ICCA statistics – make them ROCK!

Yes, I know, statistics are boring and do not rock at all… but please read on because this blog-post is actually all about how to transform dull columns of figures into valuable (and, yes, interesting!) stories that pull in readers and help to reinforce your company’s or destination’s brand image.

The annual publication of the ICCA worldwide country and city rankings by number of meetings, which we publish in May -right before IMEX, is traditionally the basis of ICCA’s annual “PR rush hour”. Not only because of coverage generated by our own news releases, but mainly because many members are effectively using the ICCA ranking as an angle to promote their destination.

It’s a fact: The press loves surveys and statistics. So the ICCA rankings provide a perfect and easy angle for you to use and generate a high free profile for your organisation and your destination in the media, if done correctly.

Let me share some good examples of news releases in which ICCA members are using their new ranking as angle to promote their destination and services. If you are not taking advantage of this opportunity yet, I hope these will inspire you to start doing so! ICCA provides you with an up-to-date press list of approx. 400 international meetings industry contacts, so you have all the tools at your fingertips to make this a success.

Create a story

When looking at the examples it is good to realize this: journalists are not interested in the news fact alone, but in a story with news value. So instead of just communicating the news fact, you should create a story around it that provides a context. This context should typically answer the 5 W’s.

The releases that get the most coverage are the ones that create an interesting and newsworthy story around a news fact.

ICCA member releases: the first

Brazil was the first to spread their good news of climbing from 9th place in 2010 to 7th in 2011. This article was posted on the day we sent the rankings to them (9 May!):
Brasil sobe no ranking de eventos internacionais e ocupa 7° lugar (Spanish)

Germany, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Amsterdam were also very much on top of it and eager to spread the news. One day later (10 May) for example this article was posted:
Germany number two worldwide as a convention destination

Create your own regional or alternative rankings

Create your own national or regional ranking to create a story:
Melbourne is number one in Australia for international conventions
Vancouver tops convention list
ICCA poll sees NewcastleGateshead move up in international meetings sector

If you are not as big as the others, you have to get creative to make the news:
Gdańsk amongst the 10 bigget risers in the statistics of the ICCA

We used specific rankings ourselves to promote our ICCA Congress as well:
Puerto Rico jumps in international ranking of association meetings

Some other good examples:

Berlin maintains its position in the top four ICCA rankings

Some smart PR for profiling the London Mayor, using the ICCA rankings as an angle:
Mayor drives London into world’s top-10 of international convention destinations

How a convention center uses the country and city ranking to raise their profile:
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre contributed to Malaysia’s and Kuala Lumpur’s higher ICCA ranking in 2011

How Japan uses the ranking to illustrate their recovery:
‘Surprisingly fast’ post-quake recovery spurs Japan to growth

In an article about Vienna’s ranking there is sensationally referred to a “Bombshell at ceremony for 2011 congress organizers at City Hall”, tying in their number one city ranking with a ceremony held at the City Hall by the City of Vienna to honor Vienna’s 2011 congress organisers:
Vienna is No1 world-wide in congresses – city honors organizers

Combine the ICCA statistics with your own local statistics

This makes your story even stronger:
Singapore reigns as Asia’s Top Convention City for the tenth consecutive year
Prague rises in the international congress rankings

Take it to the next level and do a smashing encore!

Last year, the Istanbul CVB organised a “Lucky 7” branded PR campaign at IMEX to celebrate their climb from 17th position in 2009 to 7th in 2010, which provided a huge profile for Istanbul and Turkey and I think serves as an already classic case study example of how to take your PR efforts related to this subject to the next level.

A specially designed “Lucky 7” logo was used in adverts, on invitations, news releases, at the stand and on badges worn by the representatives, and ICVB and Turkish Airlines organised a “Lucky 7” party which drew hundreds of guests to the Turkey stand. ICCA President Arnaldo Nardone and several Turkish officials of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and of the Consul General of Turkey in Frankfurt were invited to attend the party and to raise the profile. As a part of the “Lucky 7” party, seven lucky guests received a holiday package that includes round-trip tickets to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines, 2 nights free accommodation at Istanbul’s best hotels, and city tours and airport transfers provided by leading Turkish DMCs.

See also: ICVB Celebrated Istanbul’s 7th ranking with a special event

The influence of social media

A note on the influence of social media: In order to give our members advanced notice and some time to prepare for any questions they might get from journalists plus an opportunity to have the news scoop instead of ICCA, we always provide members with the full 2011 country and city rankings one week before we go public with them; we sent the full rankings to members on 9 May and on 16 May we sent a news release to the meetings industry media (using the ICCA Press Database) and published them on our social networks.

For the first time this year, we noticed a big difference in the speed by which the news got out to non-member media: After we initially sent out the new rankings to members only, they immediately started posting the news about their ranking on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, especially if it was good news of course.

James Rees, Director of Conference & Events of ExCel London for example, posted this news about the biggest “Olympic” climber in the top ten (from 14th to 7th place) the minute after he received our email:

As a result, compared to previous years, a lot more journalists from all over the world were contacting me for information about our rankings before we went public with them.

The speed by which the news spread illustrates the quick and transparent nature of Social Media, but it also shows the higher adoption of social media amongst ICCA members and journalists.

Online news monitoring

The above articles have been found using Meltwater News, which allows you to monitor online news sources for specific keywords. The following news sources are monitored:

  • The top 10% of general online news sources as identified by Meltwater News.

Please note that all ICCA members can use the Digital Clipping Service in the My ICCA section to monitor their own online news coverage.

Did I not include your example or did you run into any other good examples? Please share them with us!

4 comments on “ICCA statistics – make them ROCK!

  1. If I may be so bold: you need to remember that when stats likes these are published, we get a news release from everyone in the top 10 or top 20 saying: “Woo-hoo! We are delighted to tell you that Boresville is number 14 in this year’s ranking!”
    That’s not what we are interested in publishing so we never do. What we do is publish a story looking at the overall picture – who is No1? Is it a new leader? Who is the fastest riser? Who has collapsed from No 1 to No 10. So, if you are just somewhere in the list, that fact is not interesting. If, however, you can add to that general league table story by giving us some “colour background” for example, HOW you rose to number three through a new ambassador programme or a new direct marketing campaign or by offering subvention incentives, that story would be a much more interesting addition to the pure data. That will get you a bigger mention even if your numerical achievement is not outstanding.
    Martin Lewis
    CAT Publications

  2. Hi Martin,
    I expect you to be bold and appreciate your comment! ;0)
    You are actually underlining my statement of the “Create a story” paragraph: Journalists are not interested in the news fact alone, but in a story with news value. So instead of just communicating the news fact, ICCA members should create a story around it that provides a context, answering the 5 Ws, and yes, also HOW.
    So we are in fact saying the same thing: The releases that get the most coverage are the ones that create an interesting and newsworthy story around their rankings.
    I tried to list some good examples in this post, and would love to see some good ones you ran into as well!

  3. Pingback: Win! Sex! Crisis! | MeetingsPR.com

  4. Pingback: 5 Reasons why destinations should start taking advantage of their ICCA rankings | MeetingsPR.com

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