This fall, 17 European convention bureaus across the continent announced the formation of a new alliance, designed to pool resources and share best practices to protect market share in the global meetings and convention arena.
This initiative—presently positioned as the European National Convention Bureaux—parallels the leisure consumer-facing Visit Europe consortia of 33 tourism bureaus, operated by the European Travel Commission. The launch date for an official website has not yet been announced.
U.S. bookings for meetings, conventions and incentive travel are coming back strong throughout Europe, as they are in many other long-haul destinations that were also deemed prohibitively expensive during the recession.
“We’re increasing our group sales staff 20% in Europe for 2015,” says Christopher Koleros, area director of sales/marketing, Europe, InterContinental Hotels. “There’s a lot of pent up demand for Europe right now, including secondary markets like Prague and Budapest, because so many groups curtailed their European programs after 2009.”
Therefore, the motivation behind the launch of the new European meetings destination marketing organization (DMO) is two-fold. One is to maintain top-of-mind positioning for Europe as a primary meetings location. With so many emerging destinations from Brazil to New Zealand rising on planners’ radars, it’s paramount for European countries to proactively ensure they remain competitive.