Amy Bramhall, Convention Bureau Manager at Meet Bristol, takes a look back over 2020 and how the events industry had to adapt throughout the year.

Overview

2020 has been a rough ride for the events industry, with much uncertainty and many restrictions in place for most of the year. However, with news of a vaccine and relaxed restrictions in some areas of the UK the light at the end of the tunnel and the road to recovery looks to be within reach.

The Convention Bureau has remained open throughout the pandemic with skeleton staff. Our key objectives are to promote Bristol and the surrounding areas as a business events destination and secure inbound business with the support of our members. Working at a time when business travel and events are not permitted in their usual form all plans had to be rethought and messaging amended to coincide with the national guidance.

Key Activities

The shift in focus from ‘place your next event in Bristol’, changed to providing inspirational content to assist event planners with their research for future events. This involved creating blog content themed around venue style and location, virtual experiences and guest blogs and case studies relevant to current trends such as hybrid events.

Staying connected with our members and clients has always been a top priority, and this has not changed. We have been pro-active in providing information and clarification around government guidance regarding business events, assisting with ‘out of the ordinary’ enquiries and reaching out to inform prospective clients about how Bristol businesses are adapting to the current climate and to listen and learn about their personal experiences and findings.

We’ve pro-actively promoted Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas at The Meetings Show Virtual and with the valued support of VisitBritain & MeetEngland we have been able to attend Meet GB Virtual and IBTM World Virtual, two appointment led trade events allowing us to connect with prospective clients from all over the world to promote our destinations meetings and events offering and build new working relationships. Although the situation during the pandemic differs in severity between countries it was humbling to have a mutual understanding that we’re all in this together, it’s not easy, but it will get better. The appetite to return to face to face business was unanimous and we look forward to see this return when it is safe to do so.

Amy Bramhall at IBTM Virtual
Image - Meet Bristol's Amy Bramhall at IBTM World Virtual

It has been great to engage with new audiences when being part of industry panel’s at various virtual events including the Bristol Business Festival, a Micebook Talk and Get Ahead in Events webinar focusing on Convention Bureaux. New partnerships have also been formed with suppliers and venues that offer services to event planners.

It’s been an ideal time to reflect and take advantage of the great free educational opportunities that have been made available by leading industry organisations, and also gain inspiration from other people’s perspectives.

Upcoming projects

Future collaborations with various partners to promote our venues and supplier’s facilitation of hybrid events, plus story telling campaigns to highlight the talent that our region is home to.

The Bristol CAMS (Conference & Meeting Survey), states that in 2019 an estimated 29,000 conferences and meetings took place at Bristol venues, worth approximately £347m to the venues and destination. We strive to exceed this figure in future years but understand it will take time, patience, and creativity to bring business back to what is was. We will continue to work hard to promote the region as a top-class destination for business events, taking every opportunity to learn, innovate and adapt to secure business for the future.

Meet Bristol

Amy Bramhall is the Convention Bureau Manager at Meet Bristol and has 12 years’ experience in the hospitality and events industry. Responsible for the business events strategy, marketing and pro-active selling of Bristol and the surrounding areas.

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