Harmony in Business Tourism: Unlocking Success Through Collaborative Destination Strategies


Collaboration, a sense of common purpose, and shared leadership are fundamental to the success of attracting international meetings to a destination. In the dynamic landscape of the meetings industry, we understand that the collaborative talents of a destination are key to winning a congress bid and successfully implementing its delivery. Comparatively, if the MICE market were a computer, the conference product would be the hardware. However, what sets a destination apart is its software—the collaborative approach it takes to driving the business tourism strategy.

This talent and joint-up thinking emanate from the cohesive efforts of the main stakeholders of a city. Cities that present a united front, with collaboration among venues, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, convention bureaus, tourism agencies, and city officials, are often more streamlined and conducive to work within.


Together, these stakeholders strategically plan the business mix for their city, addressing key issues to enhance its status as a congress destination. By combining their talents, sharing experiences and knowledge, they aim to enhance the overall visitor/client experience. When cities are run like a business—efficient, collaborative, and competitive—each stakeholder group operates as a department in a company. Effective communication and knowledge-sharing among these departments lead to informed decision-making and contribute to the city’s strategic direction.

The convention bureaux and the trade of a city (venues, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, etc.) are at the forefront of selling in a global industry. They maintain constant contact with prospective and repeat clients, understanding the needs of end-users and staying informed about offerings in competing cities. Acting as champions of potential clients, they play a crucial role in improving the competitive position of the city. This knowledge-sharing occurs through working groups, task forces, business tourism forums, and annual conferences, forming the basis for decision-making processes and implementation planning.

The value of the “ease of doing business” in a city cannot be underestimated. On a micro level, it is the collective efforts of the people on the ground—the trade of a city, including sales teams in venues, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, and the convention bureau—that influences end-user decisions. The convention bureau, as the neutral party representing the destination, serves as the core of this network and support mechanism, ensuring the successful delivery of congresses through a well-informed, trained, and experienced delivery team.


Placing the convention bureau at the core of the support network emphasizes the importance of not “going it alone.” By maximizing the potential of the talent pool and leveraging the network’s experience, confidence is instilled in the end client that their congress will be well-supported, objectives met, and delegates provided with an enhanced learning experience while enjoying the city to its full potential.

Support for the client extends beyond connecting them with the talent network and service providers. The PCO and convention bureaus also serve as the client’s link to what we term the “Triple Helix”: city and government officials, academia representing the knowledge economy, and the corporates of the city providing financial support for the congress. Successful engagement across these sectors influences the client’s decision to consider the bid and eventually award the congress.

A destination’s commitment to collaboration results in energized engagement, improved vision, and the recognition of opportunities. The collective energy of stakeholders working in harmony translates strategies into actionable project plans with clear responsibilities. Successes and failures are identified, well-understood, and communicated to all stakeholders, generating excitement for the future and overcoming the inertia of the status quo.

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