The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau : Rese...
The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau

Research into event legacy

Photo: The Hague Convention Bureau

The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau has released a white paper exploring the meaning of legacy in the context of global association and not for profit events. The key finding of the research is that legacy must be driven by the organisers, rather than by the destination.

The research found that for event legacy to be truly achieved, it must lie at the heart of an association or not-for-profit’s mission and strategy, rather than be limited to a specific event. It also revealed that although destinations facilitate conferences and events, providing relevant local support, they cannot drive the achievement of legacy. Instead, it is up to the associations and not-for-profits coming to a destination to define their own goals, needs, and desires.

“Associations and not-for-profits are legacy organisations. They exist to provide long-term value to their members and the communities they serve. As such, legacy activities must relate back to the goals of the association, rather than being focused on the destination itself,” comments Bas Schot, Head of Convention Bureau. 

“These organisations exist to drive the cure for diseases, resolve global social issues, improve education for millions and far, far more.  The achievement of those goals and incremental progress towards them are how associations and not-for-profits measure their legacy.  Delegates taking part in activities such as painting walls in a local scout hut or tidying a city are admirable and positive ways to help an event achieve its corporate social responsibility goals.  However, despite how often it is suggested that such activities are a legacy, it simply is not the case.”  

Bas Schot continues: “Legacy is a term that is often discussed in the context of trade shows, conferences, and other events. However, it means different things to different people and organisations. We wanted to explore the meaning of legacy and how we can support clients in achieving their long-term impact.  It was clear from the outset that legacy driven by a destination risks being selfish. If we are to support our association and not-for-profit clients, we must instead see legacy from their point of view and support their goals – not our own.”

The research concludes by demonstrating that the destination's role is to facilitate the event legacy process by providing the necessary tools, resources, and even financial support. 

“Ultimately, our industry should be focused on supporting legacy discussions within associations and providing them with the tools to make their own decisions.  It is up to the organisers to define their own goals and aspirations and to create a legacy program that aligns with their mission and strategy.  And we look forward to helping them achieve that,” concludes Bas Schot. 

The research was conducted in two stages – quantitative research via a workshop with 11 leading international association conference professionals and quantitative survey data gathered from 70* event professionals from around the world. 

The 70 surveyed event professionals can be broken down as 64% in house association PCOs, 10% agency association PCOs, 13% corporate conference planners, 2% charity conference planners, and 11% others.

Bas Schot