Meet in Nottingham, the official Convention Bureau for the region, are celebrating after a highly successful exhibition at VisitBritain’s prestigious MeetEngland Virtual 2021, at which they showcased the city to event organisers from North America, Europe and China in a bid to bring hundreds of thousands pounds worth of potential events and conferences business to the region.
Meet in Nottingham arranged a number of appointments with international events organisers, many of whom had never previously held any conferences in the UK. The team outlined the benefits of holding conferences in Nottingham, such as the history and legends for delegates to explore in their free time, the central location and the excellent transport links. A green city with a legendary past, a vibrant culture and a bright future – and home to famous outlaw Robin Hood – it also boasts a diverse range of conference venues, from the 10,000 capacity Motorpoint Arena to the newly refurbished state-of-the-art East Midlands Conference Centre to the historic Nottingham Castle reopening in 2021 after a major £30m refurbishment.
The event provided an invaluable opportunity for international event organisers and agencies to discover the best of the UK’s business events industry. Not only did its new virtual format allow it to go ahead in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also catered to many different time zones, opening up exciting and lucrative global possibilities for Nottingham.
Event planners were curious about the extraordinary case of mistaken identity which hit international headlines in recent weeks, with the media storm around Robin Hood Trading and the confusion with Nottingham’s legendary outlaw Robin Hood. Others were interested in the UK’s highly successful vaccination campaign, which is likely to boost confidence in the UK as a conference destination in the months and years to come. Nottingham’s mission to be the first carbon-neutral city in the UK was also of particular interest to event planners, and the Nottingham team were keen to discuss the city’s sustainability ambitions and achievements with the International Eco Tourism Society in a bid to bring their regular large-scale events (up to 1,200 delegates) to the city. Another point of interest for event planners was Nottingham’s high-end leisure market, particularly its world-class Michelin restaurants including Restaurant Sat Bains and Alchemilla.
These conversations have created promising leads that could result in a series of large-scale events being held in Nottingham. Large-scale events can generate hundreds of thousands of pounds for the local economy through the booking of conference venues, accommodation and other local businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors. Although such events cannot take place at present, they are often planned several years in advance – meaning that Meet in Nottingham’s presence at MeetEngland Virtual 2021 will help the city to secure a stream of pipeline business to support the recovery of the local economy in the coming years.
Robert Dixon, interim Chief Executive of Marketing Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said:
“Meet in Nottingham, which is part of Marketing Nottingham, are delighted to have exhibited at VisitBritain’s innovative online event. MeetEngland Virtual 2021 provided us with a fantastic platform to engage with the international conference market at a time when we’re unable to travel there in person. This year has been an extremely difficult one for the events and conferences sector, with many of Nottinghamshire’s event venues facing a prolonged loss of income. This industry is very important for Nottinghamshire, with business travellers bringing an estimated £470m to the local economy every year pre-COVID, and our frequent attendance at events such as MeetEngland will help us to position Nottingham as a key conference destination, encouraging event planners to bring their large-scale events here and supporting the recovery of our local conference sector. We’re looking forward to welcoming delegates back to our green, creative and pioneering city as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Business Events at VisitEngland said:
“MeetEngland Virtual created a platform that gave event professionals the opportunity to connect and forge valuable business relationships, keeping England front-of-mind as a leading destination for business events.
“We were delighted that the historic city of Nottingham was one of the 30 English destinations showcased, highlighting once again the high-quality and diverse mixture of product we have available across England. We are very much looking forward to safely welcoming back domestic and international delegates in person once restrictions can be lifted, to experience the world-class facilities and events that Nottingham and England have to offer.”