CVB Establishment & Support
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 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
Nigel Brown - Project Manager
Nigel is responsible for a number of projects at GainingEdge ranging from IT projects, such as the implementation of the Best Events Centre for BestCities Global Alliance, business development for the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and support for the Japan Global MICE Cities project, a project with the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) & the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) to name but a few.
Nigel started his career at the head office of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) in Amsterdam. He was part of the event organizing team of the association and served 7 years organizing a host of events on all continents. During his tenure he gained extensive project management skills and was responsible for implementing new technologies at ICCA events. Prior to joining GainingEdge Nigel worked as Project Manager for Singex Exhibition Ventures, the event organizing arm of the Singapore EXPO. During his period at Singex he gained experience working on trade & consumer shows and conferences. This all-round experience has given him insights into both the client and supplier side of the events industry and is put to good use at GainingEdge.
Nigel holds a Bachelor of Hotel Administration, Bachelor of European Hospitality Management from the Hotelschool The Hague and a culinary diploma from the Amsterdam College of Hotel and Gastronomy.Email Nigel Brown
Lesley Williams - Business Development Consultant
Working in international sales and marketing for over 25 years, Lesley Williams has headed up the Business Tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh, for the last 7 years before joining GainingEdge.
Leading 8 specialists in the Convention Edinburgh team, Lesley’s priority focus was to source and secure successful bids for international and national conferences for Edinburgh, the result of which saw Edinburgh rise to 27 in the ICCA World Rankings.
Very active in Scottish business tourism industry, Lesley sits on a number of committees focused on raising the profile of Scotland as a world leading conference destination. This included an active role as both Committee member and Chair for two years, in the creation of the Annual Business Tourism for Scotland, a conference that attracted over 300 industry professionals.
Lesley participates fully in the wider tourism arena sitting on international tourism committees. She is currently Chair of ICCA UK and Ireland Chapter where her aim is to ensure ICCAUK&I grows from strength to strength and continues to deliver for its members through an inspiring education programme and through business development opportunities.
Previous experience includes business development for international hotel chains and prestigious caterers and eight years as Director of Sales at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), playing a key role in taking EICC into operational profit in 2003 through the development of key international and national association and corporate business.
With Edinburgh being a founding partner of the BestCities Global Alliance, Lesley plays an active part in the alliance helping shape strategy and business development.Email Lesley Williams
Business Development Consultant
Milos Milovanovic - Consultant
Based in Belgrade, Milos Milovanovic is a GainingEdge Consultant with expertise in activation and development of convention bureaus and destination marketing in emerging regions. He has close to 10 years experience in the meeting and conventions industry.
Prior to joining Gaining Edge, Milos was the CEO of the Serbia Convention Bureau since 2007, where as inaugural CEO he was instrumental in its establishment and development. Under his leadership the bureau has made constant progress in International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings making the top 50 globally.
Serbia, as one of the exciting and emerging Eastern European convention destinations, is now in the global limelight. It has made constant progress and represents one of the fastest growing meetings destinations globally.
Milos has BA in Economics from the University in Belgrade and Master`s degree from Ecole Centrale Paris. In his previous career as project management specialist he has worked with universities, business associations, international donors and AID agencies creating a number of educational and training programs in the hospitality and meeting industry.Email Milos Milovanovic