• Canoas amarradas a un pantalán en un pantano antes de realizar un Evento de Team Building
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APPENDIX B: AGENCIES & INTERMEDIARIES IN THE EVENT INDUSTRY

INTRODUCTION

The structure of the Event Tourism industry and particularly the MICE industry within it may become puzzling and complex. Table B.2 shows the MICE matrix illustrating the segments which according to Rogers (2003) “make up, the business tourism sector” (p.23):

Meetings : An out-of-office meeting of at least 6 hours’ duration involving a minimum of 8 people. Includes sales meetings, training, board meetings and retreats, AGMs.

Incentive travel : A business tourism trip to motivate and reward employees and dealers, usually containing a conference element.


Conferences : Typically 1 or 2 days’ duration with a formal programme that has been promoted in advance. Delegates are often compelled to attend.

Exhibitions : Product launches, attendance as an exhibitor at trade and consumer shows organized by specialist exhibition organizers or trade associations. Also attendance as a corporate visitor (‘buyer’) at trade shows.

Corporate events
(previously Known as corporate hospitality) : Hosted entertainment at major sporting events, concerts and other high-profile functions, and/or participation in sporting or outdoor pursuits-type activities



Table B1 “MICE matrix
 -illustrating the segments which make up the business tourism sector”
 Rogers (2003 p.23)

    ‘‘Agency is a generic term used to describe a range of different organizations that are both suppliers and buyers. They undertake a buying role on behalf of their clients, who may be companies or associations. They act as intermediaries or middle-men, and can be contracted to assist in the planning and running of a conference or similar event.’’ Rogers (2003 p. 50)
Meeting, conference or similar event planners could either be employees of the buyer agency i.e. company or association, or they could be intermediaries- employees of agencies specialised in organising such events on behalf of clients (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 pp.113-114). These intermediaries who ‘‘undertake a buying role on behalf of their clients’’ (Rogers, 2003 p. 50; Davidson & Beulah, 2003 pp.113-114) may be companies, associations or any other type of initiator of conferences, meetings or similar events (Rogers, 2003 p. 50; Davidson & Beulah, 2003 pp.113-114). Such event planners represent one type of intermediary: those working on behalf of the buyers. But there is another type of intermediary: those working on behalf of the suppliers, in the sense of the destinations and venues where such events are held (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 pp.113-114).

INTERMEDIARIES WORKING ON BEHALF OF BUYERS

According to Davidson & Beulah (2003 p.114) travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, public relations companies, and production houses are among the many types of agencies that will occasionally undertake the task of finding a venue and planning all or part of the event on behalf of the client. In this section, however, only those intermediaries and agencies that actually specialise in planning meetings will be examined.

Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs)

    “The PCO acts as the project manager for the whole event, as well as, from time to time, a consultant advising on aspects such as communications techniques, marketing and public relations, tax and insurance’’
Davidson & Beulah (2003 p.114) 

The range of services offered by a PCO can extend to ‘‘as little or as much as the client requires’’ Davidson & Beulah (2003 p.114-115): venue selection, booking and liaison; event marketing; assistance to conference bids; finance consultancy (pre-finance, sponsorship, exhibitions, loans, registration fees); arranging social events etc (Rogers, 2003 p. 50-51; Davidson & Beulah, 2003 p.114-115). In the UK, the Association of British Professional Conference Organizers (ABPCO), ‘‘works towards increasing standards of professionalism throughout the meetings industry, as well as towards increasing the volume and value of the business being won by its members through a range of marketing activities’’ Davidson & Beulah (2003 p.115) 

Destination Management Companies (DMCs)

For Davidson & Beulah (2003) DMCs, or ground handlers, generally based at the destination where the event is to take place, are key intermediaries who operate separately from official authorities ‘‘whose strength lies in their extensive and detailed knowledge of the destination where the meetings event is to be held’ (p.114). Rogers (2003 p. 55) points out that such ‘‘specialist ground handlers’’ (p. 55) operate in the incentive travel market. However, goes on Rogers (2003 p.55) they may also provide services to conferences organizers, especially when a meeting conference or similar event is being organized overseas.

