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Press release: Different perceptions of goals stand in the way of greater meeting legacies

Photo: Kim Wyon

June 2019


A landmark study by MeetDenmark suggests that association and destination perspectives on out-reach and legacy have key differences. Awareness about each other’s goals can be fundamental in finding synergies and creating greater meeting impacts and legacies together.

Perceptions of association benefits
The study showed that associations tend to think about strengthening the association brand, building membership and addressing organisational issues when asked about benefits and meeting legacies for the association. Destinations on the other hand focus more on the host community’s ability to deliver new insights, innovation and technologies to the convention and its attendees, when asked about the benefits they are seeking to deliver to associations.

According to Mr. Rasmus Jerver, Chairman of MeetDenmark and CEO of VisitAalborg the legacy re-search is providing Danish bureaus with new insights in at least two important ways:

“First, the results are telling us what matters most to meeting organisers, what they are seeking to accomplish with their meetings and how we can better position Denmark as the right solution to achieve those impacts. Second, it’s telling us that if we want to achieve a broader collaboration on legacies it’s not just about being creative. It means we must connect the dots on what is possible and how it’s going to help associations advance their mission.

But the study also shows that there is common ground to build on. The perceptions align around as-sociation benefits like knowledge exchange, building audience and networks, influencing public policy and generally accomplishing the association’s mission.

Perceptions of destination benefits
When asked about benefits and meeting legacies for destinations, the associations tend to think in terms of promotional value, the destination’s ability to showcase its expertise and to enhance its re-gional standing. Destinations on the other hand often focus on immediate results like tourism ROI and CSR activities. As for the longer-term legacies, the destinations want to develop local industry clusters and improved practices and outcomes - for instance local public health improvements that could result from hosting a medical meeting.

The common ground regarding benefits and legacies of meetings for the destinations revolves around strengthening local knowledge, policy improvements and public awareness as well as place branding and talent attraction.

The lead consultant on the MeetDenmark outreach study was Gary Grimmer, CEO of Gaining Edge. According to Mr. Grimmer the results show that associations and destinations could both benefit by looking at the world from each other’s perspective:

“The association respondents to our interviews were thinking global legacies more than they were thinking local ones, but if your mission is to improve certain types of health outcomes then your meet-ing destination could become your laboratory. The associations have an opportunity to gauge over time how their meetings leave legacies in a given community. It is a chance to better engage, to see what works and to transfer that knowledge over to future meetings and host communities. Every des-tination and convention means another case study and though they entail local ramifications, they will ultimately lead to global applications.”

In continuation Mr. Jerver said:

“We commissioned the research to support our effort to make international conventions more impact-ful for both the associations and the local community. Creating a sort of win-win. We are now imple-menting a new outreach program which includes a new model of collaboration between associations and the four leading Danish convention destinations. We want to engage with organisers much earlier in the process to have a discussion about legacies. And maybe even continue the relationship after the event to enhance the impact over time”.

Notes to Editor:

The MeetDenmark Outreach Study
MeetDenmark commissioned the research to support the development of a new program designed to make international conventions in Denmark more impactful for both associations and the destinations. The study included analysis of 50 associations and 50 destinations around the world.

During 2019, MeetDenmark plans to publish further results from the study. For example, Dynamics of successful outreach: How are outreach efforts typically financed, who are the stakeholders involved and what are the key success drivers?

MeetDenmark is an alliance of Denmark’s four leading international meetings destinations and the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs. The four bureau members are VisitAalborg, VisitAarhus, Wonderful Copenhagen and Inspiring Denmark, which represents the South Jutland and Funen region of Denmark.

Gaining Edge
Gaining Edge is a specialist firm focused on the international business events industry, offering a wide range of consulting services to both destinations and associations. The company specialises in issues related to destination development, developing and expanding convention centres and establishing and strengthening associations.

More at:

Media enquiries:
Mr. Rasmus Jerver
CEO, VisitAalborg
Mobile: +45 22 82 10 22

Mr. Peter Dyhr Andreassen
Head of Stakeholder Relations, MeetDenmark
Mobile: +45 29 10 26 07

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Overview: The MeetDenmark Legacy Studies