Over 100 people gathered at St John’s College yesterday (Thursday 10th November) to celebrate the official launch of Meet Cambridge – a development that was warmly welcomed by speakers and guests as a significant step in growing our region’s reputation and economy.
Meet Cambridge is the new name for Conference Cambridge, the official free venue-finding service for the University of Cambridge, the Colleges and other unique venues in and around the city, reflecting the wider range of services now on offer and a new partnership with Visit Cambridge and Beyond.
Providing a single point of contact for anyone looking to host an event in Cambridge and the wider area, Meet Cambridge will extend its portfolio of venues to include non-academic venues across the region.
Speakers at the launch included the Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Jeremy Benstead who represented the city, welcoming the opportunity to put Cambridge more firmly on the map for visitors.
Shirley Jamieson, Head of Marketing & Communications at Cambridge Enterprise provided a University perspective, highlighting the importance of having a designated service to help find venues for the many national and international academic visitors who come every year – currently from over 140 countries – and the way this impacts positively on the economic development of our region.
Emma Thornton, Chief Executive of Visit Cambridge and Beyond underlined the exciting opportunity of collaborating with Meet Cambridge to promote business tourism, not just in the city of Cambridge but to the whole region. She reiterated the importance of a one-stop-shop for those looking to hold events, adding value to the visitor experience.
Simon Gidman, Head of Business Visits & Events at Visit England gave an international perspective on the launch and remit of Meet Cambridge, which included promoting the region to a receptive overseas market and building on the strong Cambridge brand already established.
Other speakers were: Robin Bryant and Kim Bithel from MOBAS who demonstrated the process leading to the rebranding and Jennifer Brook, Chair of The Cambridge Venue Company Ltd (Meet Cambridge) and Bursar of Churchill College who explained the importance of the events and conference business to the Colleges which contributes significantly to the provision of world-class education and boosts the Cambridge brand to the world.
Kelly Vickers, Director of Meet Cambridge concluded: “In the last 18 years, we have come such a long way in terms of business, our portfolio of venues and the services we offer. From being set up as a venue-finding service for the Colleges, handling mostly enquiries for academic events and Summer schools, our team of six now delivers a much broader range of services to academic, corporate and association clients who are looking to organise residential conferences, one-day meetings, dinners, award ceremonies, family celebrations – and much more.
“The rebrand was essential to reflect more accurately what we do, including our new partnership with Visit Cambridge and Beyond. We are excited at the opportunities this will bring, including adding new venues to our portfolio and would like to thank all our stakeholders for their enthusiasm and support as we enter this important new chapter in our organisation.”
Established in 1998, Conference Cambridge handled 1,300 enquiries at the outset and placed £1.1 million of business. In the year to date, it has received 4,230 enquiries and will place around £6 million of business.