Destination Advisory

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A well thought out and clearly articulated strategy is an essential component of any business planning activity.

Leading global convention & meetings cities have a clearly articulated strategy. A clear strategy acknowledging the transformative economic opportunities of the destination also provides an essential business case for the appropriate investment in destination marketing.

We have consulted on development of destination strategy for around 50 destinations across Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

The GainingEdge team brings considerable experience, world’s best practice and strategic acumen in this specialised segment of the tourism industry.

Exclusively focused on the conventions & meetings industry we work with our clients to define appropriate goals and the strategies to achieve them, while also providing full seamless support through planning and execution. We believe we provide the most comprehensive vertically integrated services in this space.

  • Destination Strategy – overall market strategy or segment strategy
  • Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) organisational strategy
  • Convention centre development advisory
  • Business case for government and private sector funding

Bid Strategy Development and Support

GainingEdge has a proven track record in assisting clients in finding, evaluating and securing new international convention opportunities. Our experienced global team will work with you to identify opportunities, define bid strategies and undertake crucial market intelligence and research activities.

Growing Leads. For companies, destinations or venues looking to develop international markets we provide expertise and knowledge, starting with lead collection, qualification and prioritisation. Our approach is collaborative and ensuring that the knowledge, skills and abilities of your team grow is a key priority for us.

  • Global team working across all regions with deep industry expertise and contacts
  • Exclusive global database access which offers cost and time effective market intelligence specifically for the MICE industry
  • Sales process establishment including associated technology selection and implementation

Winning business. Behind every successful bid is a well thought through strategy, supported by solid research, a structured bid management process and the right levels of stakeholder engagement. We work with you to develop bid strategies, which take into account all the critical success factors, and fully demonstrate, as well as build upon, an in-depth understanding of your client’s unique needs.

  • Development of comprehensive strategies, including competitive multi-city competitive bid analysis and recommendations
  • Bid process management support, including Staff training and development to build knowledge and expertise on bid strategy and the bid management process.
  • Creation of bid documentation, from templates through to bid response and quality assurance

Ambassador & Local Host Development Programme

An Ambassador Programme engages local industry leaders and leverages their contacts & influence. They are designed as incubators for potential local hosts for international conventions. This method is used by cities to help anticipate future business prospects and to also enhance bid strategies and maximize success. Previous local hosts usually have the knowledge and experience for bidding and hosting international conventions. GainingEdge can help you to develop a well structured programme, where we carefully match your needs to suitable patrons and then facilitate a programme between both parties to achieve your desired outcomes. In addition to their in-depth knowledge, proven experience and considerable international connections, an ambassador will be an influential advocate of your proposition.
  • Ambassador Programme establishment. Including: selection criteria, recruitment and retention strategy, programme benefits and management process
  • Programme design, planning and facilitation; ambassador on- boarding, workshop and other core activity facilitation
  • Advice on future Ambassador Program seminar content & presentations.

Business Events Branding Advice

Most destinations already have key elements of a sub-brand for Business Events (meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions.) We work with destinations to undertake a business events sub-branding process, in consultation with your key stakeholders to ensure that the brand extension is broadly supported and thus more effective. Through this process we work with you to ensure a clearly defined sub-branding including elements often overlooked by destinations such as destination product positioning, differentiation, creative brand treatments, consistency in imaging and messaging. Our approach will result in the following:
  • Stakeholder engagement – broad support for the new approach
  • Support and market insights on your brand through our global experience and reach
  • Clear instructions to your creative agency or in-house creative team for brand development and treatments and applications for advertising, media and collateral materials
  • Support to your creative agency and/or in-house marketing team

Development of City Business Events Strategy

A well thought through and clearly articulated strategy is an essential component of any business planning activity. We work with our clients to ensure that the transformative economic opportunities Business Events brings are fully explored, qualified and quantified. Leading global Business Events cities and countries have clear long-term strategies guiding their strategic direction and focus. GainingEdge works with cities and countries, in all geographies, to develop and continually refine their strategic business plans. Strategic business plans outline long-term goals and objectives based on a broad understanding of the economic impact, competitive landscape, stakeholder requirements, required investment, and the associated realities of strategy execution. Working in partnership, the facilitation and development of strategic business plans will typically cover the following areas:
  • Government & industry stakeholder input
  • Competitive analyses
  • Priority industries and markets
  • Long term goals, KPI and strategic roadmaps
  • Previous CVB assessments

Subvention Programme (Financial & Non-Financial Subsidy)

Many cites and countries currently have a myriad of both financial and non-financial aid (on-site support, event marketing and delegate boosting) to attract local and international events against set criteria.  Meeting organizers have come to expect this from any serious host cities. A subvention programme is almost mandatory to compete on a global level. GainingEdge brings specialised knowledge of this strategy in the development of new subvention polices & programs and in the review of existing ones. This includes consideration of:
  • Appropriate and effective model
  • Clear outcomes / ROI for subsidies
  • Business case for meaningful funds
  • Appropriate level of consistency
  • Leverage global best practice

Industry Partnership Programme

Securing large international meetings has a better rate of success through a citywide approach to bids. Our team will work with you with the aim to not only create a platform for your industry partners to support bids but in addition to create an effective means of creating industry cohesion & education, together with an additional revenue source. We can assist in the development of an annual Industry partnership plan, comprising of an Industry partnership-marketing prospectus, which aims to encourage participation through collective resources, a pricing model and a partnership strategy. Ultimately having a strong industry partner programme in place will ensure a unified local industry and increase your global competitiveness in attracting large international meetings.

