Ambassador programmes can return investment 50-fold

Conference Ambassador Programmes are growing in almost every corner of the world and can lead to a 50-fold return on investment, according to a new study by Tony Rogers of Tony Rogers Conference and Event Services and Sue Beverley of CHS Group. The research records a 67 per cent increase (over 2010 figures) in destinations interested in running a Conference Ambassador Programme despite a small decrease in staff size.

The new study results were revealed from Rogers and Beverley’s latest global research into Conference Ambassador Programmes at a conference for UK destinations known as GANG (Great Ambassador Networking Group).

The GANG conference (pictured) was held at Cambridge University 27 March.

The research included data from 46 participating convention bureaux and related organisations.

Fresh information was generated on volume, value, method of recruitment, key sectors, major wins and benefits to an organisation and to an Ambassador, as well as identifying potential future trends in such programmes.

Some destinations reported upwards of £10m worth of economic benefit from relatively small marketing budget investments of £10,000-£20,000.

Other specific findings include:

? Programmes are targeting international association congresses, followed by regional association congresses

?  A new area is the development of corporate ambassadors, identified as important by 17 per cent of respondents

? Pharmaceutical, technology and financial services are the key sectors for ambassador programmes

? On average, almost 60 per cent of ambassadors are drawn from academia and 30 per cent from hospitals and the medical sector

? Emerging trends include the recruitment of overseas-based ambassadors and the alignment of ambassador recruitment to a destination’s core competencies and principal economic sectors.

Judith Sloane, Deputy Manager at Conference Cambridge, said the research was “vital to the industry as it enables us to understand what our colleagues are doing worldwide and also to disseminate best practice”.

The research is a follow-up to research undertaken in 2010 and Beverley said: “We had responses from every corner of the globe, including Canberra, Sydney, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Vancouver, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. From our work with destinations we knew that Conference Ambassador Programmes have grown tremendously over the last four years and this research helps us to work with destinations and identify key success criteria.”

Conference Ambassador Programmes are typically run by convention bureaux and aim to bring Association conferences to a region by working in partnership with key ‘Ambassadors’ from businesses, hospitals and universities in that area. They have seen a surge in popularity over recent years as destinations strive to compete for the lucrative Association sector events and recognise the value of working with Ambassadors from their destination to help bid for and secure conventions and major events.
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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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