Convention & Exhibition Centre Advisory

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We have consulted on both new and expansion projects for facilities in Australasia, Africa, Asia, Middle East and North America. This experience and our global network in the convention industry allow us to provide invaluable support to developers.

The GainingEdge team brings unique experience in this specialised industry. Leveraging our expertise in destination strategy, our development advisory team offers an integrated scope of services in convention centre development – ranging from conceptualisation, site assessment, feasibility studies to design reviews and pre-opening planning.

Our market and operational consultants collaborate to bring both client and operator perspectives to every engagement. This includes insights that target markets to inform building configuration and specifications; operational considerations; and overall market strategy.

The ultimate success of a convention & exhibition centre is contingent on the capability of the management team operating the facility. There are multiple operating models available. We advise on the most suitable model with due regard to location, target market, and overall facility mission, seeking to balance ownership control and expertise in facility management.

Download brochure: Convention Centre & Exhibition Consulting

Market Demand Analysis

We offer developers our strong knowledge in project development support. We have consulted on both new and expansion projects for facilities in Australia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman and London. This experience and our global network in the convention industry allows us to work with developers to determine current and anticipated demand levels for the proposed expansion of the new centre.

Our market and operational consultants collaborate to bring both client and operator perspectives to every engagement. This includes insights that target markets and users that would potentially use the facility; building configuration and specifications to respond to market needs; operational considerations; and overall market demand analysis.

Upon request we undertake primary research seeking insights from international industry stakeholders, meeting planners, and professional conference organisers (PCOs) and combine these with existing market data on target markets to develop a clear market view.


Market Overview & Destination Assessment

A clear overview of the marketplace and destination determines the positioning of the development. We provide a concise picture of the competitive landscape in terms of profiling local, national and regional facilities, current meeting activity, and future trends to assess the competitive marketplace in which the proposed facility would operate and how the new facility may complement or compete on a regional basis. We undertake a 10-point destination assessment based on key criteria clients use to assess convention destinations. We provide a profile of community attributes, analysing the economic, aesthetic, and destination-attractiveness attributes and other convention related infrastructure (e.g., hotel room inventory, air access and promotional support). Market insights would include local brand perception, market trends, opportunities, business drivers, and priority markets.

Feasibility Study

Convention & exhibition centres are developed because of the social and economic benefits these projects can generate in terms of fiscal impacts as well as trade and intellectual engagement. These benefits include professional development, trade and research links, exports, foreign direct investment and strengthening knowledge and creative economies as well as the direct impacts of increased spending, employment and tax revenues. We can assist stakeholders in determining the benefits generated by operations of the proposed centre on direct spending by various users plus indirect benefits and more notional impacts such as branding and tourism.  Included is a benefits analysis and business case in relation to the anticipated impacts of the centre. We provide preliminary financial projections for the convention & exhibition centre. For these projections, we specifically consider:
  • Occupancy and related revenue from local, regional and international meetings, conventions and events to develop an annual business mix / calendar of events;
  • Pricing levels based on local market, and comparable markets;
  • Operating expenses including labor, facility management, repairs & maintenance, sales & marketing, utilities & overheads, etc.
Assumptions are based on discussions with local government and industry contacts and secondary research. Demand levels are supported by interviews of the target market - domestic, regional and international meeting planners, clients. We summarize findings in the form of income & expenditure projections usually for a 10 year period. Where required we prepare a full financial feasibility including NPV analysis.

Site Assessment

For clients who are in the early stages of selecting a site for their new facility we have developed an in-depth site assessment process. This service has proven to be very successful in identifying the planning elements that ultimately will influence the facility's marketability, operational efficiency and overall success. As part of the assessment process our specialised consultants conduct a thorough review of the site, including a  detailed SWOT analysis, and then provide comprehensive recommendations in relation to any concerns identified. This process covers issues such as road access, complementary developments, neighbouring infrastructure, surrounding land uses and  future expansion planning needs. This is a collaborative approach, where we work with your team and other key stakeholders such as local government officials, planners and your architectural teams.

Design Reviews

Optimum design is critical for high operational efficiency. Our market and operational consultants collaborate to bring both client and operator perspectives for design considerations. We ensure that the design considers attributes important to the client of today and tomorrow. We recommend possible modifications to enhance operational efficiency, and provide quantitative evaluation of features and elements that impact future operational success. We make recommendations on the Facility Specifications including configuration and size of exhibit, plenary, meeting and ballroom spaces, lobbies and pre-function areas. This is usually undertaken through design review workshops comprising the client, project managers, architects, engineers and other specialist consultants supporting the project. In our experience these structured workshops are an ideal method for the review of the design and generation of ideas, concepts and solutions in a collaborative and timely manner.

