London tops GainingEdge’s international association leadership rankings

Global convention industry consulting firm GainingEdge recently unveiled its second annual report on Leveraging Intellectual Capital of convention destinations, where London topped the destination rankings in terms of the strength of its international association leadership.

London – the city also ranked top in the same report last year – was followed by Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, and New York, indicating these cities are global knowledge hubs with strong influence in international associations.

London (its CBD pictured) is a global knowledge hub with strong influence in international associations

Milos Milovanovic, Head of GainingEdge Analysis and Research, said in a virtual media briefing on Monday: “These five cities are key global knowledge hubs which concentrate over 10 per cent of the total available intellectual capital, with 2,756 local leaders active.”

In addition, destinations that experienced the greatest increase in the influence of their local leaders on boards compared to the previous year were: Sydney with its leaders active in 46 additional boards compared with the previous year, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, both a tie with leaders active in 34 additional boards and Seoul, with leaders active in 28 more boards.

The report also noticed a very high level of correlation between GainingEdge’s intellectual capital rankings and the consulting firm’s International Convention Destination Competitive Index 2021 global rankings. The top 20 cities in terms of intellectual capital are all among the top 30 most competitive destinations in the said Competitiveness Index.

The research underpinning this report identified the relative strengths of 350 destinations in 2021 via the presence of their local intellectual leaders in the governing bodies of international associations that organise large conventions of 500 and more attendees, as well as smaller meetings of between 200 to 499 delegates.

Previously, the inaugural report only looked at large conventions with 500 and more attendees.

Milovanovic said: “This additional data will enable us to do Intellectual Capital Segmentation where we filter the available intellectual capital of each city by the size of the meetings, and also provide insights into the available intellectual capital in the industry sectors the destination is particularly interested in.

“This means that destinations with fewer resources can focus on priority segments and achieve improved results in business development and improve their ‘hubs of excellence’ branding.”

The report also found that among the top 50 cities, three European destinations – Prague, Dublin and Lisbon – led with the highest Harnessing Ratios, which is the correlation between a number of international association meetings hosted or booked over the last four years (2018-2021) and the number of local intellectual leaders on boards of international associations).

In Asia Pacific, Bangkok stood out as the Asia Pacific destination with the highest Harnessing Ratio, while North America had two Canadian cities with high ratios, Montreal and Vancouver.

GainingEdge developed the concept of Harnessing Ratio to help meetings destinations assess how effectively they are leveraging their intellectual capital of local leaders to bid for association meetings and bring business to their shores.

Jon Sivertson, GainingEdge’s CEO, said in a press release: “Cities need to explore who are their local leaders with a strong international reputation, and how to engage them.

“Our Harnessing Ratio provides a great starting point for assessing how to leverage intellectual capital and what action destinations should take to increase its use. By identifying sectors that the destination wants to support and promote, convention bureaus can choose to bid for meetings of associations that strongly contribute to the development of these sectors and take a lead in the strategic implementation of the city’s economic development.”

For example, Italy, ranked fifth in the country/territory Index. The Italian meetings industry recently created the Italian Knowledge Leaders programme. The programme highlights the country’s scientific achievements, and creates a formalised network of professionals elected to run international associations in their business areas and scientific fields.

Tobia Salvadori, director, Convention Bureau Italia, shared at the virtual press events: “We are using Italian knowledge leaders to attract more meetings and congresses to Italy.”

Sivertson concluded: “All meeting destinations aspire to increase their conversion or bid win rate. In order to achieve this, destinations should undertake ‘smart’ bid strategies. A very effective tool is to engage local leaders with a strong reputation to support their bids.”

GainingEdge’s Leveraging Intellectual Capital Report 2021 can be downloaded here.