA must continue to invest in the Big Data Tool that it has developed.
Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic are essential fountains of knowledge underpinning ICCA's Big Data offer, especially for the identification of potential ambassadors, which enable ICCA's destination marketing membership to identify individuals and events that match the sector profiles identified in their local development plans. And destinations are also outsourcing the lead generation requirement to agencies such as SFA which deliver economies of scale and also provide added value resulting from internal knowledge-sharing from within her organization.
It's a perfect storm for ICCA and SFA alike.
But with many leading convention bureaux (such as Business Events Sydneyinvesting in their own Big Data solutions, Fleming acknowledged that ICCA will need to continue to be at the cutting edge of data search provision, and enable concurrent ability to manipulate the data, if they are to remain mutually competitive.
“What I'm really excited about is the upgrade to the [ICCA] database because I'm hoping that the way you can manipulate the data is going to be more accessible than it currently is,” she said. “So long as they continue to invest in the integrity of the data, there will be a place for ICCA”.
(IMR apologizes for any noise interference during the video enclosed.)

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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham





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