A consortium of 12 global convention bureaus wants to make planning meetings abroad a bit easier for association meeting professionals by obtaining for them a discount on international payment services and other benefits, it announced this week. The BestCities Global Alliance -- a network of bureaus from Berlin; Bogota, Colombia; Cape Town, South Africa; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dubai, UAE; Edinburgh, Scotland; Houston; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Singapore; Tokyo; and Vancouver, British Columbia -- has established a three-year strategic partnership with payment-solution company Meeting Escrow to give alliance members' customers three benefits:
• Foreign currency budget protection, which allows planners to lock in current exchange rates by opening a foreign-currency trust account;
• Value Added Tax (VAT) reclaim assistance, which gives meeting professionals help with coordinating claims, paperwork and compliance in pursuit of VAT refunds in countries that offer them; and
• Preferred pricing, which includes a 50 percent discount on annual fees for the first three years of service.
"BestCities is always looking for ways to expand our offerings and bring new benefits and solutions to the table for our clients," said Paul Vallee, managing director. "This important partnership with Meeting Escrow provides tangible benefits to clients by providing solutions to common financial issues that associations face when meeting around the world."
Added Grant Snider, president and CEO of Meeting Escrow, "We are excited to enter into this three-year strategic partnership with BestCities Global Alliance and their network of 12 international convention bureaus. BestCities' prestigious international profile and values align perfectly with our global focus on financial security, transparency and risk management for business events."