. . . the destination is on show

Organisers of large events, with several hundred delegates up to many thousands, don’t just choose a venue. They choose a destination.
Large numbers of senior people from many countries, with lots of disposable income, will not only participate in sessions in a venue, but will be seeking alternative places to eat and drink, tourist sights to visit, attractions to take in on a leisure activity.

Who will they be dealing with? Not only the event co-ordinators at a hotel or conference centre and not only f&b managers. They will need the assistance of taxi drivers, waiters, the local police, universities, municipal and government agencies, airport staff, museum curators and so on.

All these parties contribute in the first place to creating the right impression during a site inspection and then towards the lasting memories that the delegates take away from their visit.

Seling, therefore, has to be a joint effort on behalf of the whole destination. It is up to the promotion people to create total co-operation. Everyone has to be aware of what it takes to attract international events and also what is required in meeting the needs of the visiting delegates. It is one thing to gain the business in the first place and it is another to create and maintain a reputation that will encourage future business of the same kind.

The whole region has to be aware of the benefits that can be derived from this additional revenue; and they also have to be aware of the damage that can be caused if someone causes an upset. It is an educational process that has to be continuous and long term.

Promotion within the destination is of equal importance to promotion to the outside world.

Similarly, when a contract is secured for an event and when one has taken place successfully, then the praise, the thanks, the accolades have to be widely distributed. Everyone has to be made aware of the value of their contribution. If the credit is taken exclusively by the venue’s management or the tourist promotion unit, then the next event might not run so smoothly.