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 - 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 in relation to destinations, convention bureaus and convention and exhibition centres. 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 is comprised 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. His convention centre consulting experience includes market feasibility, demand analysis, facility scoping, design review, site review and operational consultation for convention centre developments. He also served on the London International Convention Centre Commission.
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
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 tradeshow 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).Email Mike Williams
Senior Partner & Consultant
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.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, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Panama, Denmark 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 a past faculty member in international destination marketing at Capilano University.Email Paul Vallee
Executive Consultant - Americas
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 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.Email Bruce Redor
Partner - Europe
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.Email Milos Milovanovic