Speaking at EIBTM in Barcelona this morning, Ottawa Convention Centre´s vice-president of sales and marketing Andrew Beattie said venues must think beyond the "revenue streams within your four walls".
"We are in the job of bringing people together, we are not in facilities operation," he said. "If you look at things from a fresh perspective there is no shortage of opportunities."
Congress Centre Hamburg director Edgar Hirt added it was about being "creative".
"We see our clients as a partner," he explained.
SECC director of sales Ben Goedegebuure said the future was "no longer as just a supplier".
The SECC has partnered with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to offer clients the new approach, so it also shares in losses if delegate numbers are not reached.
San Diego Convention Center Corporation president Carol Wallace added: "In the past, convention centres have only been a supplier, but it benefits us to help promote the destination and work with the client on attendance building and marketing materials. We are now looking at being a partner."