Smart Cities vs Leisure Destination Cities

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureaugives an insight into the subject matter: Smart Cities vs Leisure Destination Cities.

Conference organisers are met with a realm of choice when picking the host destination for their meeting.

As the global market place becomes increasingly competitive, destinations across the world are going above and beyond to secure conference business.

In my role as the Head of Glasgow’s Convention Bureau it’s clear that the landscape is ever changing, calling into question what exactly is a priority for organisers when choosing a destination for their conference.


The introduction of the Pharma Code questions the appropriateness of the location and venue for a meeting, while requesting that the conference focuses on clear scientific content to drive the meeting programme; reducing the chance of a destination winning a bid purely on its touristic qualities.

Never has it been so important for a destination to evolve with the times and act ‘smart’ when adopting a sales approach to winning conference business.

The Convention Bureau of the future works in the strategic space alongside the meeting organiser. No longer is there a requirement for a Bureau to be purely Master of Logistics, offering facts about their city. Smart cities understand the worth of knowledge exchange and its impact to the conference and to the association.

More and more organisers are working with destinations that recognise that fact. An attractive bid must encapsulate both a smart approach to business as well as the practical details that surround the logistics of a meeting; whilst being relevant and fitting Pharmaceutical industry governance structures.

Glasgow is a good example of a city that understands the relevance of its knowledge hub economy.  We’re a city steeped in research and it is this mind-set that is central to our ethos.


Our targeted knowledge hubs empower information exchange to unprecedented levels producing world leading research from our world class universities.

In 2014/2015, 40% of conferences confirmed to Glasgow were in our key economic sectors of life sciences, medical, energy, sustainability, low carbon industries, financial and business services and tourism.

Not only can we showcase these established knowledge hubs but we can demonstrate on-going growth as we continue to drive investment in infrastructure and research.

For example medical and life science conferences have seen a 45% increase on the last financial year; whilst engineering conferences in the city have trebled during the same period.

Being a smart city is an integral part of the Glasgow agenda and helps our conference clients achieve tangible results and their ambitions.