Destination Development Strategy
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 - 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