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
Project Brief: Tweaking Tokyo’s incentive products for the international market
Business Events Tokyo, the convention arm of the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, approached GainingEdge to assist in the city’s development of innovative incentive products and experiences for its international incentive clients. One of Japan’s greatest assets is its tremendous pool of artisans and its cultural authenticity. The bureau wanted to ensure that ‘authentic’ rather than ‘touristic’ experiences will be on offer to international incentive buyers.
At the end of this 5-month project, the transformation was evident. The city’s incentive suppliers have developed stronger incentive products, have gained more incentive market knowledge, have improved their product presentation skills and have gained invaluable experience in hosting client sites.
There was clear refinement in the products and activities. The highly rated activities incorporated a successful combination of uniqueness, education, authenticity and client engagement. In short, the participating destination management companies (DMCs) were effectively depicting Japanese culture and delivering an experience above the client’s expectation (the surprise element). The programme also opened the door on new product potential that will broaden Tokyo’s incentive offerings.
Project Brief: Development Strategy Proposal for Hangzhou
In 2011, GainingEdge was engaged by UNWTO and Hangzhou Tourism Commission to conduct a study on global trends in the business events industry, and to provide advice on their approach to the development of the industry. GainingEdge conducted meetings and discussions with Hangzhou’s stakeholders who are market facing and who acted as focus groups to provide on-ground information on market demands, supplies, competition and source markets as well as the destination SWOT. Through engagement with these focus groups, the consulting team also learnt about the capabilities and capacities of Hangzhou’s supplier community. The team carried out site inspections and briefings on infrastructure capacities and first-hand experience on Hangzhou’s tourism products with incentive elements. Working with two local experts in the business events industry, primary research included market hotel surveys and market leads research. Secondary research included data from Chinese tourism offices, Hangzhou Tourism Promotion Center, Hangzhou Tourism Commission and West Lake Expo Office. The student team from Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic were coached on how to mine for additional data through their various research and survey activities.
In addition to the market report, GainingEdge outlined the requirements for the further development of Hangzhou’s business events industry and provided recommendations on how to make Hangzhou a preferred destination in China. The report also provided advice on the role of the local government and its agencies in supporting the growth of Hangzhou’s business events industry.
Hangzhou has consistently maintained its rankings within the Top 3 leaderboard, after Beijing and Shanghai, in ICCA’s annual rankings for the number of international association meetings hosted. As a result of hosting the 2016 G20 Summit, the city’s meetings infrastructure was vastly enhanced.
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