We asked the leading industry experts for their thoughts on destination marketing and bidding
Q: What makes a successful destination marketing campaign?
I believe that a successful destination marketing campaign needs to be carefully planned and properly executed. Increasing the awareness or image of a destination takes time and involves many stakeholders. I don’t believe in large fancy advertisements with great images. They do help but successful destination marketing needs much more. The campaign needs to last at least a year and should include quality content in terms of destination specialties which are not connected only to our business.
Q: What can your destination offer event organisers that other destinations cannot?
There are thousands of destinations in Europe, not even looking overseas. I love this industry as we are not direct competitors such as in many other industries. Each product or destination consists of so many small parts or experiences, if you prefer that word, that we are not talking here what we have, and others don’t. Our set of hardware and software topped by genuine Slovenian professional and hospitality is unique. So is the one in other destinations. We should believe in us and deliver the highest possible quality of services and experiences.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a good convention bureau?
Good Convention Bureau should breathe with its destination and its stakeholders. Its main job is to unite the destination and promote it on the market. Stakeholders should respect its Convention Bureau and support it in its activities and development. Convention Bureau is the spokesperson of the industry on the destination level. It is also a strong partner between suppliers and clients. Good Convention Bureau needs also good and long-term funding.
Q: How do you prepare a successful bid?
Successful bid consists of hard work but also luck. Deep analysing of the request for proposal, defining goals, careful studying of the history of the event, identifying stakeholders and its roles and wins, analysing competitors, putting the best possible bid with your own extras and last but not least, the lobbying.
Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid?
As stated before, goals have to be clearly stated and then stakeholders identified who will contribute to the best possible outcome. The winning team should consist at least of a local ambassador, convention bureau, PCO and congress centre/congress hotel.
Q: Latest stories of success?
I don’t want to name the event but will tell a short story. A year ago, I met a very important Professor. I wanted to present him the role of a Convention Bureau as he did not know us. He proudly presented his successful international conference that he organised many many years ago. He said that was it and never again. After the presentation of our Convention Bureau with a long list of services including professional support in all the stages supported by the strong network of partners, he decided to bid again. Even though we were not successful the first year he decided to try again and next year we were successful by winning large international association congress. This professor is now our great supporter.
Q: What always makes you smile?
Honest, skilled, professional but relaxed people.