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Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing: Development Counsellors International's New Study Reveals North American Meeting Planner Perceptions

NEW YORK, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Development Counsellors International (DCI) ( today announced the findings of a survey of meeting planners which reveals what places are perceived to be the best locations for international and domestic meetings while also profiling best practices for securing those meetings.

Conducted by DCI, "Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing" is the first study of its kind to be released in the United States, which analyzes the perceptions of North American meeting planners with global meeting planning responsibilities.

London, Barcelona, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong were among the favorite international meetings destinations, while Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York were viewed as the favorite North American destinations for meetings.

"Competition among meeting locations is fierce. It's more important than ever for destination marketing organizations to understand their audiences," said DCI Senior Vice President and Partner, Karyl Leigh Barnes. "Our objective was to determine best practices in our industry by going directly to the meeting industry's 'customer'."

The study surveyed 187 North American meeting planners and measured key sources of influence, preferred industry conferences, sources of industry news, most effective marketing techniques, importance of educational/familiarization trips, ways in which meeting planners interact with destination marketing organizations, best countries for international meetings and best North American locations for meetings. The survey also shed light on which individuals make the ultimate decision on where to host a meeting.

Key Findings Include:

  • The three leading sources of information influencing meeting planner perceptions of international meeting destinations are meeting with destination representatives (58%), dialogue with industry peers (55%), and business/personal travel (53%).
  • When evaluating meeting destinations, respondents rely primarily on convention bureaus for information (57%). Meeting planners indicated that speaking to, or emailing, convention bureau staff was by far the most common form of interaction (61%). A majority of respondents (67%) selected e-mail as the preferred method for convention bureau representatives to share information on their destination.
  • Meeting face-to-face, whether at trade shows (17%), receptions or educational workshops (9%), rated as the most effective means of influencing meeting planners who may be considering a destination that is new to them.
  • Meeting planners prefer multi-destination educational workshops rather than single-destination educational workshops (64% vs. 36%).
  • While the a large portion of meeting planners did not attend any industry conferences in the past three years (30%), IMEX America 2011 was the choice among those who attended an industry conference with 25% having attended the conference.
  • Meetings & Conventions magazine is the most frequently read industry publication (56%) followed by Successful Meetings (42%).
  • Online advertising deemed to be the most effective form of advertising by 73% of the respondents surveyed. However, 69% of respondents preferred reading printed versions of travel industry publications.
  • Only 2% of respondents indicated that social media is currently influential in shaping their perceptions of international destinations.
  • A majority of respondents (72%) consider educational trips/familiarization trips as either important or very important. The North American summer season is by far considered the best time to participate in educational trips. Group trips are preferred over individual trips (62% vs. 38%).
  • When asked to select the most favorable location for an international meeting, London (20.2%), Barcelona (10.1%), Paris (10.1%), Singapore (7.3%) and Hong Kong (6.2%) rated most favorably. As a nation, Italy (8.4%) prevailed followed by the United Kingdom (7.3%) and Spain (6.7%).
  • When it came to preferred international convention bureaus, London topped the list (14.8%), followed by Singapore, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Vienna.
  • Within North America, Chicago (20.8%), San Diego (18.5%) and San Francisco (18%) topped the list of preferred meeting locations, while San Diego, Orlando, Chicago and Las Vegas prevailed as the leading destination marketing organizations.
  • For associations, the Board of Directors is most often named as the final decision maker on a meeting location (48.1%), while 28% of corporate meeting planners indicated that CEOs most frequently made the ultimate decision on meeting locations.

For a complimentary copy of "Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing: A View from Meeting Planners," or an executive summary, please visit:

About DCI:
Development Counsellors International (DCI) is the leader in marketing places. Since 1960, DCI has worked with more than 400 countries, regions, states and cities to increase investment and tourism.

SOURCE Development Counsellors International