Can aligning a conference with its venue’s local ‘knowledge’ elevate the impact and long-term value of the event? Well, according to the latest UK Events Report, it can; with destination sector alignment seen as one of the top trends in conference bidding and planning.
However, this approach is not new. Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau’s business events manager, Karen Tocher, explains why connecting the ‘global with the local’ can make all the difference and, ultimately, set your destination apart from the rest.
Knowing the value of your location – not just in terms of commerce and venue space, but the equity in its specific ‘knowledge economy’ – is an important aspect of any destination marketing.
Universities, research centres, educational institutes, industry/business hubs, and teaching hospitals all add significant and tangible value to a destination. And when it comes to bidding for conferences, conventions, and events, they are at the heart of what our destination can offer.
By aligning our ‘local’ strengths with an association meeting’s ‘global’ perspective, we can create events that have the potential to be truly special and develop collaborations and connections that remain long after the conference itself.
According to the UK Events Report, compiled by the Business Visits and Events Partnership, conferences and events not only facilitate trade and attract inward investment. They also ‘disseminate knowledge and showcase innovation’, while bringing cultural, social, and commercial benefits to local communities and businesses.
But it doesn’t – and shouldn’t - stop there.
When bidding for a conference, there are also opportunities to align the ‘global with the local’ to create collaborative legacies that go beyond an event and its physical location.
The Canadian city of Quebec has used its prominence as a life sciences centre of excellence to boost its own science industry. Its 2022-25 conference programme currently lists at least 24 national and international conferences linked to life sciences and health technologies. As well as the opportunity for wider research and knowledge-sharing collaborations, this focus on scientific conferences is also set to boost the city post-Covid, by bringing in an estimated $21m for the local economy.
With a reputation for science and technology innovation and academic research, the region of Dundee, Angus, Fife, and Perthshire is also perfectly positioned to build on similar global collaboration.
And our Pathfinder initiative – which brings together renowned academics, industry professionals and knowledge experts to attract progressive conferences and events to the region – is leading the way. The collaborative approach of Pathfinders also enables us to showcase pioneering and innovative thinking that can benefit individuals and communities, both here and around the world.
One of the most lasting legacies of a conference is the networks and connections you make, not just between like-minded individuals or groups, but in the wider sphere. And these connections can ultimately result in international partnerships that drive forward knowledge and discovery.
A recent example is DACB Pathfinder partner, the James Hutton Institute, which has developed a partnership with the Utah State University. The two leading universities are now collaborating on agricultural and environmental research, with a crucial emphasis on climate change.
One in five of the world’s scientific papers are currently co-authored internationally. And it is the opportunity to network, connect, scrutinise, and collaborate through conferences and events that can make the exchange of academic research and innovation so much easier to coordinate.
A collaboration between the James Hutton Institute and the China Agriculture University is just one example from the Dundee, Angus, Fife, and Perthshire conference region. Published earlier this year, the joint paper, which highlights interactions of bacteria, fungi, and roots for plant nutrition, could now be used to boost the sustainability of crops around the globe.
Ideas that transcend borders
At their best, conferences and events are also natural ‘marketplaces’ for ideas, creating a fertile ‘cross boundaries’ environment for exploration and discovery.
And the field of science and technology is just one area of academic and entrepreneurial endeavour that can be elevated by the collaboration and innovation that is at the heart of the international conference culture.
In short, by creating a synergy between a client’s vision for their event and the location’s ‘on the ground’ expertise, you can foster meaningful collaborations that can have a far-reaching impact on shared knowledge, research, collective thinking, and innovation at home and around the world.
And this is where the lasting global collaborative value, for both client and conference destination, truly lies.