Conference ambassadors: the art of persuasion

Author: James Lancaster

No convention bureau worthy of the name would be seen dead without its own ambassador programme. But why are they so important? James Lancaster reports….

The vital role played by ambassadors in attracting international meetings was thrown into sharp relief when proposed budget cuts put the future of Edinburgh’s own advocate progamme into doubt.

More than 75 academics wrote to the city’s councillors asking them to rethink an 89 per cent cut to promotional agency Marketing Edinburgh, which would have made bidding for events harder.

In the end, councillors agreed to reinstate a large chunk of the budget, giving the convention bureau and its ambassadors a stay of execution on the proviso a new business model was found.

Ambassadors play a key role in helping destinations secure international association meetings.

These influential figures – from academia, science, medicine, and business – don’t just lend a bit of superficial gravitas to a city’s bid document but play a leading role in the bidding itself.

They form an important bridge between destination marketing organisations, or convention bureaux, and the sometimes hard-to-penetrate world of not-for-profit organisations.

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