    “A DMC is a local service organization that provides consulting services, creative events and exemplary management of logistics based on an in-depth knowledge of the destination and the needs of the incentive and motivation markets’’
Rogers (2003 p.55)

The services they provide range from finding accommodation for delegates or organizing all grounds of local transport arrangements to suggest exciting pre-conference and post-conference tours and excursions; ‘‘in short take care of all local arrangements essential to the success of the event’’ (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 p.114).

    ‘‘DMCs are expected to develop tailor-made programmes within budget for their clients. They need to be innovative, and provide an experience that will give the participants an insight into a country or region that will be beyond the reach of the normal visitor or holidaymaker’’
Rogers (2003 p. 56)
DMCs often work in collaboration or partnership with PCOs or meeting planners who have been given responsibility for the overall organisation of the event (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 p.114).

Incentive Travel Houses

The specialized nature of the incentive sector has led to the growth of specialized agencies in the field, generally known as Incentive Travel Houses (Rogers 2003, p.52-54). Incentive Travel Houses are, therefore, specialized providers of Incentive Travel as a management tool used to motivate and/or recognize participants for increased levels of performance in support of the organizational goals (Rogers, 2003).

The Incentive Travel and Meetings Association (ITMA) is the trade association for companies involved in the organization of corporate events, including meetings, product launches and travel incentives (Rogers, 2003 p.231-232)
It was funded as the Incentive Travel Association for the UK in 1985, changing to ITMA in 1991. Another association in the sector is the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives (SITE) “Founded in 1973, the SITE is a worldwide organization of business professionals dedicated to the recognition and development of motivational and performance improvement strategies of which travel is a key component.” Rogers (2003 p. 238)

INTERMEDIARIES WORKING ON BEHALF OF SUPPLIERS

The tourism destination comprises a number of elements that combine to attract visitors (Pechlaner & Abfalter, 2005) yet, go on Pechlaner & Abfalter, it is nevertheless true that ‘‘destinations are the real competitive factors within the tourism industry’’ (p.43).

    ‘‘Although the factors that attract tourists to a destination in the first place may vary, it is important to note that the actual product they are experiencing is a place, a town, a city or a country.’’
Pechlaner & Abfalter (2005, p.43)
Rogers (2003) states ‘‘Buyers purchase location first and foremost’’ (p.106). Along the same lines Davidson & Beulah (2003) observes the ‘‘the tendency for buyers to consider individual venues only after they have first chosen the destination for their event’’ (p.117). Hence, go on Davidson & Beulah (2003) ‘‘suppliers such as conference centres and hotels must ensure that the countries and cities in which they are located are presented prominently and positively in the meetings market’’ (p.117).

    ‘‘To reach, maintain, defend their competitive position on the global market, tourist destinations need to use methods and tools that guarantee the management of a destination in the future in terms of quality, value and sustainability’’
Pechlaner & Abfalter (2005, p.43)

In this framework, organizations such as DMOs and NTOs play a decisive role. Destination marketing is undertaken at both, local and national levels- that is, DMOs representing cities or counties, for example and national tourism organizations (NTOs) representing nations (Rogers, 2003 p. 108).

