CVB Establishment and Support Sales
Cities and governments recognise the essential role Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) play in marketing the destination to the meetings & conventions market. CVBs are valued by meeting organisers for their independent and city-wide approach.
Leading global convention & meetings cities have a clear destination strategy which is underpinned by an active CVB or equivalent destination marketing organisation.
We have consulted on the establishment of national and city CVBs in Asia, Africa and Europe; and provided training and sales support to CVBs across the globe.
The GainingEdge team have worked with numerous destinations, companies and venues to improve global sales and achieve greater success through the bidding process. Our approach is always collaborative and revolves around a knowledge transfer to your teams.
We have a proven track record in assisting clients in finding, evaluating and securing new international convention opportunities. Our experienced global team helps to identify opportunities, define bid strategies and undertake crucial market intelligence and research activities.
GainingEdge has extensive reach and exposure in convention & meetings industry. We facilitate the process through our partner networks, extensive client databases and frequent participation at industry events.
Project Brief: National business events strategy for South Africa and establishment of South Africa National Convention Bureau
GainingEdge was retained as the consulting firm to help define the national business events strategy for South Africa, as well as to elaborate the activation process and business plan.
Using an approach that involved high levels of stakeholder engagement, GainingEdge facilitated a planning process that developed strong consensus among members of the South African business events industry. This resulted in a strong buy-in from the institutional and local stakeholder community concerning the newly formed convention bureau’s vision, mission and strategic goals for the next five years.
Stakeholder engagement was so strong that key actors of the business events industry decided to create “Team South Africa”. Through this partnership organisation, SANCB has been able to implement a variety of initiatives that met the needs of regional and local DMOs, as well as those of the suppliers from the business events sector across the country.
Working closely with the newly formed team, GainingEdge has contributed to helping SANCB position itself as motor for product and capacity development across the nation. SANCB has positioned and branded the country’s business events sector, and is developing a number of sales and marketing tools that will be made available to local DMOs.
Additionally, GainingEdge provided pro-bono support which led to the establishment of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). A strong AfSAE will mean a stronger association community in Africa, and more successful bids for the respective destinations on the continent.
Project Brief: Feasibility study and setting up of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau
GainingEdge was engaged by the Ministry of Tourism to first complete a feasibility study for the establishment of a national convention bureau in 2007 and were then engaged to set up and assist with strategy implementation for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) in 2009 which incorporated the Business Events (meetings, incentives, convention and exhibition) unit in 2010 and the Malaysia Major Events unit (sports, arts, cultural and entertainment events) unit in 2011.
Since its inception, Malaysia is on course to achieve the nation’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) targets for the business events industry by year 2020. This is illustrated by MyCEB’s current track records as well as aggressive efforts to bid for and stage world-class business events. Over the years, since its establishment and up to 2015, MyCEB has won 654 future events comprising international conferences, corporate incentive groups and trade exhibition events which will substantially add some RM4.1 billion to Malaysia’s coffers. In the same period, MyCEB provided support to 1,350 events with the aim of increasing delegate awareness and attendance, their length of stay and spending in Malaysia. These events which are already booked for Malaysia will contribute RM7.2 billion to the country’s economy.
The project to set up MyCEB and activate it covered staff recruitment, induction and training; and establishing the management systems including standard operating procedures. GainingEdge also set up Malaysia’s business development plan and implementation, including bid management strategy and support. GainingEdge further assisted in the development and implementation of industry training programmes including MyCEB’s Industry Partner Programme.
Gary Grimmer - CEO
Gary has over 30 years’ experience in the convention industry. He has consulted Houston, Vancouver, Yokohama, Tokyo, Macau, and the countries of South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Serbia on development of convention and meetings industries. He was a member of Beijing Dongcheng's International Meetings Advisory Council and currently serves on Destination DC's (Washington) Client Advisory Board.
His convention centre consulting experience includes market feasibility, demand analysis, facility scoping, design review, site review, and operational consultation for convention centre developments in Nigeria, Oman, Malaysia, Mexico and Australia. He also served on the London International Convention Centre Commission which developed recommendations on a proposed new convention centre for London, United Kingdom.
