Our role in business events
Throughout 2017/18 we ramped up our activity to champion and support the growth of Britain’s business events sector. Promoting our world-class destinations and venues, supporting the industry and enabling new business connections, we have highlighted Britain’s history of research, innovation and high-quality infrastructure, to position it as a leading destination for business events. Early indicatios show that our activity in 2017/18 may generate £11.6 million in additional visitor spend.
Supporting the industry
The Business Events Growth Programme (formerly known as the Event Support Programme) has helped the UK win more international business event bids for Britain and grow overseas attendance at existing UK events. Over the last 12 months, 17 grants have been awarded to cities and events taking place across the UK.
Building Brand Britain
As part of our drive to raise international awareness of the UK as a world-class business events destination, we’ve tactically chosen the best opportunities to reach and engage with influential decision makers.
We promoted the Events are GREAT Britain strand of the campaign at a leading USA event, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders conference, enabled us to reach over 4,700 senior US event and meeting planners. At the conference we launched a Skift trends report which explored the UK cities that excel at hosting conferences in advanced manufacturing and creative industries - which generated 700 high quality leads.
During the summer we welcomed over 400 international event planners to the UK at The Meetings Show, where we were the official hosted buyer and education sponsor. At the show we also reached over 300 UK destinations, venues and event suppliers to launch our new industry partnership programme that will enable us to support the UK meetings industry through educational workshops and create stronger partnerships amongst the sector.
VisitBritain continued to provide valued platforms for the industry to reach the international market and generate future demand.
Our inaugural MeetGB event in April 2018 gave over 100 international MICE buyers and 80 suppliers the opportunity to meet and do business. Whilst in the UK, we hosted the buyers across 11 educational trips spanning the UK to experience Britain’s world-class and diverse event experiences and infrastructure first-hand.
In partnership with London & Partners, VisitScotland and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), we held our first engagement with the Chinese MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) sector. The Business Events Incentive Showcase reached over 70 senior MICE agents in Beijing and Shanghai to champion Britain’s business event capability.
Following the success of this event, in September, 25 of the most senior buyers from China were invited to the first MeetGB China workshop, an event dedicated to doing business with China. Joining us were 27 China-ready UK suppliers who took part in one–to-one meetings to forge relationships with new contacts, develop valuable awareness and understand first-hand the opportunity from the China MICE market.
Meanwhile, in Europe, we provided a series of sales platforms for UK destinations to meet international event planners and discuss potential for hosting events in Britain. These opportunities took place in Paris, Geneva and Brussels and marked the beginning of our new business events presence in Europe.
Attendance at international trade shows also played a vital role in our awareness strategy, connecting English destinations and suppliers with international buyers as well as being seen by thousands attending the exhibitions.
In the last year we took our England pavilion to IMEX Frankfurt, IBTM World and IMEX America which provided English suppliers with over 1,250 high quality leads of meeting and event decision-makers across Europe and North America.
Predicated £11.6m in additional spend from business events activity in 2017/18
Alongside these awareness efforts, we launched a series of workshops, ‘Your Partner in Business Events’, to arm the UK industry with additional tools and skills to win more international business and grow existing events to an international audience. These included targeted workshops on the subjects of:
- Trade Show Excellence: understanding how to maximise investment and presence at international trade shows.
- Bidding for International Events: giving individuals the skills to identify a region’s sectoral expertise and key assets and demonstrate how to articulate these in the pitch.