Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 24 2014

A Peek Inside The Future Of The Industry’s First CVB Alliance

By David McMillin



As more PCMA planners add new business destinations to their site visit itineraries, the map of the meetings industry is beginning to look very different. However, planners aren’t the only ones who are getting serious about emerging international opportunities. The landscape of convention visitors bureaus is beginning to shift as destinations themselves recognize the importance of attracting conferences.

There’s no better place to see how CVBs are adapting to the changing times than BestCities, an alliance between 10 global destinations committed to consistently raising the bar for CVBs. BestCities recently joined PCMA in Chicago to host a dialogue with a group of global meeting executives. Now in its 15th year as an alliance, Karen Bolinger, Board Chair of BestCities, and CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau, says BestCities recognizes the time is right to reevaluate the organization’s strategic plan.

“There are times when we all wish we had a crystal ball to foretell the future,” Bolinger says. “However, in reality, we have to chart our own destiny, which is why conducting a strategic review at this stage in our development is so important.”

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Welcoming New Names To The BestCities Network

In addition to welcoming new insights from meeting planners about their needs, Bolinger says BestCities is focused on establishing a global footprint in new regions. That footprint is already taking shape with the recent announcement of the Tokyo CVB as a new member of the alliance.

Becoming a member of BestCities isn’t as simple as signing on the dotted line, either.

“The process of recruiting and accepting new partners is an important one for the Alliance and the unanimous agreement from the Board is required to invite a prospective convention bureau to formally apply and to approve a new partner,” Bolinger says.

Asia-Pacific isn’t the only place where the BestCities network will take hold.

“We are currently in discussions with selected CVBs in Latin America who have an emphasis on client service excellence, business focus on international associations and a proven international meetings record.”

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What It Means For Meeting Planners

As the BestCities network shares information and influences the level of CVB professionalism in new parts of the world, it will certainly pay off for the planning community.

“A strong CVB partner can make all the difference when a planner is exploring how to help an organization expand its reach,” Michelle Crowley, Director, Global Development, PCMA, says. “The local and regional expertise is an essential ingredient of knowing how to navigate the business environment and how to effectively communicate with prospective attendees.”

Interested in learning more about BestCities? Click here to see what the network offers meeting planners.

Continue The Conversation

 Are you considering hosting your first meeting outside the US? Most likely, there are plenty of questions swirling in your mind. Go to Catalyst to get helpful tips from your colleagues on going global.

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