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Laura Malley joined the team at the Golden Jubilee in February this year in the role of Business Development Manager. A few months in, and having settled into the role, Laura shares a particularly busy week of her diary attending both the Association of British Professional Conference Organiser’s Members AGM in Belfast and also exhibiting at The Meetings Show at London’s Olympia.
The ‘out of office’ is on for a couple of days as I head to Belfast for the ABPCO Member’s Conference and AGM. This is the first ABPCO event that I have attended and so I am excited to meet new people, learn more about the association and to pick up some tips from others. I like to be able to keep on top of my workload whilst I am out of the office at events and so take the opportunity to respond to emails at the airport and catch up on some industry magazine reading during the flight.
I arrive in time for the Member’s Dinner at Titanic Belfast, where we meet at The Bridge, one of the function spaces which offers panoptic views over the historic Belfast waterfront. We were lucky enough to enjoy a meal consisting of traditional Irish produce and a photo opportunity on the Grand Staircase, a replica from the Titanic itself. These dinners are a great opportunity to network with fellow delegates and to get to know each other before the conference the next day. I was able to chat with colleagues at other venues, discussing recent challenges and successes, meet with Professional Conference Organisers and Association Events Planners to speak with them about their event needs, whilst discussing the possibility of future business with the Golden Jubilee and also catch up with people who I have met at previous events.
I head to ICC Belfast for the conference and AGM itself which begins with a tour of the building. As an event professional, I love the opportunity to have a look at other venues to see what other destinations have to offer and how they deliver on a variety of events.
The day’s official proceedings begin with a presentation from Visit Belfast on the events and tourism in the city and also an update on ABPCO’s accounts from the previous year. Keynote speaker David Meade took to the floor before lunch to talk about the lasting legacy events can have. The session culminated in a fantastic team working activity where we were able to create our own legacy and work together to build prosthetic hands to be sent across the world to a child in need. All involved agreed that this was such a worthwhile task and a welcome change from the usual ‘Ice Breakers’ that we are often asked to participate in at events like these.
The afternoon sessions included the launch of the new ABPCO website and a collaborative group discussion on the associations’ plans for the coming year. As a first time attendee, this was particularly useful to gain insight into how the association operates and how we can make the most of our membership.
All in all, this was a worthwhile trip with plenty to take back to the office and a great experience for my first ABPCO event.
After a weekend to recover, I am back in the office for one day this week before heading to London for the Meetings Show. I always try to follow up on any leads made at events as soon as possible whilst the conversations I’ve had are fresh in my mind and also when the contact is more likely to remember me and the venue, so the morning is spent catching up on emails and sending information to the new contacts made during the Belfast event last week. I make sure that I have everything I need for my trip to The Meetings Show and the rest of the day is spent making sales calls, researching potential leads and assisting with incoming enquiries to the Sales Team. These are all typical day to day tasks that I am responsible for whilst working in the office.
My bag is packed again, this time for The Meetings Show which takes place at London Olympia. This is a two day trade exhibition for the events industry and brings together destinations, venues and event suppliers as well as a wide range of buyers and conference organisers from across the world. This year, the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel is exhibiting at the show on the EventIt Scotland Stand alongside 9 other venues from across Scotland.
I spend most of the day travelling, making it to Central London in time for the evening rush-hour. The EventIt Team have organised a meet up for the stand partners to give us the chance to get to know each other before the event and to learn a bit about each of the venues. As we are all sharing a stand, it’s important that we know a bit about the other properties so that we can point people in the right direction if their enquiry isn’t the best fit for our own venue. We swap vital stats and head back to our hotels for an early night before the show begins the next morning.
I make my way to London Olympia where The Meetings Show is being held and find the EventIt Scotland Stand to begin setting up before the show opens at 9.30am. Soon, the exhibition hall starts filling up and the day passes quickly, speaking with a wide range of conference organisers and event suppliers about the facilities we have at the Golden Jubilee and how we can help with future meetings and conferences. At trade shows like these, it is all about raising the profile of the venue and so it is important to speak with as many people as possible and fly the flag for the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel.
I have some really positive appointments throughout the day and even have some time to walk the floor, speaking with other exhibitors and seeing what other stands have to offer.
After the show closes for the day, the EventIt team and stand partners head to a networking event where there is the chance to chat informally with some of the hosted buyers in a more relaxed setting.
It’s back to Olympia for round 2 of The Meetings Show today and I have more appointments in the diary and lots more opportunities to promote the Golden Jubilee and our facilities. It’s great to chat to so many new faces under the one roof and learn about a range of different organisations and the events that they run. Similar to the ABPCO event I attended last week, this is a good opportunity to catch up with colleagues from other venues and destinations and hear what they have been up to recently.
After another busy day at the exhibition, it is time to pack up and make the journey home. As I travel back to Glasgow (with aching feet and a hoarse voice!), it is good to reflect on the past few days – the new contacts made, leads that can be followed up on and also knowledge gained.