Product Development

Often destinations have amazing product elements but fail to capitalise on it due to poor product definition, product packaging or a supplier community that’s not savvy on presenting the product. Furthermore, meeting organizers expect new innovative products developed exclusively for their event to create that wow factor. We undertake destination assessment to deliver a clear product definition, packaging, and innovative new product creation. This includes
  • Comprehensive city-wide product review
  • Introductory workshop with the city’s leading suppliers.
  • Client Forum of select high potential international buyers to gain customer feedback on product and presentation.
  • Clients would participate in post-tours during which suppliers could showcase their products.
  • Product Development Workshops with the CVB and suppliers to refine the product offerings and presentations, and development of an innovative new product.

In-Market Sales Representation

Success in securing international conventions and meetings is highly influenced by relationships established in market. It's often not viable for most destinations to establish dedicated offices in market. GainingEdge can help deliver a destination or CVB presence in its key target markets on a scalable basis, from part time to dedicated full time sales and business development resources. GainingEdge operates globally - with sales people in all major markets representing clients from all parts of the world. These representatives would be sales focussed with clearly defined targets, and key roles can cover the following: Lead generation; Bid research and presentations; Trade show attendance; Sales missions; PR and Media; and Client relationship management. With a global network of business development people based in UK, Australia, Singapore, China, Sweden, India and USA, GainingEdge currently provides in-market sales representation to Best Cities Global Alliance, South Africa, Malaysia, Tokyo and Guadalajara.

Team Members

  • 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.

    Email Gary Grimmer

    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


  • Jane Vong Holmes

    Jane Vong Holmes - Senior Manager – Asia

    Jane joined GainingEdge in June 2009, at that time as Associate, and later as Senior Manager Asia, focused on GainingEdge’s business and relationships in Asia. She helped establish GainingEdge’s signature events GainingLeads and GainingEdge Knowledge Exchange which takes place annually at IMEX and ICCA Congress.

    Prior to this role, Jane served for 8 years as Regional Director Asia Pacific for the International Congress & Convention Association – ICCA. During her tenure, the ICCA Asia Pacific Regional Office established a research unit dedicated to studying association meetings and supplementing the market intelligence efforts of ICCA’s Head Office in Amsterdam. She had also worked in Malaysia’s National Tourist Office, Tourism Malaysia and served as the Deputy Director (Overseas) for Tourism Malaysia’s Sydney Office for four years.

    Jane was honoured with the IMEX Academy Award – Asia Pacific in 2013. She has served two terms (2014-2017) as Deputy Chair of ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter. She co-authored two UNWTO publications on the Asia Meetings Industry (2012, 2017), and will release a report on Accessibility in the Meetings Industry, a joint project with BestCities and Rehabilitation International, in Nov 2018.

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    Jane Vong Holmes

    Senior Manager – Asia


  • Paul Vallee

    Paul Vallee - Executive Consultant - Americas

    Paul has more than 30 years in destination sales, marketing and services. He has extensive experience consulting on strategic and destination master planning, organization development, and industry capacity building. His assignments include providing advisory support in Canada, the U.S., Denmark, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Panama, and Thailand. He was Managing Director of the BestCities Global Alliance from 2015-2019.

    Paul has served on the boards of Destination International, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid Marketing Committee, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Task Force. He has been an invited speaker in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. He has also been a faculty member in international destination marketing at Capilano University.

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    Paul Vallee

    Executive Consultant - Americas


  • Bruce Redor

    Bruce Redor - Partner - Europe

    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.

    Bruce has a 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 Disneyland 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. Bruce was also a senior consultant with Alexander Hughes International, one of Europe’s leading executive search firms.

    Since he had been with GainingEdge, Bruce has been involved in consulting engagements in France, Spain, Flanders, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Canada, Rwanda, Tanzania, Qatar and Japan.

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    Bruce Redor

    Partner - Europe


  • Milos Milovanovic

    Milos Milovanovic - Consultant

    Based in Belgrade, Milos Milovanovic has expertise in the activation and development of convention bureaus and destination marketing in emerging regions. He has over 10 years' experience in the meetings industry and has consulted on projects in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan and Rwanda.

    Prior to joining GainingEdge, Milos was the CEO of Serbia Convention Bureau where he was instrumental in its establishment and development. Under his leadership, the bureau has made constant progress in ICCA rankings (International Congress and Convention Association) making the top 50 globally.

    Milos has a diploma in Economics from the University of Belgrade and Master’s degree from Ecole Centrale Paris. In his previous career as marketing and project management specialist he has worked with universities, business associations, international donors and AID agencies creating a number of educational and training programmes in the hospitality and meetings industry.

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    Milos Milovanovic