Choosing a venue for a conference can be a daunting task and there are several aspects to consider. As the largest membership organization for economic development professionals in the world, our mission at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is to help build vibrant and sustainable communities, and with that in mind we look at more than just curb appeal when selecting a conference location.
Indeed, while a first tier city designation will always attract our attention, from our perspective many second tier cities have some great attributes at a lesser cost, and additionally provide some unique opportunities for city hosts and participants alike. Notably, for IEDC, it is important that the location have an economic development story that can serve as learning laboratory for our members.
For the host city, an IEDC event can help boost the local economy by bringing in new business, an influx of revenue, and notoriety. These conferences can expose the city to new people who are curious about the location and may seek their own partnerships and business ventures there, as a result of their experience at the conference. By working in partnership with IEDC to make an IEDC conference a success, the host city plays an important role in marketing the destination and its assets, as well as garnering local support through sponsorship and fundraising initiatives.
When we chose Anchorage, Alaska for our 2015 Annual Conference, October 4-7, 2015, we were drawn by the enthusiasm of the local host committee, and the willingness of the Convention and Visitors Bureau to help market the event, as well as offers for affordable deals on hotels and excursions. In terms of economic development assets, the region is rich in case studies, with Anchorage serving as a major cargo port to North America, in addition to its tourism, fishing, and petroleum industries.
The synergy of a dynamic economic development landscape, along with a setting of incredible outdoor scenery, and the fantastic offers we received for hotels, transportation, and attractions has allowed us to provide IEDC participants with an unparalleled experience! For instance, despite the fact that Anchorage is becoming the hot spot for people from around the world seeking adventure, nature, fabulous scenery, and great food, we were able to attain the lowest hotel rates for an IEDC event in the last 5 years and our generous co-sponsors at Alaskan Airlines are providing a 15% discount to IEDC Annual Conference attendees.
It is not every day that members have the opportunity to listen to top experts and learn about new tools and strategies in economic development, while surrounded by glaciers. We are thrilled that both our conference participants and Anchorage can benefit so much from this annual conference. This underscores the importance of joining together to market a location and its economic development assets, as a winning strategy for conference success.
I hope that you will join IEDC in October in Anchorage!