臺灣會展領航計畫邀請到Jane Vong Holmes, GainingEdge亞洲區Senior Manager，承蒙Ms. Holmes願意接受本協會的專訪，訪問內容整理如下。
Please introduce yourself and why are you in Taiwan? 請您稍為自我介紹，以及為什麼您此行會在台灣?
I am the Senior Manager (Asia) for GainingEdge which is a business events (business events is generally known as MICE in some parts of the world) consultancy. We specialize in providing advice and support to federal and local governments who want to promote their destinations as the preferred venues for MICE events. We also work with governments and developers who are intending to build or expand convention centres. Meet Taiwan very kindly invited me to be part of its Business Matching event which brings together Taiwanese associations and PCOs (professional congress organisers) and which aims to facilitate discussions between both parties to bring international MICE events to Taiwan. At this event which took place at the Taipei International Convention Centre (TICC), I shared several global case studies on how destinations leveraged partnerships and knowledge hubs to bring international MICE events to their shores.
You suggested that Taiwan build up partnerships between NGOs and PCOs, city and city, or city and professionals. Can you share details with us?
It certainly needs team effort to bring international business events. All convention bureaus work closely with their association community and professionals (scientists, doctors, academia etc) who are members of international bodies. This collaboration will help the destination identify potential meetings in advance and strengthen their chances to bid successfully. As part of this collaborative effort, a local association development programme is usually running parallel to a conference ambassador programme which acts as an incubator for future local host organisers. Most bureaus have a PCO partnership programme to help local PCOs build their capabilities to organize international events, the requirements of which are different from local events. The PCOs in turn need to work on a long term basis, especially in the case of world congresses some of which may have lead times of 5 years in advance if not longer, with the local organizer i.e. associations or NGOs. This kind of partnership needs commitment, trust, patience and a common vision for a highly successful conference which will not only inject delegate expenditure but also showcase Taiwan’s capabilities and leave a footprint that is both economic and social. Successful international destinations have strong city or regional convention bureaus, similar to MICE project office functions in the case of Taiwan. National bid-offs or cities bidding against each other for the same convention takes a lot of time, effort and finances. A collaborative approach among the regional cities will mean that only one city represents the country against other international competitors. A united front is always impressive and definitely more successful.
它需要團隊的合作帶來爭取國際性的商業活動，所有會議局都需與其屬隸屬國際組織的協會型成員和專業人員（科學家，醫生，學術界等）密切合作。這種合作將有助於事先掌握有潛在會議的機會，並成功的強化得標可能性。成為合作計畫的一份子，地方協會組織的會議企劃案發展計畫通常會與「會議大使計畫」配合執行，如此有助於育爭取未來由當地來擔任主辦機構。 大多數會議局會有「PCO夥伴計畫」，協助當地PCO進行籌辦國際性活動的能力建構，相同的PCO需要作長期準備，特別是在大型國際會議，可能提前5年（或是更長時間）與地方籌辦的協會或非政府組織合作。而這種合作關係需要投入，信任，且有耐心，以及擁有辦理極度成功會議的共同願景，此不僅需投入人力支出，並且能夠展現台灣的會展實力以及帶來經濟及社會上的影響效益。 成為一個成功的國際會議目的地，需擁有強勢的城市或地區會議局(類似於臺灣的會展辦公室)，因國家競標或各城市彼此爭取同一個的國際會議往往費時費力及消耗財力。地區城市之間的通力方式意味著只能推出一個城市代表該國來與其他國家競標，因此若能組一聯合陣線，透過合作，常能令人印象深刻，且更易成功。
You mentioned several global alliances in your presentation. Please tell us what are the differences between being a partner and not being one.
Currently there are several global convention bureau alliances including BestCities Global Alliance, Future Convention Cities Initiative, Global Associations Hub Partnership, Global Science and Convention Alliance, and Energy Cities Alliance. The most important thing about joining an alliance or finding others to form an alliance, is to find the right one to partner with. These days, alliances are not merely membership organizations which one pays a fee to join. It is a hands-on partnership that requires all members to be equal partners who each bring something to the common table which in turn will benefit the rest.
目前有許多全球會議局的聯盟組織，包括BestCities Global Alliance, Future Convention Cities Initiative, Global Associations Hub Partnership, Global Science and Convention Alliance, and Energy Cities Alliance等多個組織。 加入全球會議局聯盟或尋找其他會議局組成聯盟，最重要的事情是找到合適的合作夥伴。當前，聯盟不僅僅是繳交入會費加入會員的會員組織，而是成為一個牽手合作的夥伴關係，所有成員均為平等的合作夥伴，每位會員除享受利益外，亦須帶來有助於所有成員的計畫案。
As such, it is essential to thoroughly research the alliance or partner city and understand the goal and requirements of such a partnership, and whether you can contribute as required, and receive in return benefits which you cannot get if you were acting on your own. Alliances comprise different organizations with different levels of resources and most likely, each have different organization agendas. The key to successful alliances is finding the correct balance and getting full commitment for common goals despite the diversity of partners.
If, after your research and in-depth discussion, you find that there is no ‘right’ alliance to join, a city can consider a bilateral partnership with another city which is comparable to it in terms of resources, ambitions, common strengths etc. The key word is ‘comparable’ so that this partnership is evenly matched. Partnerships can bring greater success because of the pooling of resources and a bigger voice in the market.
However, for continuous success, full commitment and playing an active role, above and beyond your own organization’s duties, are necessary. More often than not, partners need to support activities for the common good or bigger picture, and therefore going in with eyes wide open is a pre-requisite. In other words, a passive membership in any alliance or partnership, will just be a waste of membership fees which results in disappointment on both sides of the table.
How can Taiwan develop capacity building and enhance performance in hosting international conventions or business events?
Over the years, Taiwan has done remarkably well. There is government interest and commitment to further develop its business events industry. The business events market is highly competitive even just in the Asia Pacific region. In addition to Taipei, other Taiwanese cities are springing up, keen and hungry to contribute to Taiwan’s share of the international market. Capacity building comes in many forms beyond the hardware. Local association development, cities capability to host international events, a strong bid pipeline and leads that will convert into bid wins, a dynamic conference ambassador programme, development of knowledge hubs that will provide local content for conference progammes and innovative incentive products are just some instances of capacity building. Ahead of any investment in capacity building, it will be useful to first review current capabilities vis-à-vis meetings infrastructure and resource allocation, so that a realistic and achievable goal can be set for Taiwan. A national MICE road map or strategic plan that involves all stakeholders will also help guide the various stakeholders to be in line with Taiwan’s vision and goal, and to help them to contribute to success.