Attracting delegates from the Asia Pacific region

Emma Bowyer is the chief executive of professional conference organiser ICMSA. The company has been operating for over 55 years, and knows how to grow delegate numbers from the Asia Pacific region.

As more conferences compete for the same attendees, valuing every registration has become more important.

Three delegates in semi-formal wear stand together and smile for a picture being a large painting on a easle at the ICMS Australasia dinner.

Delegates at the ICSMGE Dinner 2022 in Sydney, Australia.

In the past 12 months, ICMSA has increased its focus. The team has tracked its success from the Asia Pacific region and seen good results.

It has recorded more than 50% growth in delegate attendance from Asia. It’s also had a significant positive impact on the bottom line of its international conferences.

Based on ICMSA’s experience focusing on this market, Emma shares some top tips that have yielded results.

Regional expertise 

ICMSA has created an Asia Pacific marketing team. This helps clients in Australia and New Zealand to attract delegates from the region.

The 10-member body includes members who have backgrounds and knowledge from a variety of countries. The countries include South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.

Consider tapping into regional-specific knowledge. This will help fine-tune your marketing activity and get to know your potential audience better.

Engage delegate marketing early 

International delegates will need a longer lead time to plan to attend your event. Start your international marketing campaigns early. This will help generate programme involvement and industry support and grow membership reach.

It’s also important you craft any marketing campaigns to fit your specific audiences. This can involve translating relevant material into different languages. But strategies need to go deeper.

Use channels that are most popular within each market and vary delivery methods. Ensure you change focus from one destination to another.

An example from ICMSA is a recent conference on multimedia. The conference had a large potential audience from China. ICMSA created a WeChat account using international ambassadors and industry sponsors. It had a 60% increase in delegate numbers from this market alone.

Two people ride on a merry-go-round.

Leverage relationships 

To help promote your event to members, use your committee or association’s existing regional networks. You can also build relationships with similar organisations in other Asia Pacific countries.

For an upcoming biochemistry conference, ICMSA created an advisory network in the Asia Pacific region. It includes 16 countries, with a potential delegate mix from the Asia Pacific region making up 80% of the anticipated attendance.

Build on your networks 

Use event history data for your benefit. If you have a base of past attendees or sponsors from the region, build on this.  Featuring speakers from the region will also appeal to delegates and open new networks.

Often committee members look to the United States or Europe for speakers. Remember there’s a great talent pool on your doorstep.

When wanting to attract Asia Pacific delegates, better promotion to a wider audience helps. It will create new opportunities for growth and collaboration between organisations and their neighbours.