The BestCities Global Alliance is a coalition of non-competing international CVBs dedicated to sharing best practices and promotional efforts. This year at IMEX Frankfurt, BestCities welcomed its 11th member, Business Events Tokyo, as part of a new regional affiliate program.
The 10 standing members are Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Melbourne, Singapore and Vancouver. Illustrating the caliber of these cities, the top three destinations in Monocle Magazine’s 2014 Quality of Life Survey are part of BestCities: Denmark, Tokyo and Melbourne.
Furthermore, the knowledge that Tokyo is gaining from hosting the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in a new era of technological and sustainable advances is another benefit the city brings to the alliance.
“Following a recent growth period that saw three new partners join in four years from North America and Europe, we turned our attention to new markets such as South America and Northeast Asia,” said Karen Bolinger, BestCities board chair and CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau. “Thanks to our customized quality management system, which is adopted by all our partner bureaus, meeting planners can be assured of a consistent level of service excellence and quality standards.”
“Becoming a BestCities partner will give us the additional endorsement to help us further our development into the international association market,” adds Kiyofumi Kamijo, chairman of Business Events Tokyo. “Our metropolitan government has also made a strong commitment to attract more business events over the next five years. Our new branding—Business Events Tokyo—together with our BestCities partnership reflects the renewed emphasis on this important market for our city.”
We asked for some specific examples of how the cities have helped each other of the years.
Paul Vallee, executive VP of Tourism Vancouver, explained how he worked with Melbourne to improve Vancouver’s relationship with PCOs.
“As we started getting into the international market, we realized we had to develop a better understanding of how PCOs operate,” he said. “So years ago when we were one of the early partners of BestCities, along with Melbourne, Melbourne had a well-established approach on how they worked with PCOs. So we went to Melbourne, because they’re partners with us, and because of the commitment there, they went that extra mile. We spent three days in Melbourne to learn their program and we’ve since established that program in Vancouver with great success.”
Jorge Franz, VP of international sales/tourism for the Greater Houston CVB, also shared his experience with us.
“We’ve adopted a very stringent policy on BestCities’ guidelines in terms of customer complaints and making sure those complaints are being handled to the fullest extent of the customer’s desire, and that has been very helpful for us,” he explained. “We had a system before but this one is really above and beyond. So now it’s very transparent, and if we make a mistake we show that, and it’s been very good for us to increase the level of service we offer.”