Venue Management & Operational Advice

The ultimate success of a convention & exhibition centre, once built, is contingent on the expertise and capability of the management team operating the facility. There are multiple operating models available including i) owner operated management, ii) outsourced management to specialist convention & exhibition centre operators, iii) outsourced management to integrated hotel operators. Our advice includes advantages and disadvantages of each model, and our recommendation of the most suitable model for the proposed convention & exhibition centre with due regard to location, target market, and overall facility mission. The recommended model would seek to balance ownership control and expertise in facility management. We also provide support in the tender, evaluation and negotiation process for the appointment of a suitable convention & exhibition centre operator.   We have strong relationships with leading facility operators and management companies and augment our consulting team with operational specialists for all aspects of the project including market, management, operations, financial, design and structural issues and pre-opening services.

Pre-opening planning support

We provide preliminary operational insight and recommendations in relation to key pre-opening activities including Staffing, Sales & Marketing, Communications, Hand-over, Soft Opening, and Official Opening. The goal is to ensure that the new venue will be functioning smoothly and to the highest standards in terms of its financial, commercial and technical operation on opening.

Our Experts

  • Rod Kamleshwaran

    Rod Kamleshwaran - COO & Partner

    Rod leads GainingEdge’s Convention & Exhibition Centre advisory team. His areas of expertise are development and asset management of venues & hotels with a focus on mixed use developments.

    He assists public & private sector clients with masterplanning, design, market & commercial advice, operator procurement and asset management. He has advised projects with a completion value over US$ 30 billion. Having advised almost 40 venues on 5 continents Rod brings a unique global perspective. This includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Italy, Norway, Cyprus, Serbia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Jordan, Israel and Mexico.

    Rod was at PwC and IHG® before joining GainingEdge. As a regional CFO at IHG® he was asset manager for owned/leased hotels and venues and gained experience from development to operations. At PwC he provided market and commercial advice on hospitality assets. Rod is an MBA, Bachelor of Commerce, and Chartered Accountant.

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    Rod Kamleshwaran

    COO & Partner


  • Gary Grimmer

    Gary Grimmer - Executive Chairman

    Gary has over 30 years’ experience in the convention industry. In 2004 he founded GainingEdge, a global consulting company that offers advisory services to destinations, convention & visitor bureaus, convention venues and associations. It also provides convention and incentive sales representation services in all of the world’s key markets. The company’s services are end-to-end, with specialist expertise and global networks that cover both the supply and demand sides of the market. GainingEdge also manages the BestCities Global Alliance which comprises of 12 of the world’s leading destinations. Gary has consulted at the local and national level on over 100 projects in all parts of the world.
    Previously Gary was the CEO of Convention and Visitor Bureaus in Melbourne (Australia), Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA) and Portland (Oregon, USA). He also served as Vice President for the Boston (Massachusetts, USA) bureau.

    Gary was one of the lead consultants on Destination Next, a global study for Destinations International (DI) which defined the future of destination marketing. He is a former Chairman of the Board of DI and was one of the first six inductees into the inaugural Dl Hall of Fame in 2014. He also received the Asia Pacific IMEX Academy Award in 2007.

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    Gary Grimmer

    Executive Chairman


  • Mike Williams

    Mike Williams - Senior Partner & Consultant

    Mike is a destination and convention and visitor bureau specialist with 30 years’ experience in the tourism and business events industry. Since joining Gaining Edge in 2007 he has been a lead consultant on destination and convention bureau development for clients in Australia, Africa, China, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Qatar, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom & USA. Mike was the lead consultant for establishment and capability strengthening for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau. This project included the collaboration with a university and research company to undertake an economic impact study and exhibition industry opportunity study. Mike was also deeply involved in bureau development programmes in Japan, Macao and Thailand. He has also been providing consultancy support for convention centre developments around the globe, including a number within the Asia Pacific region. In addition, Mike oversees GainingEdge's in-market sales representation.

    Mike served as General Manager Sales & Marketing for the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau. During his tenure, he was involved in the National Business Events economic impact study and Melbourne Delegate Expenditure survey in collaboration with a university and research company. 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. Mike was instrumental in the development of AIME, the largest MICE trade show in the Asia Pacific and the world’s first BestCities Global Alliance which includes Singapore as a partner. Mike is also a past Victorian State Chair and National President of Meetings and Events of Australia (MEA).

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    Mike Williams

    Senior Partner & Consultant