THE existing marketing model to attract meetings is ābrokenā and destinations must adopt new methods, according to MCI Group COO for Asia-Pacific, Oscar Cerezales.
āCurrent strategies are not client-centric. Corporation and association event planners (have) a completely different approach,ā he said in the new Global Report on the Meeting Industry which was presented by the UN World Tourism Organization at its headquarters in Madrid last Thursday.
Calling for destinations to āreinvent the gameā, Cerezales noted that almost 90 per cent of destination management organisations/convention bureaus ācannot (make) quick decisions as they belong to regional or national tourism bodies… therefore the number of levels of bureaucracy can make decision-making extremely complicatedā.
Cerezales also observed that destinations are still using traditional marketing strategies that āhave not been updated for 20 yearsā with limited use of new technologies or āsmart and social media campaignsā.
He suggested that destinations could develop a brand for meetings and to āposition themselvesā as how the Scandinavian members of ICCA had done by claiming to be the worldās first sustainable meetings region.
There are now too many destination management organisations/convention bureaus, he opined, leading to a āstretching of resources (that) does not provide a high level of efficiencyā.
He also urged destinations to be better funded and more technologically friendly.
According to Cerezales, destinations will eventually become āthe owners of eventsā, a change that will coincide with āan explosion in the number of eventsā that will be āsmaller and more targeted to suit the locality, which often means they fly under the radar of destinations where the focus is big is bestā.
In introducing the report, UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said that with business events accounting for a quarter of travel, it was important that the sector be seen ānot just as a product but a collection of many productsā as it links with other trading sectors in a local economy.