While he is both Australian and American, he is originally from the United States where he was CEO at bureaus in Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico and Vice President of the Boston, Massachusetts bureau. Gary is a former Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau [now Destinations International and formerly known as DMAI)] and former Chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia. In 2014 he was one of the first six inductees into the inaugural Destinations International (fka DMAI) Hall of Fame in 2014.
Earlier, in 2007, he received the IMEX Academy for Asia Pacific Award.Email Gary Grimmer
Mike Williams - Senior Partner
Mike is a destination and convention bureau specialist with 30 years’ experience in the industry. He has consulted in Australia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Serbia and South Africa. Mike was the lead consultant for establishment and capability strengthening for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau. He has also been the Lead Consultant for proposed new convention facilities in 3 Australian cities.
Mike served as General Manager Sales for the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau. He also worked in senior marketing roles with Tourism Australia helping establish their presence in the Asia market and overseeing travel trade development in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He was also instrumental in the development of the AIME tradeshow and the world’s first BestCities Global Alliance. Mike is also a past National President of Meetings and Events of Australia and was ranked as one of the most influential people in the Australian business events industry by mice.net.Email Mike Williams
Jane Vong Holmes - Senior Manager – Asia
Jane joined GainingEdge in 2009 and consults across the Asia region on a range of challenges and opportunities facing the conventions and meetings industry. Jane has been part of the consulting team for projects in China, Japan, Malaysia, Macao, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Jane also managed the very successful BestCities Global Alliance on behalf of GainingEdge for 6 years.
Jane was previously the Regional Director for ICCA based in Malaysia and in 2013 was honoured with the IMEX Academy Award for outstanding contribution to the industry.Email Jane Vong Holmes
Jane Vong Holmes
Senior Manager – Asia
Paul Vallee - Executive Consultant – Americas
Paul is Executive Consultant – Americas, with GainingEdge. He has provided consulting advice in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Panama, and Thailand, and has been an invited speaker in Europe, North America and South America.
Paul is also Managing Director of the BestCities Global Alliance, the world’s leading partnership of convention bureaus. He provides strategic leadership and is responsible for the performance of the Alliance on behalf of the 12 partners on six continents.
Prior to his current role, Paul spent more than 25 years in destination sales, marketing and services management. He has extensive experience managing complex organizations, strategic planning with diverse stakeholders, and destination master planning.
Paul has served on the boards of Destination Marketing Association International, the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid Marketing Committee, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Task Force. He is also a faculty member in international destination marketing at Capilano University.Email Paul Vallee
Executive Consultant – Americas
Bruce Redor - Partner - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Based in Paris, Bruce Redor is an Anglo-American who has seen his international career develop over a 25-year period in a variety of sectors within the hospitality and services industries. He has led several consulting projects across Europe, Russia and South Africa.
Bruce has Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley and came to France as Director of Marketing at the American Hospital of Paris. He then joined the CEGOS Consulting Group in Paris, leading projects in strategic planning and marketing for multi-national corporations.
Bruce was a member of the management team that built and operated EuroDisney in Paris, where he set up and ran the successful business unit for meetings and incentives: Disneyland Paris Business Solutions.
He was also the CEO of the Lyon Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he was instrumental in turning the city into one of Europe's leading business-travel and leisure destinations.Email Bruce Redor
Partner - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Dennis Campbell - Senior Manager - Sales Support
Based in Phoenix, AZ, USA, Dennis oversees convention/meetings lead and bid development efforts for our North America clients. Dennis also coaches destination marketing organizations on how to move the needle in their sales operation efficiencies (improve conversion ratio) and convention venues for improving their revenue stream and vendor performance. His has been recognized as a top marketing executive by the American Marketing Association (NM Chapter). Dennis recently completed a Master Certificate program at Cornell University for hospitality management.
Dennis’ tourism & marketing credentials bridge multiple disciplines, having served as an Area Marketing Manager with Southwest Airlines Co., Vice President of Sales & Marketing with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Convention & Visitors Bureau, and General Manager of the New Mexico State Fair Grounds.(6th largest in the USA). His expertise includes complex convention bid preparation, contract negotiations, sales team leadership/training, convention centre and large event venue management, vendor contracts, and breakout brand architecture, all with a keen focus for effective destination marketing platforms. To date, Dennis is the only CVB executive ever to be recognized by mayoral decree in the City of Albuquerque for contributions to economic growth through tourism.Email Dennis Campbell
Senior Manager - Sales Support