ICCA statistics are just one option when ranking cities

Using key global city rankings to help your destination stand out in the meetings industry

ICCA has partnered with our friends (and ICCA Congress speakers) Greg Clark and Tim Moonen at The Business of Cities to share with ICCA members their comprehensive analysis of the most useful and insightful global cities rankings.

Next week marks the release of ICCA’s eagerly awaited and widely promoted annual city and country rankings based on the number of rotating international association meetings hosted. This additional city ranking resource demonstrates that there are numerous alternative approaches to the analysis of competitive position and performance!

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How can destinations take advantage of their ICCA rankings?


2 golden stars

It’s time to take advantage of your ICCA ranking! ICCA’s 2015 country and city rankings will be published on 17 May at noon CET.

Your destination’s ranking in the ICCA Statistics reflects your position in the international association meetings market and offers some very valuable PR opportunities which you should not miss out on.

Here are 5 reasons why you should start taking PR-advantage of the new ICCA rankings: Continue reading

ICCA announces Best PR Award 2015 shortlist

ICCA announced the shortlist for this year’s ICCA Best PR Award, who will share their PR campaigns as examples of good practice at the 54th ICCA Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The shortlisted 2015 ICCA Best PR Award candidates are (in alphabetical order):

  • Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC)’s campaign to generate an international profile for Brisbane as a centre of science and research excellence around hosting the G20 Leaders Summit
  • Dubai Business Events, for its PR strategy to position Dubai as a new destination for associations and business events
  • Glasgow City Marketing Bureau’s PR strategy based on partnership with their clients to support their events and showcase the city to potential clients
  • Greater Bogota Convention Bureau for their PR campaign supporting the bid for the One Young World Summit
  • London & Partners for their ‘Love the event & Love the experience’ campaign

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Johanna Fischer

Preparing for PR Award 2015 – looking at ICCA members’ press releases

This Meetings PR blog looks to inspire and help ICCA members to improve their PR and content marketing efforts for better commercial gain and success.

Obviously you as a reader are interested in what is good and smart PR in the meetings industry!

The PR award panel currently works on identifying ICCA members with  ‘good’ PR, to nominate them for the ICCA PR Award during the Congress in Buenos Aires. I’d like to share some analysis and aspects that I come across during the process, in this blog.

To see what kind of ‘stories’ are presented in the associations community, my team and I did an analysis of press releases published on the ICCA members press releases section on the ICCA website during the month of July 2015:

We have looked at a total of 48 press releases, which we viewed one-by-one, categorized them and would like to share some findings with you. Continue reading

“The meetings industry is bad at PR”

(Not many people understand the importance of an impactful headline, for example!)

ICCA Best PR Award Judging Panel stresses the importance of storytelling in the digital age and adds Johanna Fischer of tmf dialogue marketing as a chairperson and moderator.

Digital and social channels are rapidly changing the field of PR. However, the core values of effective PR remain the same: Both traditional PR and social- and content marketing are about the art of getting others to talk about you in order to amplify and spread your message, and using creative storytelling to achieve this goal.

The ICCA Best PR Award, which was set up in 2012 with ICCA Business Partner International Meetings Review (IMR), aims to increase the PR efforts of ICCA members, the main suppliers to the international meetings industry.

Johanna Fischer

Johanna Fischer

Johanna Fischer is the Managing Director of tmf dialogue marketing, which provides marketing and PR services to ICCA members and has been an ICCA member for almost 10 years. Ms. Fischer will not only be part of the judging panel, but she will also be moderating a session on best practices in PR at the ICCA Congress, in which the Best PR Award finalists share their PR cases with ICCA members: “Great PR builds on the best combination of meetings journalism and marketing/sales driven stories. There is lots of new education for meeting professionals in how social media and a variety of communication channels can work and interact with each other to reach the final goal – marketing and “selling” your meeting product.”

Martin Lewis, Managing Editor at CAT Publications and Chairman of IMR’s Editorial Advisory Board said: “We believe the meetings industry could be much better at PR. By finding and sharing strong case studies of ICCA members’ activities we hope to increase the PR efforts of the whole meetings industry. PR is all about being creative and finding angles to create a story that engages readers, and which communicates your key messages and brand values. The same principles apply to digital PR.” Continue reading

5 Reasons why destinations should take PR advantage of their ICCA rankings

Paris proud number one for 2013

It’s time to take advantage of your ICCA ranking! ICCA’s 2014 country and city rankings will be published again right before IMEX (See release dates). Your destination’s ranking in the ICCA Statistics reflects your position in the international association meetings market and offers some very valuable PR opportunities which you should not miss out on.

Here are 5 reasons why you should start preparing your PR activities around the new ICCA rankings NOW: Continue reading

Remember your Ps


Public relations is about credibility. To have an objective third-party (the media) talk about your product (destination, venue) – even if what is being said is not entirely positive – is to achieve a kind of validity that lies beyond the reach of advertising. That’s why PR firms can charge those eye-watering retainers. That’s why businesses with deep pockets don’t think twice about paying them.

