Meetings: Why the current model is broken

Current strategies are not client-centric. Corporation and Association event planners are requesting a completely different approach and destinations are too slow in responding to these customer changes. Why? Almost 90% of DMO/CVB worldwide cannot take quick decisions as they belong to regional or national tourism bodies and ministries. therefore the number of levels of bureaucracy can make decision making extremely complicated.

Traditionally (of course there are great exceptions) DMOs / CVBs have not had enough human, technical and economic resources and when they do it can be not efficient enough or well deployed. The honest truth is that these institutions are completely under resourced considering the meetings and spend they support in bringing to a destination.

The strategies, tactical plans and the way that destinations push for meetings have not been updated for the last 20 years (trade shows, advertising, representatives, agencies, bidding, etc.). Overall we have seen limited new technologies deployed or smart and social media campaigns.

Normally, destinations target corporate and association meetings differently but do not use a multichannel strategy with adapted messages per industry sector or per channel. Probably we are suffering from Marketing myopia, (a term first coined by Theodore Levitt) suggesting “that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products.”

It is an endogamy game. For the last decade the ‘same people’ have been ever-present in the same sector associations, speeches, magazines and panels, hence the rise of the copycats.

When it comes to attracting meetings to a destination, the proposition is often not well articulated worldwide, the roles of the value chain are not clear. A myriad of CVBs, intermediaries (PCO, DMC, RP, marketing, TMC), partners/suppliers, chambers of commerce… makes this complex

Economic cycles are affecting destinations. The ecosystem is suffering so governments are pushing
desperately for results (event infrastructure such as convention centers and hotels developed during the ‘good times’, agencies) and in the economic downturn it made these strategies extremely important in order to fill them.


Μέρος της  ”Global Report on the Meetings Industry”, του World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Μάρτιος 2014