Building the value of business events

Supporting Britain's business events growth
Championing Britain’s business events
Developing valuable insights

Business events is a key priority area across both our VisitBritain/VisitEngland activity, and 2016/17 saw us build our capability in the sector, forging relationships to build demand to host business events throughout Britain, supporting British events through the Event Support Programme and piloting a new event in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

Events Support Programme

The Event Support Programme forms part of our commitment to help the business events sector develop and grow internationally and backed 12 events, from Edinburgh to Plymouth, in its first year. 

Successful applicants to the programme included global events showcasing the best of pioneering British industry and research, such as robotics, healthcare, aerospace, real estate and cybersecurity, and resulted in the following:.

  • International delegates numbers boosted at Newcastle’s BIM (Building Information and Modelling) Show Live 2017 thanks to a redeveloped website
  • A campaign for delegates attending the joint International Conference on Mechanisms of Action of Nutrachemical and the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 2017 encouraged delegates to extend their stay and explore more of Britain
  • Marketing and advertising assistance to grow delegate numbers for the VR World Congress 2017 in Bristol, the European Robotics Forum 2017 hosted by Heriot-Watt University, Cybercon 2017 in Plymouth and Birmingham’s new global aerospace industry event, Aero Engine Forum
  • An uplift in pre-registrations to the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research 2018 in Liverpool.


The Event Support Programme also boosted successful bids from cities across the UK to host internationally important business events:

  • The Glasgow City Marketing Bureau’s successful bid to host the Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Science 2021 is expected to draw 3,000 delegates and contribute nearly £5m to the local economy.
  • London & Partners hosted the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) national convention in August, attended by  800 member developers and experts from the real estate sector, finance and ancillary industries


Championing Britain’s business event capability

We worked closely with industry leaders throughout 2016/17 to promote the quality of business events infrastructure and our world-class destinations and venues. We collaborated with the nations and regions of Britain to co-promote international business events.

Strong, collaborative relationships across government departments are key to building demand for business events and supporting targeted bids. Working with the Department for International Trade (DiT), we identified opportunities that align with their priority sectors while they support us by helping secure more events across Britain. We played an active role on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Events Industry Board, a recently formed body that promotes the events sector within the UK.

Following the Government’s commitment to the events sector being announced in April 2016, the Events are GREAT campaign has highlighted the UK’s long history of research, innovation and high-quality infrastructure to position the country as a leading destination for business events. This year, we reached decision-makers using LinkedIn and other targeted digital channels – building relationships and networks that will provide a basis for future expansion in the sector. Following research which showed that event planners are more likely to be influenced by peer recommendations, a new promotional film was commissioned with glowing testimonials from leading international event planners – explaining why Britain stages outstanding business events. Distributed through a series of targeted digital channels (Including LinkedIn), the film was watched over 329,000 times in March 2017, and has opened the door to many future opportunities.

Events are GREAT testimonial film
ExploreGB MICE event
MeetGB at ExploreGB 2017
Understanding Business Visits research

Raising the profile of business events for Britain and England

In collaboration with partners and under the Events are GREAT banner, we sponsored The Meetings Show: the premier exhibition for the UK meetings and events industry. We extended a warm welcome to 400 international buyers who met with over 275 British exhibitors in London, forging relationships to grow business events in Britain.  

During our ExploreGB 2017 trade show we launched a new pilot event for the MICE market, where 30 international representatives from associations, conference planners, corporate event and incentive agencies from markets such as USA, Canada, Germany, France, Poland, Russia and Lithuania met with 30 British MICE suppliers. As part of the event, we facilitated a nationwide programme of educational visits where buyers had the chance to experience the best of Britain and learn more about our top-class events infrastructure. Building on this, next year, we launch MeetGB, our new, dedicated event welcoming 100 international buyers and British suppliers.

Our strategy for England involved raising awareness at trade shows throughout 2016/17 and connecting English destinations and suppliers with international buyers.

  • 10 England suppliers met more than 250 buyers at IMEX America 2016
  • 28 England suppliers joined 400 international buyers at IMEX Frankfurt
  • 15 England suppliers connected with hundreds of buyers and industry decision makers at IBTM Barcelona 2016


Leading events insight

Our Business Events Motivations and Barriers Research, produced through the Discover England Fund, has provided valuable insights to equip Britain’s business events industry to compete globally.

Researching corporate, association and agency buyers, the research analysed event preferences and visitors’ key criteria, such as the ideal location and proximity to expertise.

These insights give English event suppliers a comprehensive ranking of decision-making factors – from accommodation to safety – so they can better deliver top class events for international visitors.

"The Event Support Programme forms part of our commitment to help the business events sector develop and grow internationally and backed 12 events, from Edinburgh to Plymouth, in its first year."