Association brain power in Asia grows

GainingEdge’s latest report pinpoints Bangkok for progress made in leveraging the influence of local experts when bidding for international conferences

ASSOCIATIONS in several Asia Pacific destinations are performing strongly when it comes to ensuring the top brains on governing bodies work successfully with local authorities in attracting large conventions to their cities.

Tokyo, Beijiing, Seoul, Sydney, Singapore, Melbourne and Hong Kong rank in the Top 20 cities rated by business events consultancy Gaining Edge for successfully engaging local knowledge leaders, such as doctors, engineers and scientists when bidding for important association meetings.

Taipei and Kuala Lumpur were ranked 27th and 28th, respectively, for also having large numbers of active experts on local association boards while Bangkok came in at 35th – ahead of Dublin – and Shanghai at 50th.

Bangkok, however, stood out in Asia Pacific for having the highest “harnessing ratio” – the link between the number of international meetings hosted or booked between 2018 and 2021, and the number of “local intellectual leaders” from such fields as academia, health, science and industry who are on the boards of international associations.

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GainingEdge’s Harnessing Ratio table in its Leveraging Intellectual Capital 2021 Global Report has ranked these destinations based on how well each city is able to make use of local “intellectual capital” to win international conference bids.

“Our research shows London again at the top, followed by Paris, Tokyo, with Beijing surpassing New York this year, indicating once again that these cities are true global knowledge hubs with strong influence in international associations,” Milos Milovanovic, head of GainingEdge Analysis and Research, said.

“These five cities are key global knowledge hubs which concentrate over 10 per cent of the total available intellectual capital, with 2,756 local leaders active,” Milovanovic said.

Destinations that saw the greatest increase in the influence of their local leaders on boards compared to the previous year were Sydney, with its leaders active in 46 additional boards, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (with +34 more each) and Seoul (+28).

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Jon Sivertson, GainingEdge’s CEO, said: “We see ‘Intellectual Capital Engagement’ as a key to success for a meetings destination. Cities need to explore who are their local leaders with a strong international reputation, and how to engage them.

“Our Harnessing Ratio provides a great starting point for assessing how to leverage intellectual capital and what action destinations should take to increase its use. By identifying sectors that the destination wants to support and promote, convention bureaus can choose to bid for meetings of associations that strongly contribute to the development of these sectors and take a lead in the strategic implementation of the city’s economic development.”

Siverston said the role of associations and the level of expertise on their boards was not only vital in winning conferences and bringing money to the local economy, but a destination’s standing in the professional and scientific worlds was also enhanced.

“All meeting destinations aspire to increase their conversion or bid win rate. In order to achieve this, destinations should undertake ‘smart’ bid strategies. A very effective tool is to engage local leaders with a strong reputation to support their bids,” he said.

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