What Brisbane can learn from the U.S associations industry
Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau’s Kylie McKenzie recently returned from attending the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Dallas where she was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the U.S association and business event market.
Ms McKenzie said she was impressed by the city’s effort in hosting the 6000 delegates who attended the event, seen as the “Superbowl” of the association industry.
“Dallas really came together to showcase the best of the city – even lighting up an entire 1001 room purpose-built hotel with a large sign to welcome ASAE delegates,” Ms McKenzie said.
“It was obvious how important business events are to the economy of the city and I was impressed by the united front Dallas businesses displayed in leaving a lasting impression on visitors.”
Ms McKenzie said the ASAE Meeting and Expo also provided unique insights into the U.S industry and the fact that, similar to Brisbane, its convention market is growing, and both markets will benefit from increasing infrastructure.
“Like us, the U.S is very focussed on the Asian market – particularly China and India, but my feeling is that Australia has an advantage due to our location, time zone and existing relationships,” Ms McKenzie said.
And it seems Brisbane’s brand exposure is working well in the U.S - Ms McKenzie reported that nearly all of the delegates she encountered had heard of Australia’s new world city.
While in America, Ms McKenzie also took part in the Associations Forum Annual Study Tour which included two days of direct meetings with six major American associations in Washington DC.
The tour was part of the 2011 Association of Australian Convention Bureau (AACB) Vin Barron Staff Scholarship which Ms McKenzie won ahead of seven other finalists from Bureaux around Australia.
The scholarship which is in its 16th year is jointly sponsored by Business Events Australia, Qantas and AACB Inc.
“The study tour showcased some of America’s largest associations – many with boards of over 500 directors - the infrastructure and operations of these organisations was enormous," she said.
“Due to their sheer size, these associations also have significant advocacy and government-relations programs, which can have a huge impact on consumers."
“Overall, I found there is much goodwill from Americans to Australians and given our open trade agreement, I think we will continue to benefit from that relationship.”