Get the private sector involved in marketing the destination
By Peter Lee 3 April 2014
For past 10 years, Korea’s business events industry has grown remarkably under strong leadership from the government, especially in the association meetings segment. In the 2012 UIA rankings, Korea took fifth place with a total of 563 association events. Despite such growth, industry experts don’t often see Korea as the first choice for a business event. They rather have Korea as a ‘plan B’ destination.
A recent report published by Hyundai Economic Institute supports this. Using the ‘4P’s’ marketing analysis tool to look at the product, price, place and promotion, the institute evaluated the competitiveness of the business events industry in 21 countries around the world. Korea ranked 18th in its competitiveness, behind other countries in Asia such as China at fifth, Singapore at sixth and Japan at 15th.
However, there are some interesting insights when comparing the ‘product’ (MICE infrastructure) and ‘promotion’ (the destination’s PR efforts) results between Korea and Singapore. Singapore ranked 19th in the competitiveness of its product, behind Korea at 16th, but was first in the promotion field, while Korea ranked 17th. Therefore the difference in industry competitiveness between the two countries was from how it marketed itself, not in the quality of its infrastructure.
In order to raise the competitiveness of its business events industry, how Korea promotes itself should take top priority. In the MICE industry, the role of government is essential. However, to promote Korea, the private sector should be involved. The growth in attracting association meetings was possible thanks to aggressive support from the government. However, to be a top business events destination that goes beyond association meetings, we need to raise the country’s favourability and brand image.
As well as leadership from the government, the efforts to appeal to overseas visitors, and the marketing and sales activities to attract international meetings, should be led by the industry.
Peter Lee is the business development director for MCI Korea