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO)

With this respect, Davidson & Beulah (2003, p.117) report:

    “A number of organisations exist at various geographical scales to bring destinations to the attention of potential buyers and the intermediaries working on their behalf. With titles such as convention and visitor bureau, convention bureau or conference desk, these organisations represent the destination in the market place, offering buyers a one-stop enquiry point” Davidson & Beulah (2003, p.117)

    “Convention and visitor bureaux provide a range of services, many free of charge, to conference organizers and meeting planners. They aim to offer a one-stop enquiry point for their destination, with impartial advice and assistance.’’ Rogers (2003 p. 111)
Davidson & Beulah (2003, p. 117) cite Tony Rogers, executive director of the British Association of Conferences Destinations who emphasises that the role of these intermediaries is to sell the destination, highlighting all its strengths and facilities, generating and converting enquiries into confirmed business. Rogers (2003) goes on to point out:

    ‘‘[DMOs in the UK] are set up as not-for-profit organizations, controlled by a management board, to fulfil a strategic management role and be the ‘official’ voice of the destination they represent’’
Rogers (2003 p.108)

Many cities and regions have created destination marketing services. For example, Davidson & Beulah (2003 p. 118) quote the 1999 survey of the Meetings Industry Association (MIA), which found that 82% of UK local tourists authorities had established dedicated conference marketing organisations.
As mentioned at the beginning of this epigraph, these organisations are most commonly known as convention bureaux (Davidson & Beulah 2003, p. 119). The former authors quote Greaves (1998 p.38) describing UK convention bureaux:
    ‘‘The overwhelming majority of convention bureaux now offer a wide range of services, including suggesting conference venues and incentive ideas, making hotel reservations, recommending restaurants, sending out destination manuals and organising familiarisation trips for both agents and corporate buyers. Two-thirds also promote their services and destinations on a dedicated web site.’’

Greaves, S (1998) ‘Competing for business’. Conference and Incentive Travel, September; quoted in Davidson & Beulah (2003 p. 119)

As a current example within the UK, the Scottish Tourist Board (STB) through the Visit Scotland Business Tourism Unit (BTU) releases a seasonal Visit Scotland Business Tourism Newsletter which is available at http://www.conventionscotland.com offering a wide range of services, including suggesting conference venues and incentive ideas, making hotel reservations, recommending restaurants and Team building Event services amongst others.

According to Davidson & Beulah (2003, p. 119), in Europe, local destination marketing has traditionally been undertaken directly by local or regional governments. However, in most European countries it is commonly accepted that convention bureaux effectively depend on a ‘‘positive public and private sector partnership’’ (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 p.119; Rogers, 2003 p.108), underpinned by adequate public funding. In the UK, the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) whose 1999 survey is quoted in Davidson & Beulah (2003) estimates that ‘‘60% of the bureaux are joint public and private sector funded, while the rest are funded entirely by local government’’ (p.120).

Ultimately, Davidson & Beulah (2003) observe that although individual destinations are in competition with each other in the meetings market ‘‘most understand that they have common objectives and share concerns that can be best addressed through a cooperative and collaborative structure’’ (p.119).

In the UK, the Meetings Industry Association and the British Association of Conference Destinations whose executive director’s academic work has been largely studied and quoted throughout the literature review for this research, are amongst the most significant British associations of DMOs (Davidson & Beulah (2003, pp.120-121 y 274). For Europe, the European Federation of Conference Towns has members from 34 countries (Davidson & Beulah, 2003 pp.121).

National tourist organizations (NTOs)

As Rogers (2003) points out, most countries in the world now have ‘‘some form of NTO, publicly funded, established for promotional activities to the international tourism industry’’ (p. 60). Such bodies go on Rogers (2003) are ‘‘primarily concerned with marketing, but some may also fulfil a lobbying and representational role’’ (p.60).

    ‘‘As well as promoting their countries to the leisure market, many NTOs also target business tourism buyers and intermediaries’’ Davidson & Beulah (2003, p.117)

For Davidson & Beulah (2003) there is ‘‘clear evidence that a growing number of NTOs are putting more time and effort into marketing their countries as destinations for business tourism activities, often acting as the link between buyers and local convention bureaux or DMCs’’ (p.117). The NTOs with their specialised units operating within the UK are: the British Tourist Authority (BTA); VisitScotland and Scottish Convention Bureau (SCB); the Welsh Tourist Board (WTB) and Welsh Tourist Board Business Travel Unit.