But the meetings industry is not entirely awash with money. There are plenty of convention centres, PCOs and convention bureaux that don’t have limitless cash to splash. What then? Well, now I’m going to let you into one of those little secrets that you probably knew already: Public relations is not rocket science.

The same could be said about journalism, of course. The thing is, just because something is not rocket science doesn’t mean you can’t mess it up. And it doesn’t mean those PR firms who get results for their clients are necessarily over-charging. It can take a lot of patience, hard work, and – yes – skill to do relative simple things exceedingly well. It’s much easier to be half-arsed about it.
As a journalist I receive dozens of press releases every day. I don’t really think about it now, but subconsciously I’m looking for the three Ps. Point (or Purpose), People, and Pictures.

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Win! Sex! Crisis!

The word “win” is like the word “sex” or “crisis”: It is an attention grabber.

Even though the actual meeting itself is usually years away, given the long lead-time of association meetings, winning a bid is a great PR opportunity, which probably not enough members are making full use of.

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“The meetings industry is lousy when it comes to PR”*

*Unofficial comment by some of ICCA’s media members.

No better way to kick off this blog than with a great Clapton (or of course Robert Johnson) song:

And here’s why: Don’t worry, I did not sell my soul to the devil or anything like that (see interpretation of Cross Roads Blues), but I sort of arrived at a crossroads when preparing a presentation about PR for the ICCA Research, Sales and Marketing Programme 2011 in Gdansk, Poland.

Share my personal PR 2.0 learning experience

I have been creating and executing ICCA’s PR Plans for a couple of years now and with good results: ICCA has gotten much more coverage and general profile over the years. But still I had the feeling I could do more and that my PR activities were just a side job next to my main activities related to IT projects, web development and ICCA statistics. So here I was in Gdansk talking about all these great methods for conducting successful PR and I realised I was actually not taking maximum benefit of these myself and that there was a lot more for me to learn.

Moreover, when I did a session at the recent 50th ICCA Congress in Leipzig together with ICCA’s media members Alexandra Yeomans of CIM Australasia, Roger Kellerman and Atti Soenarso of Meetings International and Christine Fuchs of TW Magazine called “Fundamentals of PR and implications of modern technology and social media” I realised I also had to become more serious about using the new “PR 2.0” tools, and that ICCA members are very interested to learn more about these and about social media in the meetings industry in general.

To just start using a PR 2.0 tool myself and to create a platform for sharing my PR 2.0 experiences in the meetings industry, starting this blog seemed like a very logical step to take.

Help ICCA members to be more successful in their PR efforts

But apart from sharing my personal learning experience this blog also serves another, much bigger, purpose. I have heard a number of ICCA media members say over the years (at unofficial occasions, usually over a couple of drinks) that the meetings industry is lousy when it comes to PR. And as it is one of ICCA’s strategic goals to enable its members to generate and maintain a significant competitive edge in their PR efforts, we have created some very useful PR tools of which I am convinced they can help ICCA members to improve their PR and social media activities. This blog also serves to promote these tools, and I also hope to frequently use the knowledge of some experienced ICCA media members to share their advise.

The PR revolution

It is a given fact that the new live, interactive Web or web 2.0 or whatever you want to call is forcing a revolution in PR activities and has made the traditional definition of PR invalid: traditional PR used to be all about media relations instead of direct consumer communication. This can be quite confusing and I think a clear distinction has to be made.

Media relations is all about trying to get the endorsement of editors and journalists to write about your subject, which means your story needs to have a news value or you need to get creative and find another way of being newsworthy.
The way in which you conduct PR activities to get your message across through media is very different than getting your message across to your target audience directly through social media and blog tools.

The Live and interactive web makes it so easy to reach out to consumers directly, that PR 2.0 seems to be more about direct relations with your target group than about media relations.

The majority of posts on this blog will be related to media relations, but I will also frequently post articles on direct consumer relations (in which social media plays a major role).

Social media for events

Another big focus of this blog will be on social media for events. The meetings industry is still in its early stages of adopting social media tools in the organisation of events. Together with ICCA’s Social Media Executive Raphael Kamp I am responsible for ICCA’s social media activities and I hope that by sharing our experiences in this field with our members, we can learn form eachother.

This blog is especially focussing on PR by ICCA and ICCA members and will contain case studies and tips & tricks on new technology and social media tools which could help ICCA members in their PR 2.0 efforts.

I hope you will enjoy reading it and find it usefull!

What topics would you like this blog to cover?

Are there any specific topics you would like to know more about and that you would like me to cover? Any questions related to media relations or social media in general, to ICCA’s Press Database or Digital Clipping Service, to PR opportunities at the ICCA Congress, PR opportunities related to your country or city ranking in the ICCA statistics, etc.? Please share and leave a comment by clicking the text balloon